Digitizing Hidden Special Collections & Archives

Amplifying Unheard Voices

Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Amplifying Unheard Voices is a grant competition administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for digitizing rare and unique content stewarded by collecting organizations in the US and Canada.

In 2021, the call for applications will focus on projects that propose to digitize materials that deepen public understanding of the histories of people of color and other communities and populations whose work, experiences, and perspectives have been insufficiently recognized or unattended.

These often “hidden” histories include, but are not limited to, those of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color; Women; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Non-binary, and other Genderqueer people and communities; Immigrants; Displaced populations; Blind, Deaf, and Disabled people and communities; and Colonized, Disenfranchised, Enslaved, and Incarcerated people.

The program is generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

 Get in touch: hiddencollections@clir.org.

The program coheres around five

Public Knowledge

The program fuels the creation and dissemination of digitized special collections and archives as a public good.

Broad Representation

The program supports digitization projects that will thoughtfully capture and share the untapped stories of people, communities, and populations who are underrepresented in digital collections in ways that contribute to a more complete understanding of human history.

Authentic Partnerships

The program prioritizes projects that foreground meaningful engagement with the underserved communities whose stories the source materials tell, and that build inclusive teams across institutional and geographic boundaries.

Sustainable Infrastructures

The program promotes forward-thinking strategies ensuring the long-term availability, discoverability, and interconnectedness of digitized content.

Community-Centered Access

The program advocates for approaches to access, description, and outreach that make digitized content as widely available and useful as possible within legal and ethical constraints, centering digital inclusion and respect for materials’ local contexts.

Key Dates

March 1 2021
Initial Application Phase Begins

Application guidelines and form become available 

April 30
Initial Application Deadline

Last day to submit proposals for open application call

July 30
Initial Applicant Notification

Applicants notified of advancement; final application opens for those invited

November 19
Final Application Deadline

Full proposals submitted (for invited applicants only)

April 1 2022
Final Applicant Notification

Applicants notified of awards; public announcement follows

Next Steps

Amplifying Unheard Voices is undergoing an external assessment throughout the 2021-2022 grant cycle. Learn more about the research team conducting this work. Over the next year, they will conduct surveys and interviews with individuals engaged with various aspects of Digitizing Hidden Collections. They also welcome feedback by email from anyone involved with the program.

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