By Trevor Owens Senior Library Program Officer, IMLS We recently announced the first series of awards addressing the national digital platform priority in the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program. This is both a strategic priority for the agency and part of a new proposal process. You can now read the original preliminary proposals, the full proposal narratives, schedules of completion, and the projects’ digital supplementary forms. The Initial National Digital Platform Projects Below are brief descriptions of each of the four initial national digital platform projects. In each case, we have provided links to the proposal documents for readers to further understand these projects.

  • Fostering a New National Library Network through a Community-Based, Connected Repository System (LG-70-15-0006): The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Stanford University, and DuraSpace will foster a greatly expanded network of open-access, content-hosting "hubs" that will enable discovery and interoperability, as well as the reuse of digital resources by people from this country and around the world. The three partners will engage in a major development of the community-driven open source Hydra project to provide these hubs with a new all-in-one solution, which will also allow countless other institutions to easily join the national digital platform.
  • Museum Hub for Open Content (LG-70-15-0002): ARTstor, in collaboration with the El Paso Museum of Art, the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Staten Island Museum, and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) will create and implement software to enable museums to contribute digital image collections for open public access. The project will lower barriers to museum contributions to the DPLA by producing enhanced metadata tools, intellectual property rights decision support tools, and a direct-to-DPLA publishing capacity.
  • Combining Social Media Storytelling with Web Archives (LG-71-15-0077): Old Dominion University and the Internet Archive will collaborate to develop tools and techniques for integrating "storytelling" social media and web archiving. The partners will use information retrieval techniques to (semi-)automatically generate stories summarizing a collection and mine existing public stories as a basis for librarians, archivists, and curators to create collections about breaking events.
  • Repository Services for Accessible Course Content (LG-72-15-0009): This planning project, led by Tufts University, will bring together experts from disability services, including librarians, IT professionals, advocates, and legal counsel, to develop work plans for shared infrastructure, within which universities can support their students with disabilities. The intention is to create specifications and a business model that will complement existing platforms and services.

Why Access to Proposal Documents? For several reasons, we are excited to be able to openly share documents related to each of these proposals.

  1. Everyone Can Follow Along: These proposals are intended to make a national impact. We like the idea of these documents being out there so that folks from around the country can read along and see where these projects are planning to go.
  2. Working toward Defaulting to Open: IMLS is committed to working toward becoming more open and transparent, and sharing these documents is a step in the right direction to increasingly defaulting towards open.
  3. What’s in a Winning Proposal? This is the first time that we have used a two-step process (a call for 2-page preliminary proposals reviewed by a panel, resulting in the invitation of a subset of those to submit full proposals and a second round of peer review). So, when potential applicants look to apply in future cycles, it will be very useful for them to be able to see documents that succeeded as points of reference.

What Are These Documents?

  • Full Proposal Abstract: A one-page gloss of the proposed project.
  • Full Proposal Narrative: These ten-page documents were created for each of the projects that were invited to submit a full proposal. They lay out the case for why it is needed, for how it will be accomplished, what its outcomes will be, and how it will approach evaluation.
  • Schedule of Completion: A short document laying out the schedule and timeline for the project.
  • Digital Content Supplementary Form: The document that gives applicants the space to answer questions about any digital products they will create (content, software, data sets etc.). Only proposals creating digital content need to fill this form out.
  • Preliminary Proposal: The initial two-page proposals; think of them like the movie trailer for the project or the elevator pitch. These proposals were part of a set of 34 initial proposals submitted to the National Leadership Grants for Libraries priority area.



National Leadership Grants for Libraries