JSTOR: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 1992

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


Traditional libraries are burdened with ever-growing storage costs. Old books and academic journals, though rarely used, take up enormous amounts of stack space and can require continuous maintenance to preserve. In 1992, William G. Bowen, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (also president emeritus of Princeton University) had the idea for a digital library of scholarly journals. Bowen conceived the idea just after a meeting of the board of trustees of Denison University (of which he was then a member), when it was announced that the Denison library needed a $5 million addition to house its ever-expanding stacks filled with back editions of journals. Dubbed JSTOR (for “Journal STORage”), Bowen’s digital database was to serve two purposes: (1) increase access to older journal articles, and (2) reduce the storage and maintenance costs imposed on libraries by their many costly journal subscriptions.



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Blog Posts

More on time, value, and time limits

February 19, 2018

A new report applies a theory of time and value in philanthropy to three real cases, to see how a foundation could decide whether to operate with a limited life, based on the amount and kind of value it hopes to create.


Oct 05

Rip Rapson
President and CEO
The Kresge Foundation