National Endowment for the Humanities: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
The Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR) program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities. Thousands of libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations across the country maintain important collections of books and manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings and moving images, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, art and material culture, and digital objects. Funding from this program strengthens efforts to extend the life of such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology. Awards are also made to create various reference resources that facilitate use of cultural materials, from works that provide basic information quickly to tools that synthesize and codify knowledge of a subject for in-depth investigation.
Implementation awards – Applications may be submitted for projects that address one or more of the following humanities activities:
- Arranging and describing archival and manuscript collections
- Cataloging collections of printed works, photographs, recorded sound, moving images, art, and material culture
- Providing conservation treatment for collections, leading to enhanced access
- Digitizing collections
- Preserving and improving access to born-digital sources, including the updating of existing digital resources
- Creating oral history interview collections about war and military service in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Standing Together initiative (https://www.neh.gov/grants/standing-together), or about imperiled cultural heritage in conjunction with the NEH’s Protecting our Cultural Heritage encouragement (https://www.neh.gov/grants/protecting-our-cultural-heritage)
- Developing databases, virtual collections, other digital resources, or project-specific tools to codify information on a subject or to provide integrated access to selected humanities materials
- Creating encyclopedias
- Preparing linguistic resources, such as historical and etymological dictionaries, corpora, and reference grammars (separate funding is available for endangered language projects in partnership with the National Science Foundation)
- Producing resources for spatial analysis and representation of humanities data, such as atlases and geographic information systems (GIS)
HCRR Foundations awards – To help in the formative stages of efforts to preserve and create access to humanities collections or to produce reference resources, Foundations awards support planning, assessment, and pilot activities that incorporate expertise from a mix of professional domains. Drawing upon the cooperation of humanities scholars and technical specialists, these projects might encompass efforts to prepare for establishing intellectual control of collections, to solidify collaborative frameworks and strategic plans for complex digital reference resources, or to produce preliminary versions of online collections or resources. Foundations awards may be used to address one or a combination of the following activities:
- Analyzing and evaluating the humanities content strengths, intellectual control requirements, and preservation needs of significant humanities collections, including the development and distribution of collection-level descriptive information (projects to process or catalog collections at more detailed levels should apply instead for an implementation award)
- Identifying and prioritizing humanities materials for digitization, developing project-specific selection criteria, evaluating technical requirements for digital preservation and access, reformatting test-bed items, and/or exploring third-party service arrangements
- Developing plans and protocols for ensuring the preservation of previously digitized or born-digital humanities content, which could include preliminary testing and evaluation of institutional and/or distributed digital repository systems
- Creating editorial plans, locating and assembling resources, devising strategies for technological and programmatic sustainability, and producing content exemplars for reference resources such as encyclopedias, databases, virtual archives, etymological dictionaries, or online atlases
Amount: The maximum award for implementation projects is $350,000 for a period of performance of up to three years. The maximum award for Foundations projects is $50,000 for a period of performance of up to two years. Applicants for Foundations projects involving multi-institutional collaborations between smaller and larger institutions may, however, request an additional $10,000. In such cases, the maximum award would be $60,000 for a period of performance of up to two years.
Eligibility: U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, federally recognized Native American tribal governments, and institutions of higher education.
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