National Historical Publications & Records Commission

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FY 2015 Grant Announcement: (Initial)

Literacy and Engagement with Historical 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 Literacy and Engagement with Historical Records.

Funding Opportunity Number:   LITERACY-201412

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:   89.003

  • Draft Deadline (optional):   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 explore ways to improve digital literacy and encourage citizen engagement with historical records. The Literacy and Engagement grant program offers support for projects that will result in archives reaching audiences through digital literacy programs and workshops, new tools and applications, and citizen engagement in archival processes.

The NHPRC is looking to fund pilot projects in areas that:

  1. Develop partnerships among archives, historical records repositories, educational, and community-based institutions to provide educational opportunities for people, particularly students, to develop their digital literacy skills when they find, evaluate, and use primary source documents online. In addition, projects may seek to increase individual understanding of technology operations and concepts so that they can engage in effective personal digital archiving or other types of digital archives curriculum development.

  2. Create or develop new online tools and applications, including mobile apps, to enhance public understanding and access to historical records.

  3. Enlist "citizen archivists" in projects to accelerate digitization and online public access to historical records. This may include, but is not limited to, improving crowdsourcing efforts for identifying, tagging, transcribing, annotating, or otherwise enhancing digitized historical records.

The NHPRC is looking for projects to experiment with new techniques and methods in these three areas that will provide models for other organizations and that people and institutions can adopt for free.

For a comprehensive list of the Commission's limitations on funding, please see What We Do and Do Not Fund. Applications that consist entirely of ineligible activities will not be considered.

Award Information

A grant normally is for one to two years. The Commission expects to make up to six grants of between $50,000 and $150,000. The total amount allocated to this category is up to $500,000. Grants begin no earlier than July 1, 2015

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

Eligibility

Eligible applicants:

  • U.S. nonprofit organizations or institutions
  • U.S. colleges, universities, and other academic institutions
  • State or local government agencies
  • Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is required. Cost sharing 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 Commission provides no more than 50 percent of total project costs.

Other Requirements

Applicant organizations must be registered in 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. Applications lacking these items are ineligible and will not be reviewed.

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 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 address at least one of three major areas:

  • Develop partnerships among archives, historical records repositories, educational, and community-based institutions to provide educational opportunities for people, particularly students, to develop their digital literacy skills when they find, evaluate, and use primary source documents online. In addition, projects may seek to increase individual understanding of technology operations and concepts so that they can engage in effective personal digital archiving or other types of digital archives curriculum development.

  • Create or develop new online tools and applications, including mobile apps, to enhance public understanding and access to historical records.

  • Enlist "citizen archivists" in projects to accelerate digitization and online public access to historical records. This may include, but is not limited to, improving crowdsourcing efforts for identifying, tagging, transcribing, annotating, or otherwise enhancing digitized historical records

Please organize your narrative in sections:

  1. Describe your project's overall purpose and ambitions. Detail how your projectís new techniques will address one or more of the three major areas. The NHPRC prefers projects that plan to test their methods at multiple organizations or with multiple audiences, depending on the type of project.

  2. Describe the plan of work for the grant period. Describe in detail the types of activities you intend to engage in and the relationships among them. Outline each stage of the planned work and include the costs for each major stage. Types of activities that are typical for these projects may include planning, research, prototyping, testing, and marketing. Be certain to include enough time to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the project. Be specific about how you intend to publicize and evaluate the project. Final evaluations should include an assessment of the costs and benefits of employing the new methods. Include, in the supplementary materials, charts that identify the people, time, and resources needed for each stage.

  3. Describe the products you plan to produce for the completed project. These may include software and documentation; curriculum and other educational products; websites, manuals; papers, speeches, and articles; and/or brochures and pamphlets. Explain how you plan to make the results available. Describe and justify your methods for disseminating products. The NHPRC expects that project results can be used by individuals or institutions for free.

  4. 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. Demonstrate that the project staff has the skills, educational background, and experience appropriate to the project. Explain the roles of all staff named in the project budget, both for those already on staff and for those to be hired. Include descriptions of outside project advisors, reviewers, and evaluators. In the supplementary materials, provide a résumé of not more than two pages per person for all staff named in the project budget. For those staff or consultants to be hired for the project, provide position descriptions or call for consultants.

  5. List four to six measurable objectives. Focus on quantifiable results that reflect what you intend to accomplish and complete during the grant period. For example, how many institutions will test your methods; what measurable improvements will there be in techniques for public participation, discovery, or use of historical records; how many people will be reached with educational and outreach programming; how many of the tools developed through the project will be available for use by the broader archival and historical publishing communities; or how many people will have tried these new methods.

Project Summary
The Project Summary should be no more than 3 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type with standard margins and should include these sections:

  • Purposes and Goals of the Project
  • Plan of Work for the Grant Period
  • Products and/or Publications to be completed during the Grant Period
  • Names, Phone Numbers, and E-Mail Address 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
You may attach 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 to supplement the Narrative (required)
  • Statements of commitment to the project by partners

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

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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. 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.

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.

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 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.

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Submission Dates and Times

  • Draft (optional): 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 Literacy and Engagement with Historical Records projects

  1. Quality and extent of the project's potential impact in developing or enhancing education or outreach programming, new tools or applications, and/or increasing citizen engagement to accelerate online public access to historical records. (30 percent)
  2. Ability to complete the project's proposed objectives, judged by the qualifications of the staff and reasonableness of the work plan and budget (including cost share). (30 percent)
  3. Transferability of the project's expected results to the archival and historical communities, including federal government entities. (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 o fall applications and do not discuss proposals with individual applicants.

  • Peer Reviewers
    We may ask 5 to 10 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 reviewers' comments, 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, priorities, and total budget. The Commission may recommend that the Archivist 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.

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Agency Contact

Applicants are encouraged to contact Lucy Barber, Deputy Executive Director, 202-357-5306, or lucy.barber@nara.gov who may:

  • 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.

Grant Administration

For more information on how to comply with Federal regulations, see our Administering a Grant section.

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