National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Opportunity: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

From Joshua Sternfeld, Senior Program Officer, Division of Preservation and Access, National Endowment for the Humanities

Washington, DC The Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities will be accepting applications for grants in its Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program.  These grants support projects to preserve and create intellectual access to such collections as books, journals, manuscript and archival materials, maps, still and moving images, sound recordings, art, and objects of material culture. Awards also support the creation of reference works, online resources, and research tools of major importance to the humanities. Maximum awards are $350,000 for up to three years.

Eligible activities include:

• 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 (GIS); and
• designing digital tools to facilitate use of humanities
resources.

In response to recent studies noting the deeply hidden, often perilous condition of audio-visual sources in cultural heritage institutions, this program encourages applications that address the preservation and access needs of humanities collections of sound recordings and moving images. Applicants may request funds to establish intellectual and
physical control of such materials as well as to digitize them.

HCRR Foundations

NEH is introducing a new funding opportunity this year within Humanities Collections and Reference Resources.  To help in the formative stages of initiatives to preserve and create access to humanities collections or to produce reference resources, grants of up to $40,000 will 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 develop plans and priorities for digitizing collections, to solidify collaborative frameworks and strategic plans for complex
digital reference resources, or to produce preliminary versions of online collections or resources.

The new guidelines, which include sample proposal narratives, can be found at:

http://www.neh.gov/grants/preservation/humanities-collections-and-reference-resources
.

The application receipt deadline is July 19, 2012, with
projects beginning May 2013. All applications to NEH must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov; see guidelines for details.

Prospective applicants seeking further information are encouraged to contact the Division at 202-606-8570 or preservation@neh.gov. Program staff will read draft proposals submitted six weeks before the deadline.

Please note that the Division is also accepting applications for three other grant categories, with upcoming deadlines: "Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions" (May 1), "Research and Development" (May 16) and "Education & Training" (June 28).  Details on these programs, as well as on the full slate of funding opportunities in Preservation and Access, can be found at:

http://www.neh.gov/divisions/preservation.

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