In order to ensure that research library collections are both accessible to and usable by scholars and the general public, the Foundation funds a broad range of projects at universities, independent research libraries, and organizations that support libraries such as LYRASIS and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).  Since 2008, the Foundation has funded a regranting program, administered by CLIR, for the cataloging of hidden special collections in US institutions.  2014 will be the last year of this program.  From 2015, the hidden collections cataloging program will be replaced by a program, also administered by CLIR, to support the digitization of special collections.  From 2015, the Scholarly Communications program will no longer support cataloging or archival processing.  In addition to the proposed national digitizing competition, current priorities are:

  • Shared catalogs and portals that make cataloging records and digital facsimiles broadly accessible.  The Foundation has recently provided support to the Digital Public Library of America.
  • Projects that employ digitization to enhance global collections in US research libraries.  The Foundation plans to support a number of projects that follow the recommendations of the Forum on Global Resources held at Duke University in 2012. 
  • Initiatives that engage scholars, librarians, and technologists in the development and use of digital primary source collections.  For example, the Foundation has funded the development of the Shared Canvas tools and protocols that facilitate the interoperability of manuscript collections.  The technical development has been guided and informed by a number of scholarly use cases.
  • Grants that enable research libraries to reorganize and restructure in order to better serve scholars and the public in the digital age, including collaborative initiatives among libraries to develop technology infrastructure, standards, or shared services.  The Foundation has supported the 2CUL initiative at Columbia and Cornell University libraries; provided support to the British Library, New York Public Library, Emory University, and the Folger Shakespeare Library to hire staff and create new divisions focused on digital collections and digital scholarship; and is funding the Coherence at Scale initiative, a joint project of CLIR and Vanderbilt University, focused on the coherence and integration of large-scale digital projects. 
  • Fellowship programs that promote innovative development and use of digital resources, and diversity within information science.