The Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities. Thousands of libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations across the country maintain important collections of books and manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings and moving images, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, art and material culture, and digital objects. This program strengthens efforts to extend the life of such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology. Awards are also made to create various reference resources that facilitate use of cultural materials, from works that provide basic information quickly to tools that synthesize and codify knowledge of a subject for in-depth investigation.
Proposed projects may address the holdings or activities of a single institution or may involve collaboration between institutions. However, even in the case of single-institution projects, working with specialists in other offices or departments or colleagues in other institutions often helps ensure that proposed activities are achievable and will have maximum impact for the humanities. Collaboration can be crucial in providing the appropriate mix of humanities content and methodological expertise and can help broaden the scope of, and audiences for, proposed collections or reference resources.