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A Change in our Implementation Grant Guidelines

December 15, 2014 | By Perry Collins

Last week we published the 2015 guidelines for ODH’s Digital Humanities Implementation Grants (DHIG) program, now in its fourth year. Designed as a follow-up to our Start-Up Grants program, in the last three years DHIG has funded 20 projects that are scaling up previous work.

This year, we’ve made just one substantive addition to the guidelines: a special encouragement for digital humanities projects that were already implemented in the past but now need to make major changes in order to become even more useful to the field. This is an effort to leverage prior investments and promote sustainability of digital projects by asking applicants to re-envision past work in innovative and ambitious ways.

This new call responds directly to feedback we’ve received recently from the field. Increasingly, we’ve heard a need expressed for funding not only to add new humanities content to digital projects (something other NEH programs such as Scholarly Editions and Translations and Humanities Collections and Reference Resources can already accommodate), but also to overhaul their design and functionality. While we will also continue funding implementation efforts for projects that have only recently completed a prototyping or start-up phase, we hope this change will help make the DHIG program even more effective.

Here’s the language from the DHIG guidelines:

To continue engaging audiences in excellent, scholarship-driven humanities content, researchers must not only maintain websites and other project components; they must also from time to time substantively change their projects’ design, technical architecture, and dissemination and preservation strategies. ODH accordingly encourages proposals that include one or more of the following components:

  • the testing and evaluation of an established project with target audiences to determine needs and priorities;
  • the redesign of the project’s interface to align with current web design standards, including those that address accessibility for audiences with disabilities;
  • the integration of widely used digital tools (for example, tools used for annotation or visualization) into an established project;
  • the redevelopment of underlying technologies or standards to prepare project data for incorporation into a federated or discipline-specific platform such as the Digital Public Library of America, Open Context, etc.; and
  • the creation or revision of a plan to manage an established project’s data—including digitized images, scholarly images, scholarly essays, annotations, social media, etc.—in the long term. The plan should include a strategy for archiving and sharing data, even if the project is no longer being updated regularly.