National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives (Preliminary)

FY 2019 Grant Announcement: (Initial)

Preliminary Proposals

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

The following information is for Preliminary Proposals for Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives. Please review the full announcement for all requirements for this grant program.

Successful preliminary proposal applicants will learn whether they have been invited to submit a full application under the Major Initiatives category by April 16, 2018.

The following grant application information is for Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives projects.

Funding Opportunity Number:   PRELIM-201801

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:   89.003

  • Preliminary Proposal Deadline:   January 18, 2018

NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2019.

Grant Program Description

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks projects that will significantly improve public discovery and use of major historical records collections. All types of historical records are eligible, including documents, photographs, born-digital records, and analog audio and moving images. Projects may:

 

  • Digitize historical records collections, or related collections, held by a single institution and make them freely available online
  • Create new freely-available virtual collections drawn from historical records held by multiple institutions
  • Provide access to born-digital records
  • Create new tools and methods for users to access records

 

The NHPRC welcomes collaborative projects, particularly for bringing together related records from multiple institutions. Projects that address significant needs in the field and result in replicable and scalable approaches will be more competitive. We also encourage organizations to actively engage the public in the work of the project.

Applicants should also consult Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects program, which has different requirements and award amounts.

For a comprehensive list of Commission limitations on funding, please see: "What we do and do not fund" (http://www.archives.gov/nhprc/apply/eligibility.html). Applications that consist entirely of ineligible activities will not be considered.

Award Information

A grant is for one to three years. Awards will be between $100,000 and $350,000. We expect to make up to five grants in this category for a total of up to $1,000,000. Grants begin no earlier than January 1, 2019.

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

Eligibility

Eligible applicants:

  • Nonprofit organizations or institutions
  • Colleges, universities, and other academic institutions
  • State or local government agencies
  • Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups

Cost Sharing

The total costs of a project are shared between the NHPRC and the applicant organization.

The Commission provides no more than 50 per cent of total project costs in the Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives category. NHPRC grant recipients are not permitted to use grant funds for indirect costs (as indicated in 2 CFR 2600.101).

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. Indirect costs must be listed under the applicant's cost sharing contribution.

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.

 

Application Information

You must use Grants.gov to submit a Preliminary 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 order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the rules and regulations governing NHPRC grants under the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.

Applying to the Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives program is a two-phase process.

Phase One

  • Using this announcement, all applicants must submit an Application Package that consists of the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance Form SF424, a completed NHPRC Budget, and five-page Project Narrative via Grants.gov by January 18, 2018.
  • Preliminary proposals will then undergo peer and staff review. Based on those reviews, a selection of promising applicants will be invited by April 16, 2018 to participate in the second phase of the process.

Phase Two

  • Invited applicants will then prepare and submit a complete application to the full Major Initiatives grant announcement via Grants.gov by July 11, 2018.
  • Applicants may consult with the Director of the Access Program, Alexander Lorch (alexander.lorch@nara.gov), or with the Director for Technology Initiatives, Nancy Melley (nancy.melley@nara.gov), during both the preliminary and full proposal project phases.
  • In order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the rules and regulations governing NHPRC grants under the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.

Preparing Your Application

Using the Preliminary Application Instructions, fill out the SF424 and a preliminary NHPRC Budget estimate for your project. You will also prepare a Project Narrative to attach to your application.

Project Narrative

The Project Narrative is a description of the proposal. It should be no more than 5 single-spaced pages in 12-pt type formatted for 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins.

 

  1. Overview: Provide an overview of the project and how it will improve public discovery and use of historical records. Describe the collections and show how the records broaden public understanding of our democracy, history, and culture. Characterize the project's intended audience and describe your efforts, where applicable, to actively engage the public in the work of the project.

    If you are collaborating with other institutions to create a new virtual collection drawn from historical records held by multiple institutions, describe your potential partners and the reasons for unifying collections.

    If you are planning to create new tools and methods for users, describe how they will mark an advancement or enhancement of current archival practices. The Commission is especially interested in new APIs (application program interfaces) and Open Access principles to encourage re-use of collections.
  2. Description of Collections: Describe the records that will be made accessible. This should include the quantity in cubic or linear feet for analog materials, in files and bytes for born-digital materials, and an estimate of the number of hours for audio and moving image materials. Detail the topical matters, formats, dates, and their historical significance. Explain how these records have the highest value for broad public use and how they significantly enhance understanding of the overall American experience. Provide specific evidence of the current research demand and explain how you expect this project to change usage levels. If collaborating with other institutions to create virtual collections around a central topic, then describe your partners and their project commitments
  3. Archival Methodologies: Describe your processing and digitization methodologies or plans to innovate in these areas. Detail the specific methods used for any preservation reformatting of audio or moving image materials. Outline your institution's long-term digital preservation plan (or provide a link to it online).
  4. New Tools and Methods: Describe any new tools and methods and explain how they will advance, enhance, or make more efficient current practices in the field. If collaborating with other institutions to test these methods, then explain how the joint effort will work.
  5. Public Participation: Provide details regarding your plan to engage the public throughout the project in the active use of the records. Projects should consider ways to engage a broad range of education levels, age groups, ethnicities, and both urban and rural communities.
  6. Plan of Work: Provide a preliminary plan of work. Outline the skills and qualifications of current or projected project staff necessary to undertake the initiative. List the Project Director’s contact information.
  7. Performance Objectives: List six to eight quantifiable performance objectives that will allow you and the Commission to evaluate the project. Performance objectives might include the number or volume of collections processed or described, the number of items digitized, types of new procedures put in place to expedite access to collections, and the number and type of outreach activities.

Submission Dates and Times

  • Preliminary Proposal Deadline: January 18, 2018

Invitations to submit Full Proposal applications will be sent by April 16, 2018

Full Proposal applications must be submitted via Grants.gov by midnight Eastern Time on July 11, 2018.

A funding decision will be made at the Commission's November 2018 meeting. NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2019.

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 Jeff de la Concepcion (jeff.delaconcepcion@nara.go) or 202-357-5022 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.

 

Preliminary Proposal Review Information

Preliminary Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of 7 to 10 experts in archives, records management, and history. Based on their recommendations and staff review, a limited number of applicants will be invited by April 16, 2018 to submit a full proposal. We will send anonymous copies of reviewers' comments to all applicants. To invited applicants, we also will send specific questions from the Commission staff and reviewers to assist you in the preparation of your grant application.

Criteria for Preliminary Proposals:

  1. The potential of the historical records collections to broaden understanding of our democracy, history, and culture. (30 percent)
  2. The project's strategies and techniques that will result in enhanced public access and engagement. (30 percent)
  3. The project's ability to develop scalable and replicable tools and methods that address significant needs in the field. (25 percent)
  4. The ability to complete the project's objectives based on the qualifications of the staff, collaborative partnerships, the inclusion of an appropriate plan of work, and the reasonableness of the preliminary budget (including cost share). (15 percent)

Agency Contact

At any time, applicants are encouraged to contact the Director of the Access Program, Alex Lorch (alexander.lorch@nara.gov) or 202-357-5101, or the Directory for Technology Initiatives, Nancy Melley (nancy.melley@nara.gov) or 202-357-5452.

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