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FY 2015 Grant Announcement (Initial):

State Government Electronic Records

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of the National Archives supports projects that promote access to America’s historical records to encourage understanding of our democracy, history, and culture.

The following grant application information is for State Government Electronic Records projects.

Funding Opportunity Number:   ELECTRONIC-201412

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:   89.003

  • Draft (optional) Deadline:   October 1, 2014
  • Final Deadline:   December 4, 2014

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2015.

Grant Program Description

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks projects that will accession, describe, preserve, and provide access to state government electronic records of enduring value. Government information maintained by state archives are national assets, serving as important resources for documenting rights and capturing the national experience. The NHPRC will support projects that actively engage in activities that preserve electronic record assets and make them available for public discovery.

The Commission encourages collaborative projects that bring together multiple parties to plan for and carry out project goals and outcomes. The NHPRC strongly encourages applicants to leverage the resources resulting from the Council of State Archivists’ State Electronic Records Initiative (SERI) to inform their work.

Projects in this program cannot digitize historical records. If you intend to digitize as part of processing, refer to the Access to Historical Records announcement; if you already have description and are looking to publish the digital surrogates, refer to the Digital Dissemination of Archival Collections announcement. In addition, projects cannot establish electronic document management systems that only manage born-digital records with limited retention periods. Applications requesting support for these activities will be considered ineligible in this program.

For a comprehensive list of the Commission's limitations on funding, please see What We Do and Do Not Fund.

Award Information

A grant normally is for one to three years and up to $200,000. The Commission expects to make 3 or more grants in this category, for a total of up to $600,000. Grants begin no earlier than July 1, 2015.

The Commission requires that grant recipients acknowledge NHPRC grant assistance in all products that result from its support.

Eligibility

These Electronic Records grants are awarded only to the state archives in each state, or to another state agency or nonprofit organization responsible for or acting on behalf of the state archives. States also include the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and United States territories.

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is required. It is the financial contribution the applicant pledges to the cost of a project. Cost sharing can include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. The NHPRC will provide up to 50 percent of the total project costs.

Other Requirements

Applicant organizations must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application, maintain SAM registration throughout the application and award process, and include a valid DUNS number in their application. Details on SAM registration and requesting a DUNS number can be found at the System for Award Management website at https://sam.gov. Please refer to the User Guides section and the Grants Registrations PDF.

A complete application includes the Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424), Assurances - Non-Construction Programs (Standard Form 424B), a Project Narrative, Summary, Supplementary Materials, and Budget.

Ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

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Application and Submission Information

All information necessary to apply is included in this announcement. If you need the information supplied in an alternative format, please call the NHPRC at 202-357-5010.

Applicants should follow the instructions on how to fill out the online forms and apply electronically using the Application Instructions.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) requires that grant applications be submitted via Grants.gov. In the event that Grants.gov is experiencing technical difficulties that prevent submission, applicants must first attempt to resolve the issue with the Grants.gov Contact Center (800-518-4726). If Grants.gov cannot solve the problem, applicants may request an alternative. To make use of the NHPRC backup system, applicants must contact Jeff de la Concepcion (202-357-5022) no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline with their valid Grants.gov Contact Center trouble-ticket number.

In order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the rules and regulations governing NHPRC grants under the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.

Applicants are encouraged to submit drafts by October 1, 2014, but drafts are not required. The drafts should be sent by email to the person listed under Agency Contact and should include a draft narrative and budget.

Project Narrative

The Project Narrative is a description of the proposal. It should be no more than 20 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins.

Projects in this category should actively engage in activities that preserve electronic record assets and make them available for public discovery.

Please organize your narrative in these sections:

  1. Introduce the overall goal of your project and explain how it will improve your institutional capacity for managing, preserving and providing access to permanent electronic records in your state. If working with other agencies within the state, or with other states, explain the reasons for including each partner. In general, proposals that involve collaborations outside of a single institution will be more competitive.

  2. Describe (if applicable) the status of the electronic records program including the extent of staff, the size and formats of archival holdings, and the expected rate of growth. Provide examples of institutional support in terms of financial support, policy statements, workflows, and record creator cooperation. Describe the nature of the electronic records you expect to manage with project resources in terms of content, number of files, and bytes. Explain the content of the electronic records that form the focus of your project and how these records have permanent value according to records retention policies, legal status, or historical value.

  3. Explain your current or expected methods of preserving authentic electronic records and providing access to the records. Demonstrate an understanding of the major technical and human issues related to operating electronic records archives by referring to your experiences and to expert studies. Include technical specifications for hardware and/or software that will be used in the project.

