Digitizing Hidden Special Collections & Archives

Amplifying Unheard Voices

Program Evaluation Released

Authors Jesse A. Johnston and Ricardo L. Punzalan summarize findings from their 2021-2022 study.

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.

Launched in 2021, the program is designed to support efforts 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 Core Values

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.

Pilot Cycle: Key Dates

March 1
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
Final Applicant Notification

Applicants notified of awards

April 28
Grantees announced

Funded project details shared with the public

Summer 2022
Stay connected!

No information on future funding opportunities is available at this time. Be sure to sign up for CLIR’s Grants and Programs Newsletter for the latest information. 

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