Digitization Policy for Grants

Policy defining the use of USHRAB grant funds for the digitization of information resources.

(Revised September 2016)

Grants are available to Utah’s cultural heritage institutions through the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board (USHRAB) for digitization projects for the care, preservation, and access of historical records. Grants are administered by the Utah State Archives which establishes this policy to extend the benefits of limited funding available to the largest audience in a way that efficiently builds useful, enduring, and technically sound digital information resources for the future.

Prior to submitting an application, applicants must consult with the State Archives or a regional digitization center* on the feasibility and scope of the project. All grant projects require a public access component, such as making digital images available online or creating an online finding aid or index.**

Standards for Capture and Formatting
Digitization is the process of converting tangible formats to electronic. Often this is done by scanning, whereby text or photographic documents are scanned. It also includes converting other materials, such as video or audio, into electronic files. It is important to follow specific standards when undertaking a digitization project.

Cultural institutions applying for a USHRAB grant for digitization projects must adhere to the Best Practices for digital formatting and metadata standards outlined by the Utah State Archives to ensure the sustainability of digital collections.

Project types
Access digitization
Most digitization projects undertaken are for access. These projectsoften digitize photographs or documents to create online exhibits or extend public access of collections. Grant applicants for these types of digitization projects must consult with the State Archives or a regional digitization center* on the feasibility and scope of the project. Applicants must include information summarizing the consultation and additional relevant details on accomplishing the project on the application.

Preservation digitization
Fewer digitization projects have a preservation focus. These projects might include formatting historical records that are on obsolete media to electronic mediums, such as the transfer of Grey's Audograph recordings to electronic files. They might also include digitizing unique documents that are in such fragile condition they can no longer be handled.

For preservation projects, grant applicants must consult with the State Archives on the feasibility and scope of the project and provide an assessment of migration plans for the ongoing preservation of the electronic resource.

Whether for access or preservation, the original record must be retained and the institution will provide a statement as part of their application that it will maintain the original record. All digitization projects require a public access component, such as making digital images available online or creating an online finding aid or index.

Born digital or electronic formats
Projects for the care and preservation of electronically-born records are considered preservation, not digitization, projects. An example is the acquisition, care, and preservation of a collection that comes to an institution in electronic formats such as TIF or JPG files. When making an application for these types of projects, the institution should include in its scope of work a migration plan for the ongoing care and sustainability of the collection.

The State Archives should be consulted to assist with developing these projects.

Grant Information
All digitization projects require a letter of agreement from the institution or organization providing digitization services to be submitted with the grant application. This letter of agreement shows that the institution providing digitization services is aware of the necessary standards and deadlines associated with the project. Please see a sample of the letter of agreement online at https://archives.utah.gov/USHRAB/forms.html.

Recommendations and funding decisions regarding specific grant requests will be made independently by the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board, with consideration given to judgments rendered by the State Archives and/or regional digitization centers. Each application will be judged on its merits in competition with the other requests considered in the USHRAB grant round. 


*Regional digitization centers are associated with the following Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) members:  Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan; Marriott Library, University of Utah, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City; Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo; Utah Valley University Digital Archive, Orem; Weber State University Stewart Library Digital Collections, Ogden; and Sherratt Library, Southern Utah University, Cedar City.  Contact information for each regional center is available at the Mountain West Digital Library website at https://mwdl.org/getinvolved/becomePartner.php.

**Contact the State Archives if your institution needs guidance on choosing an organization to host your digital images.

Page Last Updated November 9, 2016.