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Instructions for application form. Explains questions and provides context.
Access the Recordings at Risk application form during an open call for applications.
Find answers to our most commonly asked questions.
Applicants must be U.S. nonprofit academic, research, or cultural heritage organizations. Please note that:
Generally speaking, to be eligible for this program applicants must be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt under one of the following:
Grants may be made to government units and their agencies or instrumentalities not organized under IRS Section 501(c)3, provided that collecting and disseminating scholarly and cultural resources are among the primary functions of the unit and grant funds will be used for charitable purposes within the scope of the Recordings at Risk program. We recommend that government units wishing to apply to Recordings at Risk contact the CLIR Grants Team to ascertain their eligibility.
At the start of each application cycle, CLIR schedules an informational webinar and a question and answer session for Recordings at Risk applicants. The recordings and associated documentation will be shared with all registrants and posted to this page following each event.
This resource serves as a step-by-step guide and a collaborative workspace for preparing a Recordings at Risk application. The document walks applicants through each question, describes what should be covered in each response, and offers space to draft responses.
Claiming Place: Preserving the history of Puerto Rican and Latino Culture and Politics in Western Massachusetts through the digitization of the Vecinos/Neighbors and La Familia Hispana – Holyoke Public Library Corporation (Cycle 5 – Spring 2019)
Singsings and Storytelling: Sounds of Oceania Audio Reformatting Project –University of California San Diego (Cycle 5 – Spring 2019)
For questions that are not answered below or in the application guidelines, contact CLIR’s Grants Team at email@example.com. During the application period, CLIR accepts inquiries by e-mail only; no phone calls, please.
Our working definition of a cultural heritage institution is simply one that supports the production of new research, scholarship, and/or educational experiences by preserving and providing access to collections of academic, scientific, or cultural artifacts. For example, collections related to physics at an institution like the Neils Bohr Archives would be considered cultural heritage materials. Recordings nominated for reformatting through this program may be valuable for research or education in any field, not just fields normally considered as humanities disciplines.
Universities with multiple campuses may count individual campuses as discrete entities for the purposes of this program. For example, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison could both apply during the same cycle. A good rule of thumb is that it is safe to consider institutions with their own granting offices as separate. Only one project can be submitted per campus in a single cycle.
Yes. Recordings at Risk has been designed as a small grant program that complements, rather than overlaps, with Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives.
Federal, state, and local agencies can apply for funding through this program, but only if cultural heritage is the primary function of the unit and grant funds will be used for charitable purposes within the scope of the Recordings at Risk program. Many government libraries, archives, or museums will be eligible, but applicants from such institutions are encouraged to write to program staff to confirm before beginning to prepare an application. For example, The National Library of Medicine would be an eligible entity, but a federal, state or local court would not be eligible since its mission is to support litigation, rather than to provide access to materials that contribute to the production of new knowledge or educational experiences.
Yes, grants may be made to federally recognized tribal governments. In these cases, CLIR’s application requires documentation showing formal status as a federally recognized tribe.
Recordings at Risk supports digital reformatting projects that involve audio and audiovisual time-based media (audio/film/video). The program is primarily focused on analog-to-digital reformatting, though digital media formats are not necessarily disallowed. Digital audio tape, for example, is highly at risk and eligible. There is no 100% comprehensive list of allowable formats, but this partial list identifies many of the basic format types that are eligible:
Note that applicant institutions must be able to find a qualified external service provider that can perform technically competent and cost-effective digital reformatting for the specified format(s). Applicants are encouraged to contact CLIR’s grants team with questions related to the eligibility of formats not listed above.
Yes, though CLIR does not fund projects that involve extensive data recovery, such as conducting forensic investigations to collect all the audio and audiovisual files off a hard drive for migration. The purpose of Recordings at Risk is to support digital reformatting of recordings on at-risk media.
