AHA Today

Grant of the Week: Lapidus Initiative Fellowships for Digital Collections

Sadie Bergen | Aug 26, 2016

Every week, AHA Today showcases a new grant, fellowship, or scholarship of interest to historians which has been posted to our free Calendar. This week we are featuring Lapidus Initiative Fellowships for Digital Collections from the Omohundro Institute.

The Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture (OI) seeks proposals from scholars at all levels, in partnership with special collections libraries and historical societies, for Lapidus Initiative Fellowships for Digital Collections. In concert with other OI projects promoting creative use of digital tools and materials, these fellowships are intended to bring scholars and collections specialists together to make collections available for digital scholarship.

The fellowship will award up to $5,000 to the holding library and to the scholar whose research relies on, or will be greatly enhanced by, the digitization of a collection or partial collection of materials related to early America, broadly conceived, before 1820. Scholars must partner with special collections libraries that will digitize the needed materials with the funds from the fellowship.

For the purposes of this application, digitization should be considered broadly. It may include (but is not limited to): the photographing of manuscripts, newspapers, graphic materials, or rare books; the scanning of index cards; the cataloging of rare materials; the enhancement of digital catalog records; or the inventorying of manuscript collections. We welcome project proposals employing materials from libraries and archives of all sizes. If you have questions about this program or the application process, including how to construct a detailed budget, please contact Martha Howard at martha.howard@wm.edu.

Upon completion of digitization, the materials must be made publicly available.

Applications must include:

  1. A timeline for completion of the digitization project
  2. A letter of commitment to digitize from the librarian/curator or other representative of the special collection should the award be granted. This letter must include:
    • An itemized budget of the cost of digitization, including staff time.
    • A summary of any other funding received for the project.
    • A point of contact for any questions the committee may have.
    • Recognition of the application’s timeline for completion of the project and commitment to complete the digitization within the scholar’s timeline.
    • Commitment either to host the digitized material or make it available elsewhere for public access.

      N.B.: If the materials are under license to a vendor, the letter should also explain that the library has permission to reproduce and make available these materials.

  3. A 500-word statement from the scholar explaining the nature of their research project, how the digitization of the collection is crucial to the research, a summary of any additional funding for the project, the scholar’s projected outcome of the work with the digitized materials, and how other scholars might benefit from the digitization of the collection.
  4. An itemized budget that includes both the special collection’s budget (see #2) as well as the scholar’s travel and research fees.
  5. A current c.v.

A panel of scholars working in early American history and culture, special collections, publishing, and digital humanities will evaluate applications using the following criteria:

  • Does the project contribute to early American history and culture before 1820?
  • How will the digitization of the materials enhance scholarly inquiry into the defined project?
  • Does the itemized budget provide a realistic and justifiable estimate of the costs to be incurred by the archive/library and by the scholar? Not all projects will require fully $5,000.
  • Will the digitized materials be useful for other scholars?
  • What are the expected outcomes of the project?

Applications should be submitted via the OI website by January 9, 2017.

Decisions will be announced by mid-February. We expect to make 2-3 awards for use from mid-Spring, 2017.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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