Publishing Historical Records in Collaborative Digital Editions
FY 2025 Grant Announcement (Initial):
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 Publishing Historical Records in Collaborative Digital Editions.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 89.003
There are two deadlines for this opportunity. New projects and projects currently receiving funds from the NHPRC may apply at either deadline.
Funding Opportunity Number: EDITIONS-202405
- Draft (optional): February 15, 2024
- Final Deadline: May 8, 2024
NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2025.
Funding Opportunity Number: EDITIONS-202411
- Draft: August 15, 2024
- Final Deadline: November 7, 2024
NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2025.
Before beginning the process, first-time applicants should contact the Director for Publishing Programs, Julie Fisher (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the NHPRC 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. (New applicants should submit draft materials prior to making a formal application.)
Grant Program Description
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals to publish online editions of historical records. All types of historical records are eligible, including documents, photographs, born-digital records, and analog audio. Projects may focus on broad historical movements in U.S. history, including any aspect of African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American history, such as law (including the social and cultural history of the law), politics, social reform, business, military, the arts, and other aspects of the national experience.
Projects that center the voices and document the history of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are especially welcome.
With the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approaching, the Commission also invites projects that promote discovery and access to collections that explore the ideals behind our nation’s founding and the continuous debate over those ideals to the present day.
The goal of this program is to provide access to, and editorial context for, the historical documents and records that tell the American story. Applicants should demonstrate familiarity with the best practices recommended by the Association for Documentary Editing (ADE) or the Modern Language Association (MLA) Committee on Scholarly Editions . Because of the focus on historical documentary sources, grants do not support preparation of critical editions of published works unless such works are just a small portion of the larger project.
This grant program does not support the production of film or video documentaries. 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.
All new projects (those which have never received NHPRC funding) must have definitive plans for publishing and preserving a digital edition which provides online access to a searchable, fully-transcribed and annotated collection of documents. New projects may also prepare print editions as part of their overall publishing plan, but the contents of those volumes must be published in a fully-searchable digital edition within a reasonable period of time following print publication. The NHPRC encourages projects to provide free public access to online editions. Projects that do not have suitable plans for digital dissemination and preservation in place at the time of application will not be considered.
Grants are awarded to collaborative teams (including at least two scholar-editors, in addition to one or more archivists, digital scholars, data curators, and/or other support and technical staff, as necessary) for collecting, describing, preserving, compiling, transcribing, annotating, editing, encoding, and publishing documentary source materials online. We strongly encourage applications from collaborative teams that include BIPOC faculty and staff in key positions, and that include editorial, archival, and technical staff at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, and/or other Indigenous and Native American tribal scholars and community members, and members of the Asian American community. We also encourage projects to seek out community members as well as undergraduate and graduate students to contribute to (and benefit from) participation in all phases of the project.
Applicants seeking renewed funding in this grant category must demonstrate that they have successfully achieved the performance objectives associated with previous NHPRC awards; provide updated, current information, including a description of the new activities; describe the content and historical significance of the specific materials to be edited during the proposed grant period; show progress towards completing the edition; and justify costs in a new budget.
**Notice of Funding Renewal Limitation: The NHPRC now limits the number of years it will support projects in this grant category. All projects seeking renewed funding are limited to a maximum of up to 10 years total funding support, beginning with and including any funds awarded for FY 2022. (Funding years need not be consecutive.)
A grant is for one year and for up to $125,000 per year. The Commission expects to make up to 28 grants in this category for a total of up to $3,500,000. Grants begin no earlier than January 1, 2025.
The Commission requires that grant recipients acknowledge NHPRC grant assistance in all publications, publicity, and other products that result from its support.
- 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
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. In order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the rules and regulations governing NHPRC grants under the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.
The total costs of a project are shared between the NHPRC and the applicant organization.
Cost sharing is required. The applicant's financial contribution may include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. NHPRC grant recipients are not permitted to use grant funds for indirect costs (as indicated in 2 CFR 2600.101). Indirect costs must be listed under the applicant's cost sharing contribution if they are included in the budget.
The Commission provides no more than 75 percent of total project costs in the Publishing Historical Records in Collaborative Digital Editions category. For example, a request of $75,000 in NHPRC grant funds means the applicant institution must provide at least $25,000 in cost share.
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 Unique Entity ID in their application. To register or request a Unique Entity ID, go to https://sam.gov.