Reasonable limits placed on access to digitized recordings, such as providing access to recordings under copyright protection through systems requiring authentication or presence on-site, will not necessarily disadvantage an applicant in the competition. Recordings at Risk prioritizes preservation over access due to the urgent need to reformat recordings due to the risks of decay and obsolescence. In many cases, current legal and ethical considerations to force institutions to place access limits. At the same time, there are a lot of variables at play when it comes down to the review panel’s decision-making process, so any applicant who plans to place limitations on access should take care to explain the rationale for imposing these limits in the Rights, Ethics, and Re-Use Statement within the application. In cases where reviewers are comparing two otherwise evenly matched projects, a project perceived to have a stronger potential impact due to a broader access policy may receive preference.
Yes, so long as the professor is not directly involved in the project. However, applicants are advised that letters from experts outside of one’s own institution and region may be more persuasive, since they can help to demonstrate the project’s importance to a wider community. Applicants are encouraged to provide letter writers with a copy of CLIR’s Guidelines for Authors of Letters of Support when requesting letters.
You should ask the head administrator who will be responsible for making decisions about allocating resources for preserving and sustaining access to the project deliverables over time to write a letter confirming the institution’s commitment to maintaining the results of your work. Applicants are encouraged to provide letter writers with a copy of CLIR’s Guidelines for Authors of Letters of Support when requesting letters.
Funds are awarded directly to the applicant institution.
Just like Digitizing Hidden Special Collections, Recordings at Risk does not explicitly prohibit charging licensing fees for commercial re-use, when reviewers agree that such fees are reasonable and justified within the application. Applicants should include information on how fees will be implemented, and why they are justified, in the Rights, Ethics, and Re-Use section of the application. Applicants should be aware that reviewers do scrutinize access and fee policies carefully and may question why grant funds are needed for projects expected to generate revenue for institutions.
No, we do not require cost-sharing; however, evidence that an institution is invested in maximizing the value of the digital reformatting project can enhance the competitiveness of an application. For example, an institution can demonstrate its commitment to a project by maximizing the accessibility of digital files through its investments in creating metadata, providing transcriptions or translations, and more.
No, applicants are required to work with a qualified external service provider. Recordings at Risk has been designed to serve the needs of institutions without access to on-site facilities and without local expertise to support digital reformatting of audio and audiovisual recordings.
You can apply to both programs. Recordings at Risk is a small grant program that complements, rather than overlaps, with Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives. One could potentially apply to Recordings at Risk for digitizing a small portion of a larger collection of recordings with the aim of establishing an efficient workflow and strong use case for a larger grant application to a program like Digitizing Hidden Collections. Keep in mind that reviewers for Recordings at and Digitizing Hidden Collections have different criteria for assessing applications, such as the prioritization of preservation over access for Recordings at Risk and the focus on access and collaboration for Digitizing Hidden Collections.
Yes. If you submit a proposal to a call and aren’t awarded funding, you will still receive feedback which you can incorporate into a re-submitted proposal. Additionally, you can submit a different proposal in a later call even if you have been awarded funding in a previous call, provided you do not nominate the same Principal Investigator to lead two concurrent or overlapping CLIR Recordings at Risk projects. Recordings at Risk is a competitive national program, and reviewers may factor an applicant’s previous success record with the program into deliberations and give preference to applicants submitting equally strong proposals who have not previously received funding.
This strategy is a good one, but applicants should keep in mind that review panelists may choose to give funding to help a greater variety of institutions. Pursuing multiple potential funders for your project is encouraged.
The following documents have page limits:
Submitted documents that exceed the above page limits will be truncated by program staff before proposals are read by reviewers. For example, if a four-page document is submitted for the Project Plan (limit 2 pages), reviewers will only receive the first 2 pages of the submitted plan along with a note explaining that the plan exceeded the page limit.
Appendix A. of the program guidelines explains what costs are and are not allowable in project budgets.
No, we do not allow funding to be used for software licensing and subscriptions.
No, Recordings at Risk funds must cover digital reformatting costs.
Here is a link to CLIR’s policy regarding Indirect Costs. CLIR’s policy is informed by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s own policy since the Foundation has fully supported the creation and operation of the Recordings at Risk program.
