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Documentary Heritage Program FAQs

Getting Started, Grants & Awards

Can DHP grant applications be submitted electronically?

DHP applications cannot be submitted electronically. Applications must be mailed to: Documentary Heritage Program, New York State Archives, 9C71 Cultural Education Center, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany, NY 12230. 

We have completed the Prequalification process. Do our partners on the project have to complete the prequalification process as well before we submit the grant proposal?

No. In an application that involves partners, only the lead applicant, the one that is actually signing the application, has to prequalify.

Our institution is a non-profit museum. Does it qualify as a NY Repository under your definition?

In the guidelines a "New York repository” is defined as: “a not-for-profit facility … that is organized to collect, hold, care for, and provide access to historical records.” If your facility collects, holds, cares for, and provides access to historical records your facility would qualify.

I am the county/township historian. Are we eligible to apply for a DHP Grant?

Government agencies, institutions operated by local, state or federal government agencies, and local government archives are not eligible to apply for Documentary Heritage Program Grants. You may be eligible to apply for Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund Grants (LGRMIF), another grant program of the New York State Archives.  Learn more about the LGRMIF program or contact the Grants Administration Unit at (518) 474-6926.

We have a local historical section in our library, are we eligible to apply for a DHP grant?

Eligible applicants include not-for-profit community organizations, archives, libraries, historical societies, and similar institutions within New York State. 

Would digitizing the papers of a professor be an eligible DHP grant project?

No. Digitization is an ineligible project type. DHP grants fund only Documentation and Arrangement & Description projects. A project to arrange and describe a professor’s papers prior to digitization would be eligible.

Our organization does not have a 501-c3 can we apply for a DHP grant?

In order to apply for a DHP grant, an organization must have pre-qualified through the Grants Gateway by March 1, 2016. In order to pre-qualify, an organization must have a 501-c3.

Our organization is for-profit but our archives does not generate income. Can we apply for a DHP Grant?

DHP funding is available only to chartered or incorporated nonprofit archives, libraries, historical societies and museums and other nonprofit institutions in New York State which operate historical records programs. 

Can the New York State Archives confirm our prequalification status?

The prequalification process is not administered by The New York State Archives. To confirm pre-qualification status communicate with the Grants Gateway office www.grantsreform.ny.gov

Can our organization apply for DHP grants in consecutive years?

Yes. Organizations can apply for grants in consecutive years. 

Grants & Awards, Application Guidelines

Can an Arrangement & Description grant support work on more than one collection?

Yes, Arrangement & Description projects can focus on one collection or on multiple collections.

What is a MARC record? Will we need to budget for training, software or equipment to create MARC records?

A MARC (machine-readable) record is a catalog record which is designed to make information about a specific collection accessible online or via a repository's networked catalog. The record should describe the whole collection, not individual items in the collection. The DHP office can supply you with a sample MARC record. MARC records are not difficult for an archivist to write and do not require special software or equipment. Your project archivist should easily be able to create them. 

Can I use DHP funds to digitize formats such as photographs or oral history audiotapes?

DHP does not support projects to create digital records in any media. However, Documentation and Arrangement & Description projects that involve existing digital materials are eligible for funding.

As yet my organization has not arranged & described any of our collections. What should we do about providing the sample finding aid which the DHP grant guidelines require?

You may submit a sample finding aid created by the Project Archivist you intend to hire. If you have not selected a Project Archivist at the time of application, you will be required to submit his/her resume and sample finding aid to DHP for review if your application is funded.

Can Arrangement & Description projects include re-housing of records?

Yes. In fact, this is an excellent time to re-house the collections you are processing.

Does DHP fund the arrangement & description of business collections?

If the collection is held by an eligible repository, then the Arrangement & Description project would be eligible for funding. 

Does DHP fund the arrangement & description of artificial collections?

Yes, an artificial collection would be eligible for funding. However the absence of provenance may decrease the archival value of the collection and merit of the grant application.

Are there a specific archival standards and practices a project needs to follow?

Arrangement & Description projects should follow best practices and archival standards. Such best practices and standards include: the finding aid template DHP makes available, HDI, MPLP, MARC, EAD, DACS, etc.

DHP recommends no specific standards for Documentation projects, but we do make available several publications on Documentation (specifically #s 67, 69, 73-75, and 79) that outline best practices.

If organizations are collaborating on a grant project, do we need to send mission statements for all collaborating organizations?

Yes. The grant review panel will need to verify that the proposed project is compatible with the missions of all collaborating organizations. 

Can digital records be included in an Arrangement & Description project?

Applications that include historically valuable born-digital materials are encouraged. However, if the digital records are surrogates (digital copies of original photographs, for instance), they may not be included.

Does the seven-page maximum for the Application Narrative include attachments?

No. Attachments such as letters of justification, job descriptions, resumes, and sample pages from current finding aids are not counted in the seven-page maximum.

Will DHP fund public outreach efforts to identify records holders and raise awareness of a documentation project?

Discovering material not in institutional possession and ultimately insuring that it is collected by an appropriate repository is the primary goal of a Documentation project.  An event designed to raise awareness about the project and interest in participating would advance project goals and be eligible for funding.  

Can our organization apply for a DHP Grant to arrange and describe records not housed in a historical records repository?

Arrangement & Description projects are eligible for funding only if the  records to be processed are, or will be housed in an appropriate New York repository

Can an individual apply for a DHP Grant?

