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Transcribing the Founders Papers for Online Access: Pilot Project

Post Date

June 20th 2008

Application Due Date

October 15th 2008

Funding Opportunity Number


CFDA Number(s)


Funding Instrument Type(s)


Funding Activity Categories


Eligibility Categories

State Governments
County Governments
City or Township Governments
Public and State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
Federally Recognized Native American Tribal Governments
Non-Profits With 501 (c) (3) Status With The IRS (Except Higher Education Institutions)
Private Institutions of Higher Education


  • Award Range:

    $0 - $250000

Grant Description

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission supports projects that promote the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage essential to understanding our democracy, history, and culture. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals for a pilot project to develop a model for a cost-effective process for transcribing handwritten papers collected by the Founders editions and for providing online access to the remaining unpublished papers of the Founders in a timely manner. These documents will come from the papers of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. This pilot project supports the goals in the Commission's Strategic Plan and the National Archives 2008 report to Congress, The Founders Online. Requirements and Criteria for the Pilot Project: Management: The successful grantee must be able to complete this project in the shortest amount of time possible. The staff must be capable of doing this work reliably and accurately. The grantee must track costs of each stage and create benchmarks for similar tasks in a larger-scale project. Regular reports must be filed on the project. Document Selection: The grantee must convert at least 20,000 pages of unpublished documents from the Founders papers into English-language transcriptions encoded for publication online. The originals of these documents were hand-written in the late 18th or early 19th century; expertise in the reading and interpretation of such documents is necessary to complete this project. Included in the selected documents for the pilot project must be a representative sample of documents in foreign languages that must be translated into English. Relationship with the Founders editions: The grantee must involve the participation of two or more of the five Founders documentary editions. The grantee must work with them to select the documents to be transcribed and encoded during the pilot. In addition, the grantee must help the editors enhance their productivity by providing preliminary transcriptions in a digital form. Transcription: The grantee must develop a standard approach for preliminary transcription and basic review. All the sample documents must be transcribed and proofread. Applicants must be explicit about the qualifications of the people who will do the transcriptions and proofreading. Encoding: The project must have a standard for the encoding the transcriptions that is compatible with the current guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative ( The amount of encoding must reflect the Commission's dual goals of making these documents accessible to the public in a searchable format and of providing the editions with encoded transcriptions that they can annotate as they move forward with their editorial work. The document header must be complete enough to allow searches by authors, recipients, dates, and locations. Users should be able to see the source of the document. The transcription must have sufficient encoding tags to allow users to understand the format of the original document. Applicants may find useful the guidelines from the Model Editions Partnership ( Interoperability: The grantee must demonstrate that its approach is compatible with the requirements of the Founders editions' online and print publishers. Online Access: The grantee must indicate how the transcriptions can be made available to the public online. Award Information Applicants may apply for funding for a project that takes up to one year. A single award of up to $250,000 will be made. Proposals that include cost sharing from applicants may be considered more competitive. NHPRC support begins no earlier than December 15, 2008.

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