The Gutenberg-e project is a collaborative effort among several institutions with commitments to exploring and promoting the electronic publication of scholarly writing in the field of history. Studies by the AHA and the Research Library Group have demonstrated that it is almost impossible for beginning historians to get their dissertations published if they work in fields such as African history, colonial Latin America, or even early modem Europe. Gutenberg-e is not intended simply to reward excellence in scholarship with yet another prestigious prize but rather to use prestige to set a high standard for electronic publishing. By making most of the new media, the program may also contribute both to a “legitimizing” of electronic publishing in the eyes of academia, and to a new conception of the book itself as a vehicle of knowledge.
Each Gutenberg-e author meets extensively with the electronic-publishing staff at EPIC, Columbia University Press, and AcIS, to collaborate on the translation of a print dissertation into an web-based document. As the dissertations themselves vary in subject matter and kinds of content, so the finished works vary widely in form and volume. Several books in the Gutenberg-e collection include digitized archives - of documents, photographs, video clips, glossaries, and translations - often made available in this form for the first time. These archives both complement a specific book, and also serve as unique stand-alone resources for scholars.
As a collection, Gutenberg-e continues to grow, with new books and new subject areas, each one providing different opportunities to re-define the format. The site has received regular upgrades to improve navigation, design, and usability.
"The Gutenberg-e prizes represent the highest distinction that can be bestowed by the American Historical Association." - Robert Darnton (Princeton University)