Spring 2019. American Indian Studies Research Institute. Week 3.

Photo digitization project on pause for preservation, grant proposals project full steam-ahead!

1.24 – I stopped documenting description of each item to increase productivity because the same information is available already for duplicates.

1.29 – Today I scanned the delicate Kodak film receipts from Oklahoma, which were included with the photos. The paper is very brittle, the pencil marks faded, and every fold about to snap off, but I succeeded with minimal modification. Each has key (file name) for retrieval, but items aren’t marked and I did not create any metadata for the sheet. I only increased contrast to embolden the pencil marks. Finally, I put them into individual plastic sleeves and put all plastic sleeves into a paper envelope.

Another box is full of photos which are rolling up on the sides. Only half as bad as the first series which are almost done flattening under the weight of books, but I still applied the same method so they are currently located with the first series on a table for flattening.

This series had more duplicates in the same package than previous packages, so I was able to begin the process of combining some duplicates. Once all photos are flattened and properly stored, I hope to combine all duplicates from the entire archive of Lesser photos, as well as to preserve the sequential order that a couple of the packages were originally assigned. I also stopped scanning exact duplicates and just marked the # of prints in the # of prints column on the sheet.

2.5 – As I have reached a significant pause in the process of digitizing and archiving the Lesser photos, Cynthia approached me about the need to discover more grant funding for AISRI’s ongoing projects. I hope to learn more about the resources that are available exclusively for Native Americans themselves to apply, but I hadn’t even head of them before today. AISRI faculty is already well-versed in federal grants, so they have asked me to concentrate on a database for philanthropy grants based out of or that can apply to the state of Montana, which is where a lot of AISRI collaborative projects are based. http://www.fundsnetservices.com/searchresult/0/no/11/montana.html

The first day, I managed to secure one good lead from the Charlotte Martin foundation. Cynthia contacted them and already responded that they are interested.

I am very fortunate to be learning and training to seek grants. I have learned how to read sites for guidelines, and that the most important first step is not applying for the grant, but simply initiating friendly contact with the organization, as many of them explicitly prohibit unsolicited applications.

2.7- Today I found another perfect grant opportunity based out of Montana, through the Montana Arts Council. Reading through the guidelines, I have learned how to look for the different categories of grant forms to which organizations must adhere, which seem to be specifically designed by the organizations themselves. For instance, with Montana Arts Council cultural grants, AISRI needs to utilize the form for either “Special Projects” or “Operational Support,” which have their own eligibility and application guidelines. I’m learning that seeking a grant is not just a generalized application to a grantmaker. I’m extremely excited to gain this experience, not only for myself, but for the possible benefits to AISRI and Native American students in Montana, who are all in desperate need of new funding resources.

Also, Professor Riddell just sent a grant opportunity from the Office of Digital Humanities at National Endowment for the Humanities. It’s perfect for us to develop and maintain digital resources, and to pursue their advancement with tools like Optical Character Recognition and user analytics.

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