Tips for seeking grants to pay for archive preservation.

SmallTownPapers’ scanning program, ArchiveInABox, works with numerous organizations that seek grants to pay to digitize the community’s newspaper archive and make it online accessible for everyone to explore and enjoy.  Nearly every community has an organization which provides historical preservation type grant funds so check around and see what’s available in your area.

There are a few steps to help you get organized if you’re about to apply for such grants.

  1. Inventory your newspaper archive.
    You’ll want to know how many newspaper editions and how many pages you are working with. If you have bound volumes, how many are there and how many pages do they contain?  If you have microfilm, how many reels?
  2. Gauge the condition of the archive material.
    Whether you’re working with bound volumes, loose printed newspapers or microfilm, take pictures and notes about the condition of the material. Fragile archives will require white glove handling to protect them.
  3. Consider which you’d like to digitize first.
    Most people think of scanning the oldest material first but often, it is a different decade that may be of the most interest to your community.  Baby boomers, for example, enjoy looking back at childhood and early adult years so the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s may be where you want to begin.  If your community has an anniversary such as a centennial celebration coming up, you may want to begin with that decade.
  4. Research your options for digitizing.
    Do your research, check references, pricing, and make sure that your archive is being handled by organizations with experience and expertise in digitizing archives and scanning often delicate newspaper pages.  If you have bound volumes, ensure they are not taken apart for scanning unless you request it.  If you want a bound volume unbound for scanning, you can request it be rebound though there will be additional costs involved.
  5. Where is the content hosted?
    Think about whether you want the content hosted by the scanning company or you want to upload and host it yourself.  Ask what’s involved in hosting.
  6. Digital scan ownership.
    Check and make sure that you retain ownership and control of the digital scans.

With this information in hand, completing your grant application will be much easier.  Once you have the grant, you will be ready to decide where to begin and when you want to get started.

ArchiveInABox has a proven system that makes it as easy as possible – we send you a shipping container, arrange shipping, scanning and return the original material and scans to you.  Contact us today (karen@smalltownpapers.com) for a quote or to get started.

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