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National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP)

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, Tribes, and
IHEs to Digitally Preserve Historic Publications

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Funding Source:

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) - Division of Preservation and Access

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

01/11/18 Receipt; 5:00 PM ET Recommended Submission


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribal governments, and IHEs to contribute to a nation-wide digital resource of historical newspapers printed from 1690 to 1963. Applicants are advised to create or verify the required registrations by December 14 and December 28.

The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between NEH and the Library of Congress. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and will be freely accessible via the Internet. (See the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers website.) 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-five states and one territory have joined the NDNP so far. Previous award recipients include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, 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. NDNP has supported such collaborations between the following partners: Arkansas and Mississippi; Florida and Puerto Rico; Louisiana and Mississippi; Minnesota and Iowa; Minnesota and North Dakota; Minnesota and South Dakota; Montana and Idaho; Texas and New Mexico; Texas and Oklahoma; and Virginia and West Virginia.

Over a period of two years, successful applicants will select newspapers—published in their state or territory between 1690 and 1963—and convert approximately 100,000 pages into digital files (preferably from microfilm), according to the technical guidelines (PDF) outlined by the Library of Congress. Applicants may select only those titles that are confirmed to be in the public domain. For newspapers published after 1922, only those published without copyright or for which the copyright was not registered or renewed by 1963—in other words, only those considered to be in the public domain—are eligible for selection. Please note that awardees wishing to select titles for digitization that were published after 1922 must sign a cooperative agreement including a clause by which the awardee will indemnify the Library of Congress and NEH.

Applicants may select titles published in any language with a valid ISO 639-2 language code. Newspapers with valid language codes will be included in the searchable database maintained at the Library of Congress. Search engine support may vary by language, as detailed in the Library of Congress technical guidelines.

NDNP builds on the foundation established by an earlier NEH initiative conducted from 1982 to 2011: the United States Newspaper Program (USNP). The USNP was a cooperative national effort to locate, catalog, and preserve on microfilm American newspapers published from the eighteenth century to the present. Projects in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands collaborated to provide bibliographic control to widely scattered newspapers and preserved on microfilm (to consistent national standards) selected titles from this vulnerable corpus. LC provided technical assistance for USNP throughout its existence.

The cooperative agreement will take the form of a partnership between the award recipients and NEH, with technical support provided by the Library of Congress. NEH will consult with recipients on the final selection of titles, production milestones, and the evaluation of the technical specifications for the program. LC staff will verify that the digital files comply with the technical specifications for the program, before they are incorporated into the NDNP database. The cooperative agreement will set forth the terms and conditions between NEH and the award recipients. These include but are not limited to an approved plan of work for:

-Selecting newspaper titles to be digitized, including the technical analysis of available microfilm for optimal scanning;

-Evaluating and documenting copyright status for any material published after 1922 (only material published without copyright or with a copyright that was not registered or renewed before 1964—in other words, material considered to be in the public domain—is eligible for selection);

-Submitting a brief description (less than 500 words) of the historical significance of each title selected for digitization;

-Digitally converting page images—primarily from microfilm—into several formats, preparing optical character recognition (OCR) files for the images, and creating relevant metadata and documentation;

-Delivering content files and metadata to LC in conformity with the specified technical guidelines;

-Meeting the established timetable for sample files and all remaining digital files;

-Updating bibliographic records of digitized titles in WorldCat to ensure CONSER authentication and conformity with current cataloging practices for US newspapers;

-Identifying free-access, online newspapers in the state or territory (both historical and currently published) that have been digitized from or issued as electronic editions of print newspapers for inclusion in the Chronicling America newspaper directory; and

-Where necessary, repurposing existing digitized newspaper images in consultation with LC staff, including grayscale conversion, upgrading metadata, creation of derivatives, and other technical work intended to comply with NDNP technical standards.

In addition, the cooperative agreement for awardees planning to digitize files published after 1922 will include language by which the awardee will indemnify the Library of Congress and NEH.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177357

Estimated Size of Grant:

NEH expects to award cooperative agreements of up to $325,000 each.

Term of Contract:

Projects may begin September 2018.

Cooperative agreements will cover a two-year period.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

U.S. nonprofit organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) status are eligible, as are state and local governmental agencies and federally recognized Native American tribal governments. Individuals are not eligible to apply.

NEH generally does not make awards to other federal entities or to applicants whose projects are so closely intertwined with a federal entity that the project takes on characteristics of the federal entity’s own authorized activities. This does not preclude applicants from using grant funds from, or sites and materials controlled by, other federal entities in their projects.

The NDNP will not support
-The digitization of serials that do not fit the definition of “newspaper” used by the Library of Congress (“A newspaper is a serial publication, appearing usually at least weekly, which serves as a primary source of information on current events of general interest.”), and of serials that are not described as newspapers in associated CONSER (Cooperative Online Serials) bibliographic records;
-The digitization of newspapers that fall outside the 1690-1963 chronological span;
-The digitization of newspapers that are not confirmed to be in the public domain; or
-The costs of repurposing the newspapers created through NDNP, including enhancement of the files, creation of an interface, and preservation of the digital assets.

NDNP grants will also not support
-Projects that fall outside of the humanities (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies).

Pre-Application Information:

Successful applicants will receive an award in outright funds, federal matching funds, or a combination of the two, depending on the applicant’s preference and the availability of NEH funds.

Although cost sharing is not required, this program is rarely able to support the full costs of projects approved for funding. In most cases, awards in this program cover no more than 80 percent of project costs.

To be able to submit an application, applicants must have registered with and must have an updated Entity record in the System for Award Management (SAM).

All applications to this program must be submitted via NEH strongly recommends that you complete or verify your registration at least two weeks before the application deadline, since it takes time to process your registration.

NEH strongly recommends that applicant organizations update (or, if necessary, create) their SAM Entity records at least four weeks before the application deadline.

Draft Proposals (optional): Program staff recommends that draft proposals be submitted at least six weeks before the deadline. Time constraints may prevent staff from reviewing draft proposals submitted after that date.

Applications must be received by on or before January 11, 2018. NEH strongly suggests that you submit your application no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. Doing so will leave you time to contact the help desk for support, should you encounter a technical problem of some kind.


-November 30, 2017: Submit draft application by this date (optional)

-December 14, 2017: Create or verify your institution’s Entity record at the System for Award Management by this date

-December 28, 2017: Register your institution (or verify its registration) with by this date

-Before the January 11, 2018 deadline: Contact Division of Preservation and Access program officers with questions and for advice (optional)

-January 11, 2018: Submit application through by this date

-April 2018: peer review panel takes place

-July 2018: meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions

-August 2018: applicants are notified of the funding decisions

-September 2018: institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail

-September 2018: successful applicants begin work on their projects

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

National Digital Newspaper Program Division of Preservation and Access
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506


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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)