Access Granted: Five Ways Crowley Supports Your Digitization Grant Process

Are you walking the metaphorical Barbie aisle of digitization?

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’m a bad shopper. Starting in my early years of stalking the Barbie aisle for what felt like hours when my grandma would generously give me $10 to buy one toy and more recently showing itself after I spent a full year looking for a new car in my budget, purchasing decisions have not been my strong suit and have always included a lot of careful (read: painful) deliberation.

In our industry, grant funding often provides a wonderful opportunity to get financial assistance for important digitization tasks but it also comes with the stress of choosing the right scanning solution and vendor partner that is best for both preservation and the bottom line (does that make it the metaphorical Barbie aisle of the archival world)?

In today’s blog, I’ll aim to alleviate some of that anxiety by highlighting how The Crowley Company (Crowley) can support your digitization and grant process through quality scanners and services and diligent customer service.

Grants? Where?  

The internet is the font of knowledge for finding grant opportunities. Various Federal and private institutes offer grant opportunities to help support cultural heritage and archival preservation efforts and are just a quick Google away. Some keywords that might help you in this search include:

  • Digitization grants for archives
  • Grants for digital archiving
  • Library grants

Most recently, as a part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has received $135 million dollars of emergency funding to assist U.S. cultural institutions – such as museums, libraries, historical sites, archives, educational institutions and more – affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Cultural entities can use these funds for personnel, operations, technology, training, supplies, equipment and other necessities to ensure the vitality of the nation’s cultural sector.[1]

Grant applications for this program are due May 14th. The NEH also offers ongoing grant opportunities with various application dates throughout the year. See their grant listings here.

What did COVID Teach Us? Digitize!

Over the long 12+ months following the first COVID-19 quarantine, Crowley’s team received countless emails and phone calls from institutions telling stories of their urgent and critical need for digitized collections to keep users, researchers and staff connected with vital information safely from their homes. Now, as vaccines roll out and many return to their physical buildings, the need for digital solutions remains strong both as a means of data preservation and as a preventative measure against future crises.

Grants, combined with the supporting digitization knowledge that Crowley can provide, help institutions satisfy this need for digital collections and access.

Crowley and Your Grant Application

From consultations and quotes to statements of work and high-grade digitization scanners and capture services, Crowley is your partner in digitization from the beginning of the grant application process to the outputting of the final images. Here are some ways in which we can help you get that grant:

1. Digitization Consultations: What solution is the best for your collections?

From scanners and scanning services to operator training (or re-training, as the case may be after a year away from your scanner) and more, Crowley’s three-part solution can offer digitization support in many ways, including:

  • Scanning Hardware. No matter what materials make up your collections or whether you intend to use scanners for incoming researchers, back-office records management or FADGI-rated capture, Crowley offers industry-leading scanners for microfilm, large-format and bound media, loose papers and graphic arts and cultural heritage materials (photos, slides, glass plates, negatives, etc.).
  • Digitization Services. When time is of the essence or the volume of a collection dictates outsourcing, a knowledgeable bureau can be the best option to get a project started quickly, executed efficiently and completed to excellence. Crowley’s Digitization Services specialize in high-volume and archival scanning services for microform, loose documents, bound materials, large-format maps and drawings, cultural heritage and graphic arts collections (photos, negatives, slides, daguerreotypes, etc.) and more. Crowley’s services team creates a detailed plan that considers all scanning factors such as media type, fragility, output, timeline and more to tailor the digitization process to the need of the collection and client.
  • Training and Scanner Tune-ups. In some cases, scanner operators have been away from their scanners for over a year due to the pandemic. In-person and virtual training sessions are available from Crowley’s Support Services. Similarly, your scanner may need a little TLC after a period of dormancy; Crowley can provide tune-ups or technical support to ensure scanners and software are working at peak performance when staff get back on-site!

In each area of our business, providing the best solution for your specific need is the goal. In over 40+ years of business, Crowley’s team has seen nearly every material type, volume and digitization challenge. Using our three-division company, knowledgeable team and resolute industry-partnerships, there is no scanning challenge or obstacle we haven’t helped our customers overcome.

If you’re unsure whether to purchase scanning hardware or outsourcing your digitization project, contact our team! Our imaging sales specialists are knowledgeable on all material digitization methods and will advise on the best (and most cost-efficient) method for capture or access.

2. Pre-pricing and Quotes

Once the capture method is determined, your Crowley’s business development managers (representatives) will provide detailed information, formal quotes and statements of work to use in your grant application. Multiple quotes for separate scanners, services or additional line items are commonplace in the grant process and Crowley’s team is happy to provide multiple options to better support your application.

For those that want to add additional proof of concept to a proposal, Crowley’s team can provide sample scans for scanners or scanning services to illustrate potential project results.

3. Constant Communication and Support

While you’re surrounded in the white-hazy glow that is grant writing (or is that just the constant steam from an eternally brewing coffee pot?), your Crowley representative is always a call away to support you with clarifications, answers to any questions or just some verbal encouragement during the application and review process.

4. Digitization Solutions to Ensure Vitality

It’s impossible not to invest in our client’s grant journey once we learn more about your collections and we await the awards process with (nearly) as much anticipation as you do.

Once the grant is rewarded, Crowley will initiate the first tasks on your project timeline. Throughout the life of your project or scanner, Crowley’s team stays in communication to ensure benchmarks and expectations are met for your scanner or services project.

5. Grant Closeout and Reporting

Once your project is complete, The Crowley Company can provide any necessary statistics that may be useful in your grant close out report. Crowley’s services bureau team internally tracks the image quality, budget projections and timeline milestones throughout the life of the project that can be sent to the client for inclusion into their grant reporting. For hardware owners, image counts can be collected from the software to provide efficiency information.

Applying for a Digitization Grant? Let’s Talk!

If you’re unsure of what digitization avenue best suits your institution or need a digitization quote for a grant proposal, give us a call! At Crowley, our knowledgeable team and access to tools and solutions gives us the advantage to create cost-effective scanning plans to fit any need.


Hannah Clawson is The Crowley Company’s Communications Coordinator. After working in the Technical Service department for two years, she is happy to put her technical knowledge and communications degree to good use in another facet of the company. When not traipsing the halls of Crowley, she can be found cruising vintage stores, writing about her favorite bands or at a local rock show.

 

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