National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Literacy and Engagement with Historical Records Projects FAQs

Literacy and Engagement with Historical Records

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this program?

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks projects that encourage citizen engagement with historical records, especially those available online, and/or projects that train people on how to enhance digital literacy skills for using historical records. In addition, we are interested in project that would train individuals in responsible personal digital archiving.

How long have you been funding these types of projects?

The NHPRC began this program in 2015. We will modify the program each year as we learn where we can best serve the needs of the public with our limited funds.

Should I seek partners to work with on my proposal?

Based on our first round of applications, the answer is generally yes. Since you may need a combination of experts in history, archives, technology, and education, you may find it useful to go outside your single institution. In addition, we expect your project may benefit other institutions. As a result, advisory groups may help to ensure your project approach is applicable to other settings. Including letters of support is highly recommended. For the purposes of the SF-424 application form and ongoing grant administration, only one institution may serve as the formal applicant and project coordinator.

How often do you award grants for this program? How do I apply?

The NHPRC accepts applications for Literacy and Engagement with Historical Records once a year. Our application process is through The easiest way to keep track of the funding deadlines is to subscribe to their Find Grant Opportunities page. We are listed as a "Sub-Agency" under the National Archives and Records Administration. You should read our Apply for a Grant page for detailed instructions on how to apply. Do not wait until the deadline date to become familiar with

Please briefly explain the formal review process.

After you have completed an application, NHPRC staff will send out your application to 5-7 professional peer reviewers, all of whom will comment on your projectÂ’s narrative and budget. We will then send you these reviews along with a "questions letter" in order that you might briefly clarify any unresolved matters before we submit the application to the Commission. Based on your application, reviewersÂ’ comments, response, and staff recommendations, the Commission advises the Archivist of the United States, who makes the final decision on grant awards.

How much money are we expected to contribute to the total cost of our project?

We require the applicant institution to provide 50 percent or more of total project costs as cost share. Cost share can include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project.

Why can’t we process records or use grant funds to digitize materials in this program?

The focus of this program is on increasing peopleÂ’s engagement with and understanding of historical records, which are often available online. We want the bulk of the program funds to go to those costs. If you have not yet processed the collection, then we suggest you review our Access to Historical Records grant program. If your project is training people to do personal digital archiving, then we could see grant expenses associated with helping people scan records in certain formats.

Do you expect all projects to do transcribing of documents or online crowdsourcing?

No. Program on personal digital arching are explicitly encouraged. Programs that help people become more effective and engaged users of online sources are the main priority. A program that only focused on transcription on the Internet or in person would likely be less competitive.