Ensure your SAM.gov and Grants.gov registrations and passwords are current. It may take up to one month to register or reactivate your registration with SAM.gov and Grants.gov. NHPRC will not grant deadline extensions for lack of registration.
New applicants should submit draft materials prior to making a formal application. Draft materials intended for a particular final submission deadline may be submitted anytime up to the draft deadlines specified above. Draft materials should include a project narrative and budget, and may be sent via email to Julie Fisher, Director for Publishing (email@example.com).
You must use Grants.gov to submit your Proposal. All information necessary to apply is included in this announcement, the Application Instructions, and the forms on Grants.gov. If you need the information supplied in an alternative format, please call the NHPRC at 202-357-5010.
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 must contact Jeff de la Concepcion no later than 3:00 Eastern Time on the day of the deadline with their valid Grants.gov Contact Center trouble-ticket number. Applications that fail to meet deadlines for reasons other than those noted will not be considered for funding.
Preparing Your Application
Using the Application Instructions, fill out the Standard Form 424 and the NHPRC Budget Form.
You must also prepare a Project Narrative and Supplementary Materials to attach to your Application Package.
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.
Please organize your narrative in sections, as follows:
Statement of Purpose: In one or two sentences, please state the project's purpose, the collaborating institutions involved, and the amount you are requesting from NHPRC. For example: The [Institution] is seeking a grant of [$ amount] to form [or continue] a collaborative with [other institutions] to [what purposes].
Overview: Begin with a brief overview of your edition, including its conceptual scope, purpose, and goals, and its collaborative team; a summary description of the historical records collections and/or other documentary sources on which the edition will be based; its means of providing intellectual access to the historical materials to be edited and published; the products and online publications to be completed during the grant period; and accomplishments to date. Explain when you began your editorial project and when you expect it to be completed in full.
Historical Overview: First, provide an overview of the historical importance of the subjects, developments, organizations, individuals, events, and/or places whose history is documented by the project in general, justifying and situating the project’s corpus of historical records with reference to the relevant historical literature(s). Second, describe, with reference to existing scholarship, the research value of the specific documents and/or other materials to be edited during the proposed grant period. Explain how increased access to these latter documentary source materials will advance research in the relevant field(s) of study, and enhance public understanding of U.S. history, society and culture.
Project Methods: State whether the edition follows ADE or MLA guidelines, and outline your editorial procedures with reference to these guidelines. Specify the methods, criteria, tools, and related workflow you will use for document collection and control, selection and arrangement, transcription, annotation, encoding and metadata creation, indexing, and/or other apparatus--to enhance discovery, provide historical context, and facilitate understanding of the project’s source materials. Describe what you have done to secure the necessary permission for publication of materials (online and in print) from holders of literary rights or copyright.
Publishing Methods: Explain your respective choices for the digital methods and related front-end and back-end platform(s) you will employ to provide online access to the materials and work results. If applicable, describe plans for retrospective digital conversion of previously published print volumes. For online publication, please also identify the technical standards you will use in digitizing, controlling, encoding, and linking materials. How will these online materials be made broadly discoverable for researchers and the general public?
If you are also producing a print edition, describe plans for simultaneous or subsequent online publication of the material. (Some projects now prepare digital files that can serve both print and digital publication simultaneously.)
For new projects also publishing print volumes, please include in the Supplementary Materials a copy of your publication contract containing the necessary permissions or assignment of rights to publish all of the edition’s content (transcription, annotation, and other apparatus) in a searchable, online edition accessible to the public.
Preservation Standards and Long-Term Sustainability: The Commission expects the final products of funded projects to be maintained in their entirety for long-term discovery and access. Describe your digital preservation plans that will preserve your collaborative digital edition and provide continued discovery and access. How will the edition be sustained technically and financially, long after its final completion? Provide a link, if available, to your institution’s digital preservation plan. For print publication, indicate your publishing standards.
Plan of work: Outline each stage of the planned work within the grant period, identifying which staff members are responsible for which tasks. You may clarify complex work plans with a more detailed work plan in the supplemental materials. Describe the total number of documents you expect to work on at each stage, the number of volumes you expect to publish, and/or other products you plan to produce during the grant period, including how many transcribed and annotated documents will be published online, and when. In addition, specify how much more work is necessary to complete the project after this grant period. (Your work plan should be clearly aligned with your proposed budget.)
Ongoing projects: Explain how any performance shortfalls during the past two grant cycles have been addressed in terms of management changes or staffing reallocations. In addition, the proposal must detail any changes from previous projections of the scope of work and anticipated completion date for the entire project since your previous grant award from the NHPRC (supplemental materials may be used for charts if more appropriate).
