05 November 2015

It's that time of year again! NEH is soliciting proposals for NDNP to add more to Chronicling America

We love newspapers, right?  We especially love them when they are digitized and we can access them anytime from our current favorite computer or tech toy!

Every year National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) solicits proposals for participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program.  The results of the accepted proposals are additional content which becomes part of Chronicling America.  This is a great newspaper project which encompasses the years from 1836 to 1922. The goal of the program is to have newspapers from all U.S. states and territories included.

From NEH regarding the National Digital Newspaper Program ...

Division of Preservation and Access
Receipt Deadline January 14, 2016 for Projects Beginning September 2016
Brief Summary
NEH is soliciting proposals from institutions to participate in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP is creating a national digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922, from all the states and U.S. territories. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and will be freely accessible via the Internet. (See the website, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.) An accompanying national newspaper directory of bibliographic and holdings information on the website directs users to newspaper titles available in all types of formats. During the course of its partnership with NEH, LC will also digitize and contribute to the NDNP database a significant number of newspaper pages drawn from its own collections.

NEH intends to support projects in all states and U.S. territories, provided that sufficient funds allocated for this purpose are available. One organization within each U.S. state or territory will receive an award to collaborate with relevant state partners in this effort. Previously funded projects will be eligible to receive supplements for continued work, but the program will give priority to new projects. In particular, the program will give priority to projects from states and territories that have not received NDNP funding.

Program Statistics
In the last five competitions the National Digital Newspaper Program received an average of seventeen applications per year. The program made an average of twelve awards per year, for a funding ratio of 71 percent.

Projects are typically based on statewide collaborations between major repositories of microfilm of historic newspapers and institutions with the technical capacity to launch long-term digitization efforts.  On the one hand, this results in a relatively small number of applications each year. On the other hand, the quality of the applications tends to be very high, so that most applicants have historically received funding.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely year to year, as can the success ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from [email protected].

More details about applying are available on this page.

An overview of the NDNP program is found here.

If you live in one of the few states not yet participating (see this map), this is your chance to contact local, university, or other possibly interested authorities and see if a grant proposal might result.  Existing programs can also apply to add to what they have already made available.

It’s a great program and saves us from having to “picket” for more newspapers. Instead of chanting “We want more newspapers digitized” we can sit comfortable somewhere and explore the ever expanding collection which just a few weeks ago surpassed 10 million pages!

Editor’s Note: Previous Upfront with NGS blog posts on related topics:

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