FY 2014 Grant Announcement: (Initial)
Documenting Democracy: Access to Historical Records Projects
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), supports projects that promote the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage essential to understanding our democracy, history, and culture.
The following grant application information is for Documenting Democracy: Access to Historical Records Projects.
Funding Opportunity Number: ACCESS-201310
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 89.003
NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2014.
The Commission will support such activities as establishing archives programs, processing archival collections at the basic or detailed levels, surveying and accessioning archival records, and converting existing archival collection finding aids to new online formats. Applicants may submit proposals for one or any combination of the following four project categories:
1. Basic Processing
Proposals may be submitted for establishing archives and undertaking basic processing activities that promote the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage. Proposals must demonstrate how the applicant employs the best and most cost-effective archival methods.
For projects to establish new archives programs, a proposal may include the cost of a consultant to assess the need for an archives program. The assessment should identify the resources necessary for sustaining such a program and include a collection development plan, a plan for basic processing of unprocessed collections and new accessions in a timely manner, and a phased preservation plan. If the organization already has a detailed assessment, it may submit a proposal for costs associated with starting its archives program, as outlined in the assessment. Applicants may also submit proposals for records management projects with archival components. Applicants for start-up projects must provide convincing evidence of ongoing program support and must also demonstrate their commitment to creating equitable and timely access to their holdings.
For projects that process and reveal archival collections which researchers cannot easily discover through online search engines, proposals should demonstrate how repositories will process and catalog records at either the collection or the series level. Applicants will need to create collection- or series-level MARC catalog records in a national bibliographic utility. If finding aids are created, they should generally meet current Encoded Archival Description standards, and be made available to appropriate regional and national archival databases. Basic processing cannot include processing or description at the folder or item levels.
Institutions must develop or implement processing techniques to eliminate unprocessed backlogs of holdings at a level consistent with appropriate standards and at a reasonable rate. In addition, applicants must develop and establish adequate accessioning and processing techniques that will prevent future backlogs. Basic processing proposals should also include reappraisal of collections and include a process for deaccessioning entire collections where appropriate. Applicants must also include plans to promote the use of their collections after completing this processing.
Applications may request funds for limited preservation activities, such as preservation surveys of collections, the evaluation of environmental controls, and risk assessments. Although the NHPRC does not fund construction projects, applicants may include planning for necessary improvements to physical facilities. Impermissible activities include comprehensive reboxing and refoldering, the removal of staples and paper clips, and item-level repairs and conservation. Reformatting, digitizing, and microfilming are also not permissible. Preservation copying of faded or damaged documents should be extremely limited.
2. Detailed Processing
For collections with proven high research demand or substantial preservation concerns, applicants may propose to conduct detailed processing and preservation reformatting of collections of national significance. For projects that focus entirely on detailed processing, the Commission will give preference to repositories that have virtually all of their collections processed sufficiently so that researchers can find them through online searches.
In general, proposals should describe how the repository will process and create detailed descriptions at the series or file level. Projects should create or revise online descriptions and submit them to national library catalogs, national archival databases, and appropriate regional and institutional databases. Applicants must also create or revise detailed finding aids using Encoded Archival Description (EAD) unless other formats are more appropriate.
Applicants must explain whether any item-level processing or preservation treatment will be necessary, including refoldering, cleaning, flattening, copying, encapsulating, de-acidifying, and mending documents. If parts of collections deserve item-level processing, proposals must justify this detailed work and provide estimates of the percentage of collections to be processed to the item level.
Applicants may apply for grants in support of preservation reformatting. For collections containing unstable audio or video materials, applicants may propose preservation reformatting or migration to appropriate analog or digital formats. When appropriate, applicants should consider hybrid microfilm/digitization (using dual head cameras, or microfilm-to-digital or digital-to-microfilm techniques). For collections that include born digital files, applicants should include appropriate long-term digital preservation plans.
