CLIR Invites Applications for 2020 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Awards

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is now accepting applications for 2020 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards. The national competition, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, supports digitizing collections of rare and unique content in collecting institutions.

Grants of between $50,000 and $250,000 for a single-institution project, or between $50,000 and $500,000 for a collaborative project, may be sought for projects beginning between January 1 and June 1, 2021.

The Digitizing Hidden Collections program coheres around six core values:

  • Scholarship: The program is designed to maximize its impact on the creation and dissemination of new knowledge.
  • Comprehensiveness: The program supports digitization projects that will provide thorough coverage of an important topic or topics of high interest to scholars, in ways that help those scholars understand digitized sources’ provenance and context.
  • Connectedness: The program supports projects that make digitized sources easily discoverable and accessible alongside related materials, including materials held by other collecting institutions as well as those held within the home institution.
  • Collaboration: The program promotes strategic partnerships rather than duplication of capacity and effort.
  • Sustainability: The program promotes best practices for ensuring the long-term availability and discoverability of digital files created through digitization.
  • Openness: The program ensures that digitized content will be made available to the public as easily and completely as possible, given ethical and legal constraints.
photo
From the Esther Funk Collection, Cultural & Natural History Collections, University of La Verne, recipient of 2019 Hidden Collections award.

The application process has two phases. The initial proposal round is open, and proposals are due by 11:59 pm Eastern time on March 31, 2020. The final proposal round is by invitation. Only those applicants whose initial proposals have been approved by the program’s independent review panel will be able to submit a final proposal. Information for applicants, including a link to the online application form, is available at https://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/applicant-resources/.

CLIR will hold a webinar for prospective applicants on Tuesday, January 28, from 2:00–3:00 pm Eastern time. Additional Q&A webinars will take place on February 13 and February 26 (registration is required in advance for all three events). All webinars are recorded and shared online to the program’s Applicant Resources page.

Earlier this month, CLIR announced recipients of the 2019 awards, marking the program’s fifth year of grant making. In October 2020, the program will convene a Digitizing Hidden Collections Symposium to celebrate this milestone. Symposium participants will include approximately 300 Digitizing Hidden Collections grant recipients, scholars, and students. The program will focus on establishing priorities, model workflows, and preservation strategies for digitized rare and unique content. A planning committee will convene to shape the event, and nominations are open through January 31.

The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.