  4. Describe in detail your plan of work in intervals of, at most, six months. Use specific months and identify the person(s) on the project team who will be responsible for each part of the project. Explain how your approach reflects your organizational structure, planning, and research. Explain why the proposed approach is likely to result in the preservation and availability of electronic records. If working with other agencies or states, explain how your approach reflects the different capacities of your collaborators. Refer specifically to what you see as effective workflows for responding to technological challenges. Explain why the proposed approach is likely to result in the growth of electronic records available for public use. Provide information how the proposed approach might be replicated by other states archives or non-governmental archival institutions, and if it would be scalable.

  5. Describe the products you will produce for the completed project. Describe any assessments, manuals, specifications, and other documentation that you plan to complete during the project. Explain how you will disseminate the project results to external audiences through professional newsletters, conference presentations, journal articles, or on the Internet. A public website describing the project's methods is required in addition to information about how users will access the materials. The Council of State Archivists web portal, Program for Electronic Records Training, Tools and Standards (PERTTS), should be used to disseminate any products created during the project.

  6. For the people or positions in the proposal, provide a narrative explanation of the qualifications of the staff who will contribute to the success of this project. Explain any special training planned for members of the project staff to help them support the project. In supplementary materials, provide a résumé of not more than two pages per person for each staff named in the project budget. For those staff to be hired, provide job descriptions or call for consultants.

  7. List four to six quantifiable performance objectives that will allow you and the Commission to evaluate the project following the submission of the final report. For example, how many megabytes of records have been preserved; what new policies and procedures have been adopted; how many records being made available to the public, and how are they available.

Project Summary

The Project Summary should be no more than 3 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins, and it should include these sections:

  • Purposes and Goals of the Project
  • Methods
  • Plan of Work for the Grant Period
  • Products and Publications to be completed during the Grant Period
  • Names, Titles, Institutions, Phone Numbers, and E-Mail Addresses of the Project Director and Key Personnel
    Please ensure that the project director listed on this summary is the same person listed in Section 8 (f), of the SF 424. If your institution requires a different contact person on the SF 424, please explain in one sentence.
  • Performance Objectives

Supplementary Materials

Prepare up to 20 pages of Supplementary Materials to your Narrative, such as:

  • Résumés of named staff members (please use only institutional addresses and phone numbers) (required)
  • Position descriptions for staff to be hired with grant funds (required, if applicable)
  • Detailed work plan charts that supplement the Narrative
  • Statements of commitment to the project by partners, including records creators
  • Summaries of your institution's pertinent policies on records management, collections development, processing, and digital preservation

If these materials are available on a web site, please provide the URLs.

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Project Budget

You must submit a budget on the NHPRC Budget Form available on the Application Instructions page. Note that the form itself contains additional instructions. You may include with your application a narrative budget supplement for budget categories that require further detail. Provide specific budget figures, rounding to the nearest dollar.

Applicants will be asked to compute the project costs to be charged to grant funds as well as those that will be supported by the applicant through cost sharing, which includes both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project.

If the project expects program income, it should be allocated among specific budget categories on the cost-sharing column of the project budget. The total amount of expected program income should be reported on page 13 of the NHPRC budget form under "Project Funding for Entire Grant Period." The same amount should appear on the Application for Federal Assistance, SF424, item 18f. Please use the narrative budget supplement to explain the calculation of the expected income and its allocation.

All of the items listed, whether supported by grant funds or cost-sharing contributions, must be reasonable and necessary to accomplish project objectives, allowable in terms of the applicable federal cost principles, auditable, and incurred during the grant period. Applicants should review the appropriate Office of Management and Budget circulars on cost principles.

Charges to the project for items such as salaries, fringe benefits, travel, and contractual services must conform to the written policies and established practices of the applicant organization. In addition, successful applicants will be required to certify that they have adequate accounting and timekeeping procedures to meet the Federal requirements.

Budget Categories

In preparing the budget, please follow the suggestions below in each of the categories:

Salaries:   List each staff position and the full salary to be charged to the project and show the percentage of time each staff member will devote to the project. Indicate which positions are to be filled for the proposed project and which personnel are already on the staff of the applicant institution. Grant funds may be used to pay the salaries of only those individuals actually working on the project. You may count the time provided to the project by advisory board members.

Fringe Benefits:   Include employee benefits using your organization's standard rates. No separate benefits should be included for positions that are computed at a daily rate or using honoraria.

Consultant Fees:   Include payments for consultant services and honoraria. Provide justification for large or unusual consultant fees. Include consultant travel expenses in the "Travel" category.

Travel:   Include transportation, lodging, and per diem expenses. The NHPRC does not fund staff travel to professional meetings unless the travel is essential to accomplish the goals of the project.