Applicants may propose limited digitization of series or items that have the most potential to benefit a broad public. Applications should detail the standards to be used in this process, itemize anticipated expenses, and estimate the percentage of the collections to be digitized. Applicants intending to submit projects that only digitize materials should see the Digitizing Historical Records announcement.
Applicants should also outline their publicity and outreach plans for promoting use of collections.
3. Documentary Heritage
Documentary heritage projects create more comprehensive documentation of United States history and culture by supporting projects that identify, survey, collect, and make available nationally significant records relating to groups and topics traditionally underrepresented in the historical record. Eligible activities include arrangement and description projects, documentation surveys, archival needs assessments, or some combination of the three. The NHPRC does not support projects to create new documentation, except for oral history projects conducted by American Indian tribes or indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands that rely on oral traditions to document their history and culture. Newspapers also are not considered historical records for the purposes of this announcement.
All projects that include collecting activities must show that the institution has developed, or will develop as a part of the project, initial processing techniques to gain basic physical and intellectual control over new accessions. If the repository has a large unprocessed backlog of holdings, collections development activities may only occur alongside basic processing activities. Projects that include elements of arrangement and description must not include item-level processing.
4. Retrospective Conversion of Descriptive Information
Proposals may be submitted for converting legacy finding aids and other sources of archival descriptive information into formats that provide improved online access to primary source collections. Activities may include converting card catalogs of archival materials and paper finding aids so that they may be made available electronically, or creating a comprehensive online database or finding aids from information only available in a variety of non-compatible formats. Applicants must use Encoded Archival Description (EAD) for finding aids unless other formats are more appropriate.
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.
A grant normally is for one or two years and for up to $200,000. The Commission expects to make up to 14 grants in this category for a total of up to $1,000,000.
Archives and other repositories of historical documents are eligible if they are part of:
- Nonprofit organizations
- Colleges, universities, and other academic institutions
- State or local government agencies
- Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups
Applicant organizations must be registered in 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 http://sam.gov. Please refer to the User Guides section and the Grants Registrations PDF.
Ineligible applications will not be reviewed.
Cost sharing is required. It is the financial contribution the applicant pledges to the cost of a project. Cost sharing can include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. The NHPRC will provide up to 50 percent of the total project costs.
Applicants should follow the instructions on how to fill out the online forms and apply electronically using the Application Instructions section on the NHPRC website.
The NHPRC requires that grant applications be submitted via Grants.gov. 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 may request an alternative. To make use of the NHPRC backup system, applicants must contact Jeff De La Concepcion (202-357-5022) no later than 3:00 Eastern Time on the day of the deadline with their valid Grants.gov Contact Center trouble-ticket number.
A complete application includes the Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424), Assurances - Non-Construction Programs (Standard Form 424B), a Project Narrative, Summary, Supplementary Materials, and Budget. Applications lacking these items are ineligible and will not be reviewed. In order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the rules and regulations governing NHPRC grants under the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.
The Project Narrative is a description of the proposal. It should be no more than 20 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type formatted for 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins. Please organize your narrative in these sections:
Begin with a brief overview of the project that shows how the records to be collected, processed, or preserved are of national significance and outlines the methods to be used. Potential applicants with collections primarily of regional or local significance should contact their State Historical Records Advisory Board about other potential funding options. Briefly summarize your organization's history, mission, and goals with an emphasis on its archival programs and records. Describe the nature and scope of your holdings and the percentage of your holdings that are available to researchers. Describe your access policies for public use of your holdings, including days and hours of operation. Explain the overall goals of the project and its relationship to your organization's mission and goals. Describe the materials that will be processed during this project, including the type of records, the quantity in cubic or linear feet, subject matters, formats, dates, and their historical significance.
Be specific about the historical importance of individuals, events, organizations, and places documented by the records. Demonstrate for each collection why it should be processed at the collection, series, box, or folder level. Describe the current demand and the physical condition of the materials. Identify how you expect this project to change usage levels. Characterize the project's audience, and show how the activities proposed will improve public discovery and use of historical records, and increase public understanding of American history, culture, and the national experience.
