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Documenting Democracy Access to Historical Records Project

Post Date

June 7th 2013

Application Due Date

October 3rd 2013

Funding Opportunity Number


CFDA Number(s)


Funding Instrument Type(s)


Funding Activity Categories


Number of Awards


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

╔ Nonprofit organizations or institutions ╔ Colleges, universities, and other academic institutions ╔ State or local government agencies ╔ Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups Applicant organizations must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application, maintain SAM registration throughout the application and award process, and include a valid DUNS number in their application. Details on SAM registration and requesting a DUNS number can be found at the System for Award Management website at Please refer to the User Guides section and the Grants Registrations PDF. Ineligible applications will not be reviewed.


  • Estimated Total Funding:


  • Award Range:

    $0 - $200000

Grant Description

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals that promote the preservation and use of the nation's most valuable archival resources. Projects should expand our understanding of the American past by facilitating and enhancing access to primary source materials. The Commission will support such activities as establishing archives programs, processing archival collections at the basic or detailed levels, surveying and accessioning archival records, and converting existing archival collection finding aids to new online formats. Applicants may submit proposals for one or any combination of the following four project categories: Categories 1. Basic Processing Proposals may be submitted for establishing archives and undertaking basic processing activities that promote the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage. Proposals must demonstrate how the applicant employs the best and most cost-effective archival methods. For projects to establish new archives programs, a proposal may include the cost of a consultant to assess the need for an archives program. The assessment should identify the resources necessary for sustaining such a program and include a collection development plan, a plan for basic processing of unprocessed collections and new accessions in a timely manner, and a phased preservation plan. If the organization already has a detailed assessment, it may submit a proposal for costs associated with starting its archives program, as outlined in the assessment. Applicants may also submit proposals for records management projects with archival components. Applicants for start-up projects must provide convincing evidence of ongoing program support and must also demonstrate their commitment to creating equitable and timely access to their holdings. For projects that process and reveal archival collections which researchers cannot easily discover through online search engines, proposals should demonstrate how repositories will process and catalog records at either the collection or the series level. Applicants will need to create collection- or series-level MARC catalog records in a national bibliographic utility. If finding aids are created, they should generally meet current Encoded Archival Description standards, and be made available to appropriate regional and national archival databases. Basic processing cannot include processing or description at the folder or item levels. Institutions must develop or implement processing techniques to eliminate unprocessed backlogs of holdings at a level consistent with appropriate standards and at a reasonable rate. In addition, applicants must develop and establish adequate accessioning and processing techniques that will prevent future backlogs. Basic processing proposals should also include reappraisal of collections and include a process for deaccessioning entire collections where appropriate. Applicants must also include plans to promote the use of their collections after completing this processing. Applications may request funds for limited preservation activities, such as preservation surveys of collections, the evaluation of environmental controls, and risk assessments. Although the NHPRC does not fund construction projects, applicants may include planning for necessary improvements to physical facilities. Impermissible activities include comprehensive reboxing and refoldering, the removal of staples and paper clips, and item-level repairs and conservation. Reformatting, digitizing, and microfilming are also not permissible. Preservation copying of faded or damaged documents should be extremely limited. 2. Detailed Processing For collections with proven high research demand or substantial preservation concerns, applicants may propose to conduct detailed processing and preservation reformatting of collections of national significance. For projects that focus entirely on detailed processing, the Commission will give preference to repositories that have virtually all of their collections processed sufficiently so that researchers can find them through online searches. In general, proposals should describe how the repository will process and create detailed descriptions at the series or file level. Projects should create or revise online descriptions and submit them to national library catalogs, national archival databases, and appropriate regional and institutional databases. Applicants must also create or revise detailed finding aids using Encoded Archival Description (EAD) unless other formats are more appropriate. Applicants must explain whether any item-level processing or preservation treatment will be necessary, including refoldering, cleaning, flattening, copying, encapsulating, de-acidifying, and mending documents. If parts of collections deserve item-level processing, proposals must justify this detailed work and provide estimates of the percentage of collections to be processed to the item level. Applicants may apply for grants in support of preservation reformatting. For collections containing unstable audio or video materials, applicants may propose preservation reformatting or migration to appropriate analog or digital formats. When appropriate, applicants should consider hybrid microfilm/digitization (using dual head cameras, or microfilm-to-digital or digital-to-microfilm techniques). For collections that include born digital files, applicants should include appropriate long-term digital preservation plans. Applicants may propose limited digitization of series or items that have the most potential to benefit a broad public. Applications should detail the standards to be used in this process, itemize anticipated expenses, and estimate the percentage of the collections to be digitized. Applicants intending to submit projects that only digitize materials should see the Digitizing Historical Records announcement: ( Applicants should also outline their publicity and outreach plans for promoting use of collections. 3. Documentary Heritage Documentary heritage projects create more comprehensive documentation of United States history and culture by supporting projects that identify, survey, collect, and make available nationally significant records relating to groups and topics traditionally underrepresented in the historical record. Eligible activities include arrangement and description projects, documentation surveys, archival needs assessments, or some combination of the three. The NHPRC does not support projects to create new documentation, except for oral history projects conducted by American Indian tribes or indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands that rely on oral traditions to document their history and culture. Newspapers also are not considered historical records for the purposes of this announcement. All projects that include collecting activities must show that the institution has developed, or will develop as a part of the project, initial processing techniques to gain basic physical and intellectual control over new accessions. If the repository has a large unprocessed backlog of holdings, collections development activities may only occur alongside basic processing activities. Projects that include elements of arrangement and description must not include item-level processing. 4. Retrospective Conversion of Descriptive Information Proposals may be submitted for converting legacy finding aids and other sources of archival descriptive information into formats that provide improved online access to primary source collections. Activities may include converting card catalogs of archival materials and paper finding aids so that they may be made available electronically, or creating a comprehensive online database or finding aids from information only available in a variety of non-compatible formats. Applicants must use Encoded Archival Description (EAD) for finding aids unless other formats are more appropriate. For a comprehensive list of Commission limitations on funding, please see рWhat we do and do not fundс ( Applications that consist entirely of ineligible activities will not be considered.

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