Digitization Grant Program
The Atla Digitization Grant program supports Atla’s member institutions in their efforts to digitize and describe their special collections and archives for wider access and use. By facilitating digitization of its members’ unique and significant collections in religion and theology, Atla serves its Organizational Ends of promoting access to quality academic and professional resources as well as providing librarians and information professionals opportunities to develop their technical and digital skills.
To be eligible for a digitization grant, an institution or library must be a current Atla Institutional Member or Affiliate Candidate Member. Only one application per institution or library for a given grant cycle will be accepted for consideration.
What type of materials, collections, and projects are eligible for digitization under this grant program:
- Materials proposed to be digitized must be owned and held by the applicant organization.
- Original source materials of scholarly, historical, and cultural significance that are relevant to the study, teaching, and learning of some area of theology, religion, or other belief system.
- Digitization of reproductions is not allowed unless the originals no longer exist.
- Materials proposed to be digitized must not already be available elsewhere online.
- Materials must fit the Collection Policy of the Atla Digital Library. Examples include photographs, maps, letters, diaries, postcards, manuscripts, scrapbooks, photographic negatives, musical scores, and drawings.
- NOTE – this program is not intended for use to digitize full issues or runs of newspapers.
- Priority will be given to projects that propose digitization of collections that aid in uncovering histories of underrepresented or racialized communities or histories of individuals who have experienced marginalization.
Grant Categories & Allowable Uses of Grant Funds
Grants are available to support both new and continuing digitization projects. The amount funded is dependent upon the stated purpose and needs of the applicant.
- New digitization project – up to $5,000 may be requested in applications to start a new digitization project meeting the collection and project eligibility criteria listed above.
- Continuing digitization or project completion grant – up to $3,000 may be requested in applications to continue or complete an ongoing digitization project that meets the collection and project eligibility criteria listed above.
What grant funds may and may not be used for:
- Grant funds may be used for:
- Hiring or contracting with personnel whose primary role is digitization.
- Purchase of equipment, supplies, and software.
- Digitization equipment rental.
- Training of staff on digitization and/or metadata creation.
- Outsourcing of digitization and/or metadata creation.
- Grant funds may not be used for:
- Expenses incurred before the grant period starts.
- Creation, acquisition or purchase of new resources or materials.
- Day-to-day operations and maintenance.
- Existing staff salaries and operating costs, including indirect costs, such as rent, telephone, or other normal operating expenses.
- Expenses for training or for staff travel to professional meetings, seminars, and workshops that are not essential to achieve project goals.
Access to Digitized Materials
After the project funded by the grant is completed, the funded organization must either (1) permit the metadata to be harvested from the organization’s own or third-party hosting platform for display in the Atla Digital Library or (2) subscribe to hosting through the Atla Digital Library and provide the files and metadata to Atla for display through the Atla Digital Library. For those funded organizations who opt to host through the Atla Digital Library, the annual participation fee will be waived for the first year of hosting but the funded organization will be responsible for the first year’s annual storage fee.
For all projects funded by this program, metadata must be created that is in compliance with the Atla Digital Library Metadata Guidelines & Best Practices.
Copyright & Licensing
- Materials proposed to be digitized must be in the public domain or the rights owned by or assigned to the institution or library to permit digitization, display, and sharing for downstream uses.
- Digitization of materials in the public domain does not create a new copyright held by either Atla or the institution receiving grant funds and should not be held out as being subject to copyright.
- Copyright in digitized materials whose print components are in copyright will be held by the copyright owner of the print components unless otherwise specified by agreement with the original copyright holder.
- Final digitized materials must be openly available to all on the web. An appropriate and accurate rights statement (e.g., RightsStatements.org or Creative Commons) should be included in the metadata of each digitized item.
- Organizations receiving funding through this program must not claim additional rights or impose additional access fees or restrictions to the digital files created through the project beyond those already required by law or existing agreements.
- Metadata for all digitized items must be made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Universal Public Domain Dedication (CC0 1.0)
Disbursement of Grant Funds
Grant funds will be disbursed as follows:
- Funds will be disbursed to the funded institution by check or ACH (electronic) payment.
- Institutions must supply Atla with a completed W-9 form, or W-8 form if a non-US institution, before disbursement can be made.
- Funds will be disbursed in a single payment by April 15.
- Note – failure to complete the project as proposed by the deadline for deliverables will require the return of awarded funds.
How to Apply
Please review this document to preview the application questions and learn more about what content should be included in the application form. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review this document prior to completing the application form.
Additionally, prospective applicants may wish to review the successful applications of those institutions awarded grants during the 2021-2022 grant cycle.
Any institution, particularly those who are new to digitization projects, are invited to request a consultation appointment with the Atla Digital Initiatives Librarian if they have questions about how to properly scope their potential project and complete their application. Contact us if you wish to request this consultation.
To apply, complete the application form with supporting documents uploaded as required. Supporting documents include the budget spreadsheet, inventory spreadsheet, and two letters of support as follows:
- Letter of reference from a previous user of the materials that describe the importance, significance, and/or uniqueness of the subject matter and the potential for reuse by multiple audiences.
- Letter of support from an institutional administrator.
Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. CST on February 17, 2023.
All applicants will be notified of their status by March 15, 2023.
Review of Applications
Applications will be reviewed by the Atla Scholarly Communication and Digital Initiatives Committee for their overall quality and strength and how well the proposed project meets the requirements of the grant. The committee will evaluate applications using the following review criteria:
- Clarity of proposal in defining realistic and achievable goals, including attention to all technical steps necessary to successfully complete the project.
- Expressed value of the collection to Atla members and related communities to support the study, teaching, and/or research of religion and theology.
- Articulation of a thoughtful and realistic budget and digitization plan.
- Prioritization of uncovering histories of underrepresented or racialized communities or histories of individuals who have experienced marginalization.
- Likelihood of building capacity for a sustained digitization program at the applicant’s institution.
Expectations of Awardees
- Submission of an interim report by December 1, 2023. This report should include the following:
- A summary of the project.
- Written narrative of work done during this period (or a summary of the progress that has been made up to this point) including:
- Estimated % of project that is completed
- Number of items digitized, number of metadata records created, and number of files.
- Summary of expenses (or updated budget detailing any incurred expenses during this period).
- Assessment of whether the project is on track to be completed by the end of the grant period, and if not, why and what is the estimated end date.
- Completion of all digitization and description work as detailed in the application by June 1, 2024. Failure to complete the project as proposed and awarded will require return of awarded funds.
- Completion of steps necessary for metadata harvesting or digital collection hosting by the Atla Digital Library by July 1, 2024.
- Submission of a final report by July 1, 2024. The final report must include the following:
- Summary of project activities and accomplishments, including but not limited to the following:
- Inventory of what was digitized.
- Narrative of self-assessment about how the project met your intended objectives.
- Evaluation of the project’s impact.
- Discussion of how accomplishments will be built upon going forward.
- Final report of project expenses.
- Summary of project activities and accomplishments, including but not limited to the following:
- Presentation on the project at Atla Annual 2025.