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Council on Library and Information Resources: Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives

Deadline: April 3, 2017

The Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives (Digitizing Hidden Collections) program seeks to digitize and provide access to non-digital collections of rare or unique content in cultural heritage institutions. Its aims are to enhance the emerging global digital research environment in ways that support new kinds of scholarship for the long term and to ensure that the full wealth of resources held by memory institutions becomes integrated with the open web.

The Digitizing Hidden Collections program coheres around these six core values:

  1. Scholarship: The program is designed to maximize its impact on the creation and dissemination of new knowledge
  2. Comprehensiveness: The program supports digitization projects that will provide thorough coverage of an important topic or topics of high interest to scholars, in ways that help those scholars understand digitized sources’ provenance and context
  3. Connectedness: The program supports projects that make digitized sources easily discoverable and accessible alongside related materials, including materials held by other collecting institutions as well as those held within the home institution
  4. Collaboration: The program promotes strategic partnerships rather than duplication of capacity and effort
  5. Sustainability: The program promotes best practices for ensuring the long-term availability and discoverability of digital files created through digitization
  6. Openness: The program ensures that digitized content will be made available to the public as easily and completely as possible, given ethical and legal constraints

Note: Special collections and archives are defined as any kind of rare or unique materials housed in secure, monitored environments and made available to researchers. Archives are unique, often unpublished, materials associated with a specific individual, topic, location, or organization that is of interest to researchers. By not limiting these terms to particular subjects, media, or formats, the Council hopes to encourage proposals that encompass the broadest possible range of evidence of our historical, scientific, intellectual, and cultural heritage. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their collections are “hidden” in the sense that they cannot be used for important scholarly work until they are fully digitized, discoverable, and accessible.

Amount: A total of up to $4,000,000 is available. Grant awards for single-institution applicants range from $50,000-$250,000, while the project period ranges from one to two years. Grants awarded to collaborative, multi-institution applications (partnerships/consortia) range from: $50,000-$500,000, while the project period ranges from one to three years.

Eligibility: Generally, applicants must be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt under one of the following: IRS Code Section 501(c)3, IRS Code Section 115, IRS Code Section 170(c)1. These may include: associations or societies; libraries and archives; and museums. Grants may be made to government units and their agencies or instrumentalities not organized under IRS Section 501(c)3, provided that collecting and disseminating scholarly and cultural resources are among the primary functions of the unit and grant funds will be used for charitable purposes within the scope of the Digitizing Hidden Collections program. It is recommend that government units wishing to apply for the Digitizing Hidden Collections grant contact the Council at hiddencollections@clir.org to ascertain eligibility.

Applicants must be located in the United States or in an associated entity, e.g., the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or American Samoa. The Council also accepts proposals for collaborative projects that include partnerships between U.S. and Canadian institutions.

Link: https://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/applicants/applicants.html

Note: An informational Q&A webinar will be held on March 2, 2017. Additionally, office hours sessions for applicants will be held in Adobe Connect via chat on March 9, 16. and 21 in 2017.

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