This is a limited-time opportunity for community-based archives to request support for operations, collections care, and/or programming and outreach. The Foundation plans to offer a total of $1 million in support of community-based archives in two annual calls for proposals, one in 2019 and the second in 2020. The call is directed towards community-based archives that represent and serve communities marginalized due to oppression based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, class, sexuality, religion, ability, and/or geographic location. Applicants must demonstrate that community members actively participate in their archival processes, making key decisions about what to collect and how. Awards will range from $25,000 to $100,000, for grants of up to two years in length.
The ARSC Program for the Preservation of Classical Music Historical Recordings encourages and supports the preservation of historically significant sound recordings of music in the Western Art Music tradition, by individuals and organizations. (This program is separate from the ARSC Research Grants program, which supports historical research and publication of studies by individuals in the field of sound recordings or audio preservation). Projects involving collections anywhere in the world are eligible (non-U.S. applicants are encouraged to apply). Proposals must be received by the 15th of December each year. Grant amounts generally range from $2000 to $10,000. Grant projects should be completed within twenty-four months.
BAVC’s Preservation Department works with museums, artists and cultural institutions around the world to remaster, transfer, and archive seminal creative and historical works on video and audio tape. With generous funding from the NEA and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, BAVC will be offering reduced rates on video and audio presvation services to individual artists and small to medium sized arts and cultural heritage organizations.
The GRAMMY Museum Grant Program awards grants to organizations and individuals to support efforts that advance the archiving and preservation of the music and recorded sound heritage of the Americas. The Archiving and Preservation area has two funding categories: Preservation Implementation ($20,000 max award) and Assistance, Assessment and/or Consultation ($5,000 max award).
The mission of IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. We provide leadership through research, policy development, and grant making. IMLS places the learner at the center and supports engaging experiences in libraries and museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society. IMLS promotes museums and libraries as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality. IMLS supports exemplary stewardship of museum and library collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage.
A UCLA Library granting program funded by Arcadia Fund, this program aims to digitize and make accessible endangered archival materials from the 20th and 21st centuries, including print, photographic, film, audio, ephemeral, and born digital objects. MEAP offers two grant types: Planning Grants (up to $15,000) and Project Grants (up to $50,000). The program especially seeks applications to digitize materials from regions outside North America and Europe.
The NFPF offers several types of preservation grants supporting the creation of preservation and access copies of American orphan films of historic and cultural interest. Basic Preservation Grants are the best choice for most institutions. Offered twice yearly, these grants award cash and in some cases services donated by laboratories and post-production houses. The larger Matching Grants enable experienced preservationists to undertake more extensive projects. Matching Grants require that recipients contribute or “match” one-fifth of the total costs. The Avant-Garde Masters Grants, funded through the generous support of The Film Foundation, target the preservation of motion pictures significant to the development of the avant-garde in America.
The division’s grant programs recognize that good stewardship of cultural resources requires equal attention to both preservation and access. All of the division’s programs focus on ensuring the long-term and wide availability of primary resources in the humanities. In this sense, research, education, and appreciation of the humanities depend on the foundational work of the Division of Preservation and Access in preserving cultural heritage materials and making them available to scholars, teachers, and the general public. The Division’s Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions may be of particular interest to Recordings at Risk applicants.
Congress established the NHPRC grants program to promote the preservation and use of America’s documentary heritage. Each year, Congress appropriates up to $10 million for grants in support of the nation’s archives and for projects to edit and publish historical records of national importance. The NHPRC supports projects to: research and develop means to preserve authentic electronic records; assist archives through a network of state partners; preserve and make accessible records and archives; publish papers documenting America’s founding era; publish papers documenting other eras and topics important to an understanding of American history; and improve professional education for archivists and historical documentary editors.
These grants will support individuals or non-profit organizations in producing cultural documentation–photographs, interviews, audio or video recordings about their community from the community’s perspective. Materials gathered through this program will become part of the Library’s permanent collection, while locally-held copies can enhance (or seed) community archives. This exciting program is part of the larger Of the People initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation that creates dynamic opportunities for more people to engage with the Library. All activity under the initiative will expand the Library’s efforts to ensure that our historical record reflects a diversity of experiences, thus weaving a more inclusive American story.
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