For Applicants

Program timeline | Pilot call for proposals | Application contents | Review process

This is a draft version of this page. All dates, requirements, and instructions are subject to change prior to January 4, 2017.

Program timeline*


Pilot call for proposals

  • January 4, 2017: pilot call for proposals for preservation reformatting of magnetic audio media through NEDCC
  • Friday, March 3, 2017: application deadline
  • Monday, April 30, 2017: first round of awards announced

Second call for proposals

  • June 1, 2017: call for proposals for preservation reformatting of audio and/or audiovisual media
  • July 31, 2017: application deadline
  • October 31, 2017: second round of awards announced

Third call for proposals

  • December 1, 2017: call for proposals for preservation reformatting of audio and/or audiovisual media
  • February 9, 2018: application deadline
  • April 30, 2018: third round of awards announced

Fourth call for proposals

  • May 1, 2018: call for proposals for preservation reformatting of audio and/or audiovisual media
  • June 29, 2018: application deadline
  • September 28, 2018: fourth round of awards announced

*Note: Dates are subject to change at any time prior to issuing each call. No dates pertinent to a call will be changed once that call is issued.

Pilot call for proposals: to be issued January 4, 2017


The pilot phase of this program will be a partnership with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) that will help CLIR establish guidelines and policies for its subsequent calls, while helping NEDCC launch a new preservation service for magnetic audio media. Prospective applicants to the pilot program must first solicit confirmation from NEDCC that their proposed audio reformatting project merits NEDCC’s high-touch, high-quality technical approach. NEDCC will then work closely with prospective applicants on a detailed quote, which must be submitted with the application package. Instructions for soliciting confirmation of eligibility for the pilot call will be available on the NEDCC website by January 4, 2017. A link to those instructions will be provided from this page once NEDCC staff are ready to receive inquiries.

Applicants that meet NEDCC’s criteria will be advised that they may apply for funding through CLIR’s pilot program if they further meet the following requirements:

  • eligible applicants must be U.S. nonprofit academic, research, or cultural organizations. Please note that:
    • the organization and its collections must be located in the US.
    • Grants may be made to government units and their agencies or instrumentalities, provided that 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. We recommend that government units wishing to apply for a grant contact us to ascertain their eligibility.
  • applicants must submit only one application per institution;
  • applicants may request as little as $5,000 or as much as $25,000 per project;
  • the grant may fund up to 100% of the direct costs of audio reformatting services to be provided by NEDCC;
  • applicants must demonstrate a commitment to the long-term preservation of the digital files created through the project;
  • applicants must agree to create appropriate descriptive and technical metadata for all content digitized through grant funds, and to dedicate this metadata to the public domain;
  • applicants must explain the legal justification for their proposed activities and all legal and ethical constraints affecting potential access to and reuse of digitized content, and they must detail the terms and conditions under which access will be provided for the purposes of research.

Application contents (pilot call only, subject to change prior to January 4, 2017)


  • Cover sheet: A cover sheet signed by an NEDCC representative, to serve as confirmation that the applicant’s project meets the NEDCC’s requirements.
  • Project summary: a brief description of the proposal, to be used for reference in review and in any public documentation of the program on CLIR’s website.
  • Description of nominated materials: A more detailed description of the quantity and extent of materials to be digitized, including an accurate account of their provenance, arrangement, level of available description, current storage and housing, physical condition, accessibility for public use, intellectual property status, and any other legal or ethical considerations affecting access or re-use.
  • Scholarly value and significance: This will be a narrative describing the potential impact of the project upon scholarship and the public. In addition to the applicant’s narrative, CLIR will require one, and accept up to three, letters from scholars familiar with the materials’ content in support of the project.
  • Risk assessment: This section will afford applicants with an opportunity to explain the urgency of their proposed project in terms of the risk of loss of recorded information on audio or audiovisual carrier. Here, applicants will be asked to explain why the proposed materials merit the particular approach to be taken by the vendor or organization chosen to undertake the work.
  • Project plan: This section will include a timeline of proposed activities, a description of the technical approach to be employed for the preservation reformatting, metadata creation, and digital preservation activities to be undertaken during the project term.
  • Deliverables, Access, and Impact: Applicants will describe all project deliverables and articulate their strategy for project-related outreach to scholars, professionals, and the public once the materials have been digitized. They will explain the means through which the content will be made available for study and re-use, their plans for connecting the content to related collections held elsewhere in their own and at other institutions, and any planned or potential future initiatives to be built upon this investment.
  • Digital preservation plan: Applicants will be asked to describe the processes and parties responsible preserving the files created during the project, and how preservation activities will be managed over time.
  • Rights, ethics, and re-use statement: Applicants will summarize all known rights, embargoes, and ethical or legal considerations relevant to their nominated collections and describe how this information will be communicated to users. They will explain the basis upon which the proposed activities are justifiably legal and ethical. For example, they should explain how their project fits within the protections afforded collecting institutions under Section 108 of Title 17 of the United States Code, or whether they will rely on fair use or permissions in any defense of their work. If personally or culturally sensitive information is present within nominated recordings, they will describe how they will uphold ethical and moral claims and the rights of interested individuals or communities. Applicants must confirm they will assert no new rights or introduce no restrictions except those already required by law and existing agreements pertaining to the original materials.
  • Letter of institutional support: Applicants will be asked to provide a letter from a head administrator affirming the institution’s support for the project, its readiness to undertake the outreach and preservation activities described in the proposal, and its recognition of the project’s fulfillment of the institution’s mission and current strategic goals. The letter must reaffirm the specific conditions under which the digital content created through the project will be preserved for the long term and made available for study and re-use, including the institution’s commitment to assert no new rights or introduce no restrictions except those already required by law and existing agreements.
  • Budget and budget justification: A complete list of costs to be funded through the grant and a justification for each cost on a line-by-line basis. Applicants to the pilot program must explain why the NEDCC is the appropriate service provider for the proposed project.
  • Budget appendices: Applicants to the pilot program will append a detailed quote from NEDCC that supports their proposed project plan, budget and justification.
  • Additional appendices (optional): These can include summary documentation of collection assessments, relevant accession documentation, donor agreements, photographs of the nominated collections, sample metadata records, etc., but may not include additional letters of support.

Review process


As indicated above, those interested in applying to the initial pilot program must first confer with staff at NEDCC to determine the suitability of their project for the NEDCC audio preservation service and for funding through CLIR. Once NEDCC has performed its initial evaluation, it will recommend only those it considers a good fit for its new audio reformatting service for a full review by CLIR, and it will prepare work plans and cost estimates for inclusion in those applicants’ proposal packages. CLIR will then manage an independent, full scholarly and technical review of those proposals using a panel of ten experts, five of whom will provide assessments of scholarly value, and five of whom will assess cost effectiveness and technical competence.

The program will not be restricted to a particular scholarly domain. Experts with scholarly expertise in a range of domains within which documentary evidence stored on audio or audiovisual media is relevant (communications, music, performing arts, anthropology, linguistics, American studies, cultural studies, etc.), as well as technologists with expertise in digitization and digital preservation for a range of audio and audiovisual media types, will comprise the panel.

Prior to assigning proposals to reviewers, CLIR staff will review each one for eligibility and compliance with program guidelines. Any proposals deemed ineligible or non-compliant will not be sent to reviewers.