May 17, 2022

A $1.5 Million Grant From the Mellon Foundation Will Provide Incarcerated College Students with Access to JSTOR Database

From Alex Humphrey’s at JSTOR Labs:

Over the past few years, as JSTOR Labs has worked to pilot offline and direct access to JSTOR for incarcerated learners, I’ve had one thought, over and over:

Lack of quality library resources is just one obstacle of many that students in prison face as they endeavor to gain their education and improve their lives. And yet, learning how to conduct research is a critical component of post-secondary education, building information literacy, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. JSTOR may not be able to do much to affect the other obstacles incarcerated learners face, but this is one we can help with. I just wish we could go faster, helping more students more quickly.

Read the Complete Post

From a JSTOR Announcement:

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded ITHAKA a new $1.5 million grant to provide incarcerated college students with access to JSTOR, a digital library of journals, books, and other materials. Our aim is for every incarcerated college student in the United States to have access to JSTOR, along with the research skills to use this and other digital resources.


Today, JSTOR is accessible to students through a small number of Higher Education in Prison Programs (HEPs), programs offered in prisons by accredited colleges and universities. JSTOR provides an offline index that enables students to search journals locally. Articles are then requested and fulfilled by the college or university library and must also go through a Department of Corrections review process.

For the past three years, we have been working on a better solution. With a grant from the Mellon Foundation in 2019, we improved our original JSTOR offline index. With support from the Ascendium Education Group in 2020, we are developing an online JSTOR access solution that will deliver educational resources to incarcerated students while meeting prison security requirements

Read the Complete Announcement

Direct to JSTOR Access in Prison Initiative Website

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.