Provide evidence of planning and a realistic scope of work for the project. Outline each stage of the planned work, describing each activity and clarifying complex work plans with a time chart identifying the personnel required for each activity (in the supplemental materials).
Describe your current or proposed accessioning and processing methodologies and explain how they support the goals of revealing hidden collections and preventing future backlogs. Detail the ways in which you plan to describe the materials. Explain what preservation treatments are necessary. Indicate if you plan to digitize selected materials as part of the project. Describe how you will publicize the results, including the submission of catalog records and finding aids to national databases, websites, and press releases. In all cases, refer to the standards you intend to use to ensure the best results and measure productivity.If including item-level preservation or digitization in the project, specify cost estimates for these items in this section or in detailed charts in the supplemental materials.
- Describe the products you plan to produce for the completed project. This includes collections or records management materials, catalog records, archival finding
aids, and related publicity materials. Applicants should contribute MARC records to appropriate national bibliographic utilities and use Encoded Archival
Description (EAD) to place finding aids on the Internet, unless other formats are more appropriate. Presentations at or papers for professional organizations may
also be appropriate products for these projects. In addition, discuss methods your institution will use to evaluate the project (e.g., researchers' surveys or other methods).
- For people named in the proposal, provide a narrative explanation of the skills and qualifications that will make this project successful. For those to be
hired provide a short explanation of the necessary skills. Explain any special training planned for personnel. 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 or consultants to be hired for the project, provide job descriptions or call for consultants.
- List four to six quantifiable performance objectives that will allow you and the Commission to evaluate the project as you submit interim and final reports.
Performance objectives might include the number of collections or the volume of records processed and preserved, the number of MARC records and finding aids created or
updated and made available electronically, or types of new procedures put in place to expedite access to collections.
- Provide evidence of your institution's ability to follow the relevant federal financial and managements regulations if the project application were successful. In particular, address the nature of your financial management system(s). Please note how the system(s) track actual grant and cost share expenses in comparison with budgeted expenses. In addition, explain how your personnel and management systems track the amount of time staff and consultants would spend on this project.
The Project Summary should be no more than 3 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type formatted for on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins, and it must include these sections:
- Purposes and Goals of the Project
- Summary of Plan of Work for the Grant Period
- Products to be completed during the Grant Period
- Names, Titles, Institutions, Phone Numbers, and E-Mail Addresses of the Project Director and Key Personnel
Please ensure that the project director listed on this summary 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.
- Performance Objectives
Attach up to 20 pages of Supplementary Materials, such as:
- Résumés of named staff members (required)
- Position descriptions for staff to be hired with grant funds (required, if applicable)
- Your institution's mission, goals, and objective statements
- Your institution's pertinent policies on collections development, processing, and preservation
- Detailed work plan charts that supplement the Narrative
- Examples of MARC collection and/or series records and other discovery tools
- Statements of commitment to the project by partners, including records creators
If these materials are available on a web site, please provide the URLs.
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. Provide specific budget figures, rounding to the nearest dollar.
Applicants will be asked to compute the project costs to be charged to grant funds as well as those that will be supported by the applicant through cost sharing, which includes both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. All of the items listed, whether supported by grant funds or cost-sharing contributions, must be reasonable and necessary to accomplish project objectives, allowable in terms of the applicable federal cost principles, auditable, and incurred during the grant period. Applicants should review the appropriate Office of Management and Budget circulars on cost principles.
If the project expects program income, it should be allocated among specific budget categories on the cost-sharing column of the project budget. The total amount of expected program income should be reported on page 13 of the NHPRC budget form under "Project Funding for Entire Grant Period." The same amount should appear on the Application for Federal Assistance, SF424, item 18f. Please use the narrative budget supplement to explain the calculation of the expected income and its allocation.
Charges to the project for items such as salaries, fringe benefits, travel, and contractual services must conform to the written policies and established practices of the applicant organization. In addition, successful applicants will be required to certify that they have adequate accounting and timekeeping procedures to meet Federal requirements.
