In January 2015, CLIR (the Council of Library and Information Resources) launched Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Enabling New Scholarship through Increasing Access to Unique Materials. This national contest funds local digitization projects which contribute to the national good and conversation. It supports the creation of digital representations of unique content of high scholarly significance that will be discoverable and usable as elements of a coherent national collection. Digitizing Hidden Collections seeks to enhance the emerging digital research environment, providing content that will support new scholarship by opening up unique, previously inaccessible content. The goal is a long term sustainability that ensures that the full wealth of resources held by institutions of cultural memory becomes integrated with the open Web.

In a recent blog post discussing the program, Dr. Christa Williford, CLIR’s Program Officer expounded, “Because of the prominence of scholarship among our values, it is important that staff continually stress to applicants that the purpose of program funds is for the work of digitizing nominated materials of high significance for research and teaching, and not the research or teaching themselves, or developing the technologies or other infrastructure that makes such research and teaching possible.”

CLIR expects to award about $4 million to institutions holding collections of high scholarly value. The application process has two phases. The initial proposal round is open, and anyone interested in applying for a grant through this program must submit an initial proposal by 5:00 pm Eastern time on April 30, 2015. The final proposal round is by invitation only. Only those applicants whose initial proposals have been approved by the program’s review panel will be able to submit a final proposal.

The grants can support outsourcing of digitization of significant collections. This represents a tremendous opportunity for LYRASIS members.

LYRASIS is happy to partner to support your projects by providing:

  • Digitization and Project Management Services – working through our Digitization Collaborative we can digitize a wide range of source materials including print/manuscript/microfilm/photographic materials/audio/video and film and manage the process for you. See more at:
  • Staff Expertise – information on processes and standards that you could include in your proposal
  • Professional Development Opportunities – we offer a wide range of classes and can work with you to provide specific digitization classes to help your staff.