DHP funding is available only to chartered or incorporated nonprofit archives, libraries, historical societies and museums and other nonprofit institutions in New York State which operate historical records programs. 

Can DHP Grants be used to create displays for archival records?

The DHP supports two types of projects: documentation projects and arrangement and description projects.  It does not support the development of displays or exhibits of historical records.  

Grants & Awards, Project Narrative

Do I need to identify project personnel in my application?

You must identify your Project Director and his/her resume must be included in your application. Other project personnel should be identified in your application and their resumes should be included. If these other project personnel positions have not been filled at the time of application, you are required to include a job description that specifies role, responsibilities, and qualifications for each position. If your application is approved you must submit all outstanding resumes to the DHP office for review.

Does our project have to address one of DHP's Level One Topical Priorities?

No. The records described in your grant application should address topics which are of significance to the history of New York and which focus on the people, groups, events, or changing conditions that are under-represented in New York’s historical record. However, if the application addresses one of the Topical Priorities in Level One (economic change, military affairs, population groups, or social reform and activism) it may receive up to five extra points during grant review.

Does the New York State Archives (NYSA) provide a list of archival consultants who could work on DHP grant projects?

NYSA has compiled a list of Archival Consultants to aid grant applicants searching for individuals who provide archival consulting services. Inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement by NYSA.

There is no one in our organization with archives experience. Our collections are disorganized and without finding aids. We plan to apply for an Arrangement & Description grant. Must we identify a Project Archivist before we submit an application?

Except for the Project Manager, it is not required that you have Key Personnel in place at the time of application. Your application will be stronger if you identify an archivist for your project and include the required attachments (a job description for the Project Archivist, and his/her resume and sample finding aid) in your application.

I am writing a Documentation project grant to increase the holdings of our archives. I want to skip the planning phase of the application since we did that with an earlier DHP grant. Can I just write a grant for the surveying and collecting phase?

In your case, it would be acceptable to bypass Phase 1(Planning) of the Documentation process and prepare an application requesting funds for Phase 2 (Surveying) and Phase 3 (Collecting). In your Project Narrative, you should include a brief description of the planning you have done, making sure to address the activities listed under Phase 1 on page 8-9 of the guidelines.

Grants & Awards, Budget and Cost Sharing

Is a consultant's travel an additional expense, or is it included in the consultant’s daily rate?

The consultant's travel between project-related sites is an additional expense and should be included and justified on the Travel Expenditure Form (Code 46).

Can we apply the time we spend writing our DHP grant application to our Cost Sharing contribution?

No.

Can an existing employee work on my grant project?

The answer to this question depends on whether the employee is paid with grant funds or by your institution.

  • Grant funds may not be used to cover the regular salary of an existing employee to work on the grant project during his/her regular working hours unless the applicant organization can demonstrate that the employee’s regular work assignment during those 15 hours will be covered by a replacement and that the replacement will be paid with non-grant funds. For example, Nayla is a full-time employee at the historical society. Fifteen hours out of her regular 35-hour work week will be spent working on the grant project. She will be paid for those 15 hours with grant funds. The historical society will hire Stella, a temporary worker, for 15 hours per week to do the normal work Nayla would have been doing had she not been working on the grant project. Stella will be paid for those 15 hours with non-grant funds.
  • Grant funds may be used to cover additional work hours of existing staff provided that they do grant project-related work during those hours For example, Luca’s work schedule at the historical society is 15 hours per week. Ten hours are added to his work week to do grant project-related work. He is paid for those extra 10 hours with grant funds.
  • Regular staff salaries and benefits can count towards Cost Sharing for the portion of work that relates directly to the grant project. For example, Emma is an employee of the historical society. Some of the work she does, taking calls, responding to email, scheduling meetings, and doing word processing and data entry is grant project-related. A portion of her salary and benefits paid by the historical society may count towards their cost sharing.

Can my project advisory committee's time be allocated to our Cost Sharing?

Yes. Your Advisory Committee’s time may be allocated to your cost sharing as long as committee members volunteer their time and their activities are directly related to the project. Advisory Committee members' mileage to attend meetings, if paid by the members, may also be used as part of the cost share. 

Is a donation to our institution that is not designated for a specific function or project, but subsequently would be allocated to the proposed project, be considered part of our Cost Sharing contribution?

Yes.

If my organization's trustees work on the project, can their time be allocated as part of our Cost Sharing?

Yes. The time that your organization’s trustees donate to the project can be considered part of your Cost Sharing contribution. 

Is the percentage of Cost Sharing required for a project calculated using the total cost of the project or using only the requested grant amount?

The percentage of Cost Sharing (whether 20% for Documentation projects or 50% for Arrangement & Description projects) is calculated using the total cost of the project. For example, if you are applying for an Arrangement & Description project and your total project costs are $15,000, your grant request would be $7,500 and your cost sharing requirement would be $7,500.

Can funds from another grant be allocated as part of our Cost Sharing?

No.

Can we use our Indirect Cost as part of our cost sharing contribution?

Applicants may use the indirect cost calculated on their cost share amount and include that as part of their cost sharing contribution. If the applicant claims a rate higher than the current rate, they must provide justification for the higher rate. The higher rate may only be applied to the applicant’s cost sharing contribution, not to the requested grant amount