Supplies and Materials:   Include routine office supplies and supplies ordinarily used in professional practices. Justify the cost of specialized materials and supplies in a supplemental budget narrative.

Services:   Include the cost of duplication and printing, long-distance telephone, equipment leasing, postage, contracts with third parties, and other services that you are not including under other budget categories or as indirect-cost expenses. The costs of project activities to be undertaken by each third-party contractor should be included in this category as a single line item charge. Include a complete itemization of the costs in a supplemental budget narrative.

Other Costs:   Include costs for necessary equipment above $5,000, stipends for participants in projects, and other items not included in previous grant categories. The NHPRC does not provide grant funds for the acquisition of routine equipment such as office furnishings and file cabinets, but we may allow for the purchase of archival equipment, such as shelving units, and technical equipment, such as computers and peripherals, essential for a project. Include technical specifications for equipment over $5,000 in a supplemental budget narrative.

Submission Dates and Times

  • Draft (optional) Deadline: October 1, 2014
  • Final Deadline: December 4, 2014

Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on December 4, 2014.

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2015.

Deadline Policy: Given that technical or administrative difficulties with Grants.gov may periodically delay the timely submission or receipt of applications, the Commission staff will make provisions for the receipt of such applications past the established deadline. Under these circumstances, applicants with technical or administrative issues related to Grants.gov must contact NHPRC staff as soon as possible, but no later than by 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the published application deadline. Applications that fail to meet deadlines for reasons other than those noted will not be considered for funding.

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Application Review Information

The NHPRC staff will acknowledge receipt of the application soon after we receive it. The following evaluation criteria and weights will be used by NHPRC staff and other reviewers to form recommendations.

Criteria for State Government Electronic Records projects

  1. The probability that the project will result in electronic records preserved and available for public access. (30 percent)
  2. The potential for more effective electronic records management derived from the proposed methods, and the ability to replicate and scale the proposed methods by other archival institutions. (30 percent)
  3. The ability to complete the project's objectives based on the qualifications of the staff, the inclusion of appropriate work plans including professional development, and the reasonableness of the budget (including cost share). (25 percent)
  4. Effectiveness of the dissemination plans for the project's results. (15 percent)

Application Review Process

After submitting a proposal, do not discuss the pending application to the NHPRC with any Member of the Commission. Commission Members must ensure fair and equitable treatment of all applications and do not discuss proposals with individual applicants.

  • Peer Reviewers
    We may ask 5 to 7 external peer reviewers to evaluate the proposal.
  • Commission Staff
    Approximately 3 months after the submission deadline, the Project Director receives blind copies of reviewers' comments and questions from the Commission staff. Applicants have an opportunity to expand on the material provided in the application, clear up any misconceptions, and generally strengthen the proposal before the Commission meeting. Staff makes overall recommendations to the Archivist, who chairs the Commission, based on the appropriateness of the project in meeting the Commission's goals, the proposal's completeness, conformity to application requirements and overall eligibility, and answers to the questions letter.
  • The Commission
    After reviewing proposals, the comments of peer reviewers, the applicants' responses to the reviews, and evaluations by the Commission staff, Commission members deliberate on proposals and make funding recommendations to the Archivist of the United States who, as Commission Chairman, has final statutory authority and selects award recipients. Throughout this process, all members of the Commission and its staff follow conflict-of-interest rules to assure fair and equal treatment of every application.

Award Administration Information

Notification

Grants are contingent upon available appropriated funds. In some cases, the Commission will adjust grant amounts depending upon the number of recommended proposals and total budget. The Commission may recommend to the Archivist to approve the proposal and extend an offer of a grant with applicable terms and conditions, or it may recommend rejection of the proposal.

Grant applicants will be notified within 2 weeks after the Archivist’s decision.

Successful applicants will receive an informal offer of award and be required to verify their acceptance of general terms and condition, and complete a statement on their Financial Capability and Accounting Systems. Once these are received and reviewed, the NHPRC will issue an official award notice.

Administrative Requirements

In order to ensure that you can manage a grant, applicants should review the Federal grant administration rules and regulations governing grants from the NHPRC listed in the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.

Reporting

In most cases, award recipients will report on their performance in narrative reports every six months and submit financial reports once a year.

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Agency Contact

Applicants are encouraged to contact Nancy Melley, Director for Technology Initiatives, at 202-357-5452, or nancy.melley@nara.gov. She can:

  • Advise the applicant about the review process;
  • Answer questions about what activities are eligible for support;
  • Supply samples of successful applications;
  • Read and comment on a preliminary draft. Applicants should submit a draft at least 2 months before the deadline.

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