2015/2016 Digitization Grants

Based on the number of competitive applications submitted by METRO members in response to last year's call for proposals, METRO's 2015/2016 digitization grant program will continue to provide grant options designed to meet the needs of institutions at various stages of the digitization life cycle. Types of grants available are as follows:

1. 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 may be 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 (pdf)

Digitization Project Grant Application (pdf)
Digitization Project Grant Application (doc)

2. 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 $5,000.

Digital Conversion Grant Information and Guidelines (pdf)

Digital Conversion Grant Application (pdf)
Digital Conversion Grant Application (doc)


Approximately $75,000 will be allocated by METRO through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program (RBDB).


03.11.15 Applications available
04.16.15 Optional information session (webinar) for potential applicants (postponed from 4/9)
07.01.15 Membership deadline
07.30.15 Applications due
10.01.15 Award notifications
11.15 Digital Conversion projects commence
11.15 Digitization Project Grants commence
02.29.16 Digital Conversion Grants midterm status report due
04.28.16 Digitization Project Grants midterm report and reimbursement request due
06.30.16 Digital Conversion Grants project completion; final report due
10.31.16 Digitization Project Grants completion; final report and reimbursement request due


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.

Please note: the process of becoming a METRO member can take several weeks. All new members applying for grant funding must have their membership finalized (and payment processed) no later than July 1, 2015.

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
  • To encourage projects that embody METRO's funding priorities for this year (see below)

What are METRO's funding priorities for 2015?

While METRO will consider all complete and eligible applications, METRO is particularly interested in projects that demonstrate a strong commitment of openness and sharing. Examples include: 

What types of materials are eligible?

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

Digital Conversion Grants: Bound text and microfilm only

Which selection criteria should be used?

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

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

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. 

Are there sample applications available for previously funded projects?

Yes, please see below for sample proposals (please note financial information and personal names/info have been removed from these versions):

Is there a collection of METRO-funded projects?

Yes, please see the METRO Digitization Grants program page for a list of all previously-funded METRO digitization grant projects.

In addition, you can view many of them in the digitalMETRO directory.

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.