Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Grant: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Agency: National Endowment for the Humanities
Division: Division of Preservation and Access
Deadline: July 18, 2013, for projects beginning May 2014.
Description: The Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program supports projects that provide an essential foundation for scholarship, education and public programming in the humanities. Funding from this program strengthens efforts to extend the life of important collections of books, manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings and moving images, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, art and material culture and digital objects and make their intellectual content widely accessible. 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.
Applications may be submitted for projects that address one or more of the following 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 (including deacidification) for collections, leading to enhanced access.
- Digitizing collections.
- Preserving and improving access to born-digital sources.
- Developing databases, virtual collections or other electronic resources to codify information on a subject or to provide integrated access to selected humanities materials.
- Creating encyclopedias.
- Preparing linguistic tools, such as historical and etymological dictionaries, corpora and reference grammars.
- Developing tools for spatial analysis and representation of humanities data, such as atlases and geographic information systems.
- Designing digital tools to facilitate use of humanities resources.
Major studies of cultural heritage repositories have cited sound recordings and moving images as formats that are seriously endangered. As a result, this grant program encourages applications that address the preservation and access needs of such sources. Applicants may request funds to establish intellectual and physical control of such materials, as well as to digitize them.
To help with the formative stages of initiatives to preserve and create access to humanities collections, NEH will also award Foundation grants under this program to projects that support planning, assessment and pilot activities that incorporate expertise from a mix of professional domains. These projects could include efforts to prepare for establishing intellectual control of collections, solidifying collaborative frameworks and strategic plans for complex digital reference resources, or producing preliminary versions of online collections or resources. Foundations projects must encompass a substantial amount of cross-domain participation involving persons with humanities expertise, curatorial experience and relevant technical skills. More information can be found in the program notice.
Fit for Public Broadcasting: Public media stations are eligible to apply for this program. Stations that have collections of recordings can use this funding for preservation and digitization activities. NEH encourages applications that propose to preserve collections of sound recordings and moving images, so stations with these collections should especially consider applying.
NEH has a history of granting awards to public broadcasting. For example, in 2010 WNYC Radio received $315,000 to support the digitization of 775 hours of recordings from the WNYC radio collection that capture civic, cultural and political life in New York City from 1936 through 1970. A full list of past grantees can be found here.
Eligibility: U.S. nonprofit organizations are eligible, as are state and local governmental agencies and federally recognized Indian tribal governments.
Anticipated funding: The maximum award is $350,000, for up to three years. Foundations projects will be funded at a maximum of $40,000, for up to two years. Successful applicants will be awarded a grant in outright funds, federal matching funds or a combination of the two, depending on the applicant's preference and the availability of NEH funds. Although cost sharing is not required, NEH is rarely able to support the full costs of projects approved for funding. In most cases, NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grants cover no more than 50 to 67 percent of project costs. A 50 percent level is most likely to pertain in the case of projects that deal exclusively with the applicant's own holdings.
How to apply: Prior to submitting a proposal, applicants are encouraged to contact program officers, who can offer advice about preparing the proposal and review preliminary proposal drafts if they are submitted at least six weeks before the deadline. Draft proposals should be submitted by email attachment. Applications must be submitted online via Grants.gov. Online submission requires registration, a process that usually takes three to five business days but can take as long as four weeks. Be sure to visit Grants.gov and begin registering well in advance of the deadline.