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Preparing academically rich collections for access by scholars and students is challenging, costly and time consuming. Concerns for maintenance, preservation, and access are paramount. Typical of 20th century archival collections, one is likely to encounter deteriorating and brittle documents, photographic prints and negatives, and obsolete formats such as open reel audio tapes, audio cassettes and video tapes. More recent collections may also contain computer media; the proliferation of formats and media types impacts the complexity of the work in providing access, as well as the costs.
Without sizeable resources, it would take years to process these collections fully, especially those rich with audio and visual materials. Taking all of this into consideration, the Archives Research Center (ARC) and Digital Services Unit (DSU) of the AUC Woodruff Library decided to investigate options for grant funding to expedite the processing and digitization of these underutilized archival collections. This essay concerns the pursuit of a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR) grants offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
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