In 2002, Virtual Jamestown at Virginia Tech, the Center for Digital History, University of Virginia, and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Jamestown Rediscovery began a multi-year project called "Jamestown Planning Proposal" (JPP) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project was directed by Crandall Shifflett, Professor of History at Virginia Tech and the founder of the Virtual Jamestown project.

The JPP proved very productive in providing opportunities to experiment with innovative techniques for recovering lost landscapes, such as connecting architectural, geometrical, and textual forms, informed by the archival and material culture records, to envision a virtual world as a technique for research and scholarship. Historians, architects, geographers, and archaeologists combined to create virtual models of buildings not seen since the seventeenth century. New interrogations of the past, previously unimagined, arise when the archival, artifactual, cartographical, and visual/graphical records converge and challenge prevailing assumptions. Not only did collaboration during the planning grant demonstrate the merits of applying advanced technology to the study of the past, it also highlighted the limitations of the printed publication to capture that past. Digital history requires new approaches to exploit and disseminate the insights that advanced technology has made possible.

While pioneering these complex partnerships between academic institutions, a private foundation, a digital history center, libraries, and individual scholars, the Jamestown Planning Proposal gave us a deeper understanding of and insight into the possible pitfalls but, more impressively, the merit of what has been labeled "new model scholarship." The integration of history, archaeology, architecture, and technology that the Mellon funding made possible has lead to further dialogue with potential partners in electronic publication. Tool builders, imprint publishers, research libraries, humanities centers, and digital journals will be combined with those alliances forged in the JPP to bring the Virginia Center for Digital History into the forefront of electronic publication.