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National Digital Newspaper Program

Division of Preservation and Access

Receipt Deadline January 12, 2017 for Projects Beginning September 2017

Brief Summary

The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between NEH and the Library of Congress to create a national digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1690 and 1963, from all the states and U.S. territories. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and will be freely accessible via the Internet. (See the website, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.) An accompanying national newspaper directory of bibliographic and holdings information on the website directs users to newspaper titles available in all types of formats. During the course of its partnership with NEH, LC will also digitize and contribute to the NDNP database a significant number of newspaper pages drawn from its own collections.

Forty-three states and one territory have joined the NDNP so far. Previous award recipients include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

NEH intends to support projects in all states and U.S. territories. Awards are made to an organization within each U.S. state or territory, which typically collaborates with relevant state partners in this effort. After their initial NDNP awards, state partners are encouraged to seek second and third awards, to produce a total of approximately 300,000 pages of digitized newspapers per state. Awardees may receive support for continued work beyond the third award, but the program gives priority to applications from those states and territories that have not received NDNP funding—as well as applications from states and territories that have received fewer than three awards.

Applications that involve collaboration between previously funded and new projects are also welcome. Such collaborations might involve, for example, arranging with current awardees to manage the creation and delivery of digital files; offering regular and ongoing consultation on managing aspects of the project; or providing formal training for project staff at an onsite institute or workshop.

Program Statistics

In the last five competitions the National Digital Newspaper Program received an average of sixteen applications per year. The program made an average of twelve awards per year, for a funding ratio of 75 percent.

Projects are typically based on statewide collaborations between major repositories of microfilm of historic newspapers and institutions with the technical capacity to launch long-term digitization efforts.  On the one hand, this results in a relatively small number of applications each year. On the other hand, the quality of the applications tends to be very high, so that most applicants have historically received funding.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely year to year, as can the success ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from preservation@neh.gov.

Questions?

Program questions should be directed to NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access at 202-606-8570 or preservation@neh.gov. Technical questions should be directed to the Library of Congress at ndnptech@loc.gov. Technical documentation of the current phase of the program is available at http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/.