National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Publishing Historical Records Projects FAQs

Publishing Historical Records Projects

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What changes does the modified grant announcement for Publishing Historical Records contain?

The modified Publishing Historical Records announcement requires that publishing project proposals "present plans for online publication of their editions, including methods of providing free access. These plans need not include provision for the retrospective conversion of material already published." The announcement also indicates that "the initial focus of . . . [previously unfunded] projects must be on the preparation of online editions." Moreover, projects must describe their plans to preserve their online products and provide continued access to them.

2. Should projects revise or supplement the grant application proposals already submitted?

Yes. A project whose proposal, whether for a single year, or the first, second, or third year of a multi-year grant, will be considered at the Commission's June 2011 meeting, must submit a supplement to the grant application already submitted. The supplement should describe the project's digital publication plans. A project that submits its proposal against the July 7th deadline for consideration at the Commission's November 2011 meeting should describe its digital publication plans in the proposal it will submit. Those projects whose applications to the November meeting will be for the second or third year of multi-year grants should describe their electronic publication plans in supplements submitted to the Commission by the July 7th deadline.

3. How detailed must online publication plans be?

The plans for various projects will differ in detail, but, in general, these plans should address such matters as electronic publication rights, the format and markup contemplated for the edition, the type of software to be employed, the qualifications of the project staff, possible need for specialized training and how it would be met, potential hosts for the online edition, and plans for maintaining a secure backup copy.

4. Will the Commission stop funding projects that are not producing free online editions?

At the June 2011 meeting and subsequent meetings, the Commission will look closely at projects' digital publication plans. Projects that do not submit plans for publishing free online editions will be significantly less competitive.

5. How soon should projects plan to publish their editions online?

Projects should plan to publish their editions online as soon as possible. The Commission is aware, however, that some projects will need adequate time to adjust existing workflows, obtain training, collaborate with others, and identify appropriate locations for their online editions.

6. What type of markup should projects employ?

Projects should describe their encoding plans in their proposals. In general, the Commission would prefer the use of TEI (Textual Encoding Initiative) tagging. This is the closest thing to a standard practice. TEI-encoded texts could easily be made accessible to various search engines, and would thus help ensure the permanence of these texts.

7. Can projects continue to publish on paper and/or microfilm?

Projects may continue to publish on paper and/or microfilm, as well as electronically.

8. If projects raise outside funds to defray the cost of print publishing, can these funds be counted as a cost-sharing contribution?

Project contributions to the production of analog editions, whether in the form of cash or editorial work, may be counted as cost sharing. But, in such cases, projects will be responsible for maintaining the appropriate financial records and including such relevant information in their financial reports.

9. Will the Commission provide additional funding to publishing projects to assist digital publication of their editions?

The Commission may provide funding to assist digital publication of editions it supports. But any such support will be through grants to publishing projects, and not through a separate or additional program.

Prepared: April 7, 2011