The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 22, Number 2

Sources of Funding for Digital Imaging Projects

by Steve Smith
AMIGOS Imaging Service Coordinator

Originally published in the Fall 1998 issue of �Que Pasa? Reprinted with permission.

Last fall in this column I addressed the issue of grant funding for digital imaging projects. As much has happened over the past year, I thought it would be worthwhile to re-visit prospective sources of funding for digital imaging projects.

The National Endowment for the Humanities, through its Division of Preservation and Access, continues to be a strong supporter of library and digital imaging research and demonstration projects. With its most recent awards (announced in April 1998), the Division of Preservation and Access has also funded projects with digital imaging components under its Special Collections and Archives category. Currently, however, the NEH Division of Preservation and Access will not fund imaging projects with the objective of using digital technologies for preserving paper- or film-based collections. The next application deadline is July 1, 1999 for projects beginning in April 2000.

The Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance program (TIIAP) of the Department of Commerce provides funding for projects that aim to enrich communities by providing broad access to arts, science, and cultural resources, and the delivery of on-line informational, educational, and cultural services from public libraries, museums and other cultural institutions. TIIAP will not provide funding for projects whose primary focus is the creation of databases or information resources by converting paper-based information, yet many projects funded by TIIAP have included significant imaging components.

The National Science Foundation has broadened its Digital Libraries Initiative, which is cosponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Library of Medicine, the Library of Congress, NASA, and the NEH. The Digital Libraries Initiative--Phase 2 offers funding for a variety of activities relating to digital imaging. The next application deadline is May 17, 1999.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has implemented a National Leadership Grants program. The first awards in this new program were announced on September 28, 1998 for proposals received in April of this year. Guidelines for FY1999 are under development, but one of the four categories for eligible projects was preservation or digitization of library materials.

A hybrid of federal agency and for-profit corporation, The Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition (NDLC) funds the creation of digital collections of primary resources for inclusion in LC's American Memory virtual collection. Now entering its third round, the NDLC awarded a total of nearly $1.2 million to seventeen institutions around the country (including the University of Texas at Austin). The principle criteria for evaluation are the significance of the content relating to U.S. history and its interest to students and general public, the availability and usability of finding aids, and viability of plan of work. Awards are a maximum of $75,000 for single institutions, and $150,000 for consortia. Applications are due November 2, 1998.

Finally, private foundations are definitely worth a look. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for example, has been funding digital imaging quite actively. Other private foundations, especially those with a local or regional focus, should also be investigated.

Possible Grant Sources for Digital Imaging

National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Preservation and Access
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20506

Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance (TIIAP)
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave. NW, Room 4092
Washington, DC 20230

Digital Libraries Initiative
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
(The announcement for the Digital Libraries Initiative--Phase 2 can be found at

Institute of Museum and Library Services
Office of Library Services
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Room 802
Washington, DC 20506

Library of Congress/Ameritech
National Digital Library Competition

Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-1340

The Andrew Mellon Foundation
140 East 62nd Street
New York, NY 10021

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