The predecessor of SAHARA was the innovative SAH Image Exchange, developed in 1996 by SAH member Jeffrey Cohen and the SAH Electronic Media Committee. SAHARA had its genesis in 2006 when the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation invited the Society of Architectural Historians to participate in the Scholarly Communications Institute (SCI), a two day think-tank which focused on architectural history. Participants--which included scholars, graduate students, journal editors, librarians, technology experts, publishing experts, representatives of SAH, and others--discussed how the field of architectural history could benefit from digital presentation of scholarship. As a result of SCI and generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SAH created SAHARA, which launched in 2009, and JSAH Online, which was released in April 2010. The Foundation's far-reaching vision of and support for the field of architectural history has had an enormous impact on the history of the built environment.
Partners Who Created SAHARA
In creating SAHARA, SAH collaborated with several partners to ensure that it would be an academic resource of great value to scholars, students, architects, historic preservationists, and all working in the field of architectural history.
Our technology partner is ARTstor, whose online archive of art and architectural images are used for teaching and research in the arts and humanities. ARTstor developed the website interface and the tools for uploading and downloading images to SAHARA, merged architectural data with the existing ARTstor database of information, and helped us communicate with SAH members and the public about this new online resource.
SAH partnered with the library staff at three universities, namely Brown, MIT and University of Virginia who contributed the initial 10,000 images and ensured that the factual information attached to each image is reliable.
SAHARA has received generous contributions of images from SAH members around the world. SAH is indebted to the many contributors to SAHARA and to the large Editorial Committee which peer reviews all images that are submitted to this shared online resource.