In preparing the budget, please follow the suggestions below in each of the categories:
Salaries: List each staff position and compensation that will be charged to the project and show the percentage of time each staff member will devote to the project. Indicate which positions are to be filled for the proposed project and which personnel are already on the staff of the applicant institution. Grant funds may be used to pay the salaries of only those individuals actually working on the project. You may count the time provided to the project by advisory board members.
Fringe Benefits: Include employee benefits using your organization's standard rates. No separate benefits should be included for positions that are computed at a daily rate or using honoraria.
Consultant Fees: Include payments for consultant services and honoraria. Provide justification for large or unusual consultant fees. List consultant travel expenses in the "Travel" category.
Travel: Include transportation, lodging, and per diem expenses. The NHPRC does not fund staff travel to professional meetings unless the travel is essential to accomplish the goals of the project.
Supplies and Materials: Include routine office supplies and supplies ordinarily used in professional practices. Justify the cost of specialized materials and supplies in a supplemental budget narrative.
Services: Include the cost of duplication and printing, long-distance telephone, equipment leasing, postage, contracts with third parties, and other services that you are not including under other budget categories or as indirect-cost expenses. The costs of project activities to be undertaken by each third-party contractor should be included in this category as a single line item charge. Include a complete itemization of the costs in a supplemental budget narrative.
Other costs: Include costs for necessary equipment above $5,000, stipends for participants in projects, and other items not included in previous grant categories. The NHPRC does not provide grant funds for the acquisition of routine equipment such as office furnishings, shelving, and file cabinets, but we may provide grant support for the purchase of technical equipment, such as software, computers and peripherals, essential for a project.
Submission Dates and Times
- Draft (optional) Deadline: August 1, 2013
- Final Deadline: October 3, 2013
Applications must be submitted electronically by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on October 3, 2013.
The Commission considers the application in May 2014. NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2014.
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 NHPRC staff as soon as possible, but no later than by 3:00 PM 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.
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 Documenting Democracy: Access to Historical Records Projects
- The national importance of the records to be processed and preserved. (35 percent)
- Appropriateness of the project's strategies and techniques for completing the components of the project. (25 percent)
- The ability to complete the project's objectives based on the qualifications of the staff, the inclusion of appropriate work plans including professional development, and the reasonableness of the budget (including cost share). (25 percent)
- Effectiveness of the dissemination plans for the project's results. (15 percent)
Application Review Process
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.
Your proposal will be reviewed by:
- State Boards
Your State Historical Records Advisory Board may evaluate the application on technical merits as well as its relation to state plan priorities.
- Peer Reviewers
We may ask 5 to 10 external peer reviewers to evaluate the proposal.
- Commission Staff
Approximately 3-4 months after the submission deadline, the Project Director receives blind copies of reviewers' comments and questions from the Commission staff. Applicants have an opportunity to expand on the material provided, clear up any misconceptions, and generally strengthen the proposal before the Commission meeting. Staff makes overall recommendations to the Commission based on reviewers' comments, the appropriateness of the project in meeting the Commission's goals, the proposal's completeness, conformity to application requirements and overall eligibility, and answers to the questions letter.
- The Commission
After reviewing proposals, the comments of peer reviewers, the applicants' responses to the reviews, and evaluations by the Commission staff, Commission members deliberate on proposals and make funding recommendations to the Archivist of the United States who, as Commission Chairman, 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.
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. Grant applicants will be notified within 2 weeks after the Archivist's decision.
Before beginning the process, applicants are encouraged to contact Alexander Lorch, Archives Program officer, (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (202) 357-5101, 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. Applicants should submit a draft at least 2 months before the deadline.
Applicants should also contact their State Historical Records Advisory Board about the proposal and seek the board's advice. Many state boards encourage applicants to submit draft proposals in advance of NHPRC deadlines.
For more information on how to comply with Federal regulations, see our Administering a Grant section.
* Please see our Privacy Statement