The project is the Digital Libraries Initiative, Phase 2. There are over seven sponsors: The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, NARA, National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and others, all apparently cooperating under the umbrella of NINCH (National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage), which is located at 21 Dupont Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20036 (www-ninch.cni.org; firstname.lastname@example.org; 202/296-5346; fax 202/872-0886). David L. Green is the Executive Director; their Web page is at http://www-ninch.cni.org/
The purpose of the Digital Library Initiative is to foster research and demonstration projects that promise to increase the usability of globally distributed, networked information resources. It addresses the entire life cycle of digital information: its creation, accessibility, and preservation. Successful applicants will conduct research designed to open new areas of activity in the digital library field, demonstrate tools and methods for providing digitized information to a broad range of users, and explore ways of preserving access to digital information into the future.
The NEH and NSF sent out separate press releases, according to David Green's preliminary posting on the Internet February 23. NEH had only one short paragraph in the posting, plus a reference to its Web page, http://www.neh.gov/pubs/1998/nsf9863/nsf9863.htm, while NSF had two pages.
In its announcement, the NEH invites the community to consider making proposals in a range of areas. It says it "could support the creation of testbeds comprising digitized humanities collections from libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations; the development and testing of metadata for describing and preserving access to digital humanities objects; and other activities that establish a clearer understanding of the ways in which digitized collections can be used for education, research, and public programming in the humanities."
Awards for individual investigators can reach $200,000 a year for 1 to 3 years. Multidisciplinary group research projects can reach $1,200,000 per year, for 1 to 5 years. Letters of intent for the first of two rounds will be due by APRIL 15, 1998, and full proposals by July 15.