Impact of Project: All projects, especially new ones, must describe how they plan to track the impact of their work. For ongoing projects, demonstrate the impact of the project’s efforts to make these historical records accessible. Evidence of impact might include published reviews; citations in scholarly books, articles; other media such as film or television programs, and websites; or use in exhibits, classrooms, textbooks, or curricula; and other forms of public engagement. If your project makes use of student workers, indicate how this work is advancing their professional development and enhancing the educational goals of your institution.
Qualifications of Staff: Briefly describe the qualifications and responsibilities of each of the project's staff members, including any staff members not funded by this grant, and indicate the percentage of time each will devote to the project. List the Names, Titles, Institutions, Phone Numbers, and E-Mail Addresses of the Project Director and Key Personnel (Please ensure that the project director listed in the Narrative 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. 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 members to be hired for the project, provide job descriptions, specify the qualifications that will be sought in candidates for vacant positions, and summarize the roles to be played by all project staff, consultants, and contractors. Some projects benefit from advisory boards that provide special expertise. If you have an advisory board, identify the members and their area(s) of specialization.
Performance Objectives: List six to ten objectives (or more, as appropriate to your workflow) by which we can measure your performance. For example, the number of documents and/or document images to be acquired during the grant period, the number of documents you plan to transcribe, annotate and/or fact-check during the grant period; the number of volumes completed; the number of completed documents to be published, etc. Performance objectives should also be specified for technical work related to your edition’s digital infrastructure, such as creation of the project’s document control database, search and browse architecture, other discovery or analysis tools, and/or other aspects of the project’s web architecture and interface. You should focus on quantifying what you intend to accomplish and complete.
Submit no more than 35 pages of the following Supplementary Materials:
- Résumés of named staff members (no more than two pages each; please use only institutional addresses and phone numbers)
- Position announcement for any new positions to be paid for by grant funds
- A detailed work plan (in either quarterly or six-month increments)
- A supplemental budget narrative
- Sample document facsimile(s) accompanied by transcription and annotation from the digital edition or volumes to be worked on during the proposed period.
- Statements of commitment to the project by partners (if applicable)
- New projects also producing print volumes must include a copy of your publication contract containing the necessary permissions or assignment of rights to publish all of the edition’s content (transcription, annotation, and other apparatus) in a searchable, online edition accessible to the public.
If these materials are available on a web site, please provide the URL(s). Reviewers appreciate applications with fewer supplemental pages.
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.
Submission Dates and Times
This funding category has two application deadlines:
- Draft: February 15, 2024
- Final Deadline: May 8, 2024
NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2025.
- Draft: August 15, 2024
- Final Deadline: November 7, 2024
NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2025.
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 Publishing Historical Records in Collaborative Digital Editions
- Quality and feasibility of the project’s conceptual scope and the proposed edition’s ability to support new research and teaching in U.S. history, including African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American history and studies. (35 percent)
- Quality and extent of the proposed collaboration, including qualifications of staff, and its ability to enhance, build upon, and include the capacities of all participants. (25 percent)
- Coherence, effectiveness, and reasonableness of the proposed work plan and budget, including strategies, methods, and plans for online publication. (25 percent)
- Quality and extent of community and end-user engagement and input. (15 percent)
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.
- A Panel of Peer Reviewers: We will ask 5 to 7 external peer reviewers to evaluate the proposal.
- The Commission: After reviewing proposals, reviewers’ comments, and evaluations by the Commission staff, the Commission members deliberate and make funding recommendations to the Archivist of the United States, who 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
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 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.
Commission staff will notify applicants of the Archivist's decision within two weeks following the meeting and will provide anonymous copies of reviewer comments to all applicants.
Successful applicants will receive an informal offer of award outlining the steps that must be accomplished to qualify for funding. Those steps include verification of their acceptance of general terms and conditions, completion of a survey on their Financial Capability and Accounting Systems, and finalization of performance objectives for their project. Once all requested documentation is received, reviewed and acceptable, the NHPRC will issue an official award notice.
For awards that meet or exceed the Federal government’s simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), NHPRC staff will first review and consider any information about the applicant that appears in the designated integrity and performance system. This information is accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313). After this review, NHPRC staff will follow the procedures in 2 CFR 200, subpart F, Appendix I, part e.3.
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.
In most cases, award recipients will report on their performance in narrative reports every six months and submit financial reports once a year.