2013/2014 Digitization Grants

In response to feedback from the METRO member community, METRO's 2013/2014 digitization grant program has been redesigned to provide choices that will meet the needs of METRO members at various stages of the digitization life cycle. Options are as follows:


Digitization Project Grants

These grants provide funding to offset the technical and personnel costs associated with digitization projects. Approved uses for funds include hardware, software, outsourced services, consulting services, staffing, training, web design, project evaluation, and promotion. Grant applications maybe submitted as solo projects (for up to $12k) or as collaborative projects between two or more METRO member institutions (up to $25k). Please use the following guidelines and application for applying for a project grant.

Digitization Project Grant Information and Guidelines
Digitization Project Grant Application


Digital Conversion MicroGrants

These grants provide funding to digitize collections via the Internet Archive’s Scanning program, and cover digitization costs exclusively. Applicants can apply for up to $5000.

Digital Conversion Grant Information and Guidelines 
Digital Conversion Grants Application 


FAQs and Related Info


What is the primary purpose of the METRO digitization grant program?

  • To support projects to convert regionally significant non-digital materials to digital format
  • To  provide free and open access to materials that have not been digitized or are not currently publicly available
  • To  enhance the quality of the region’s library information resources
  • To build institutional capacity among grantees, in order to prepare them for future larger-scale digitization projects
  • To establish workflows in support of ongoing efforts to digitize and provide access to area library collections 


Who can apply?

Only METRO member institutions located in New York City and Westchester County are eligible to apply. Interested in becoming a member? Please visit our membership page


What types of materials are eligible?

Digitization Project Grants: All types of materials including text, images, maps, newspapers, audio, video, etc.

Digital Conversion Grants: Text and microfilm only


Key Dates for 2013/2014 cycle

3.12.13   Applications available                        
4.10.13 Optional information session (webinar) for potential applicants
7.31.13  Applications due
10.1.13 Award notifications
11.13 Digital Conversion projects commence
11.13 Digitization Project Grants meeting and project launch
2.28.14 Digital Conversion Grants midterm status report due
4.30.14 Digitization Project Grants midterm report and reimbursement requests due
6.30.14 Digital Conversion Grants project completion; final report due
10.31.14  Digitization Project Grants completion; final report and reimbursement request due
11.14 Grants wrap meeting and project showcase


Funding information:

Approximately $70,000 will be allocated by METRO through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program (RBDB)


Selection of Materials for Digitization:

The following should be considered when selecting collections:

  • useful and accurate content
  • rarity and uniqueness
  • potential for enduring value in digital form
  • beneficial to New Yorkers

The following should be considered when selecting materials within collections:

  • materials which highlight collections
  • materials that best represent the community
  • materials that are most requested by patrons
  • materials that are difficult to access in physical form
  • materials that are cataloged or collections that are processed
  • for more information please refer to the guidelines for the specific type of grant (Project vs. Conversion)

For additional guidance on selection of materials please see: NEDCC Preservation Leaflet No. 6.6: Preservation and Selection for Digitization by Janet Gertz (2007).

In previous years evaluators looked favorably on materials that served a broader audience:

  • CUNY Graduate Center, Digital Murray Hill
  • Brooklyn College: Brooklyn Democratic Party Scrapbooks
  • Lehman College: The Bronx Chamber of Commerce Collection
  • Brooklyn Public Library: Fulton Street Trade Card Collection
  • Queens College Library and Queens Public Library: Queens Memory Project

In previous years evaluators looked less favorably on materials that were institution-centric:

  • Meeting minutes
  • Yearbooks
  • School newspapers
  • Campus buildings


How will applications be evaluated?

METRO will determine whether an application is eligible and complete. METRO may contact applicants for additional information about their applications. Ineligible and incomplete applications will be rejected without evaluation.

All eligible and complete applications will be evaluated by a panel composed of members of relevant METRO Advisory Committees, experts from the field, and METRO staff. METRO will make final funding decisions based on the evaluations by reviewers.


Is there a collection of METRO-funded projects?

Yes, you can view many of them here in the digitalMETRO directory.

In addition, please see the METRO Digital Collections page for a list of all previously-funded METRO digitization grant projects.


For additional information:

Please email METRO's Digital Services Manager, Anne Karle-Zenith, or call 212.228.2320 x112 if you have questions or would like to discuss a potential project.