Louisiana Heritage Digitization Award

Overview of the Award

The purpose of the Louisiana Heritage Digitization Award is to share digitization equipment and expertise with small, community-oriented libraries, archives, and museums across Louisiana. Many cultural heritage institutions hold significant historical materials but lack the technical resources and staffing to digitize their collections. The award provides those technical resources and staff time, and hosts the resulting digital collections on the Louisiana Digital Library (LDL). 

The award is open to any Louisiana heritage institution--public library, museum, historical society, etc.--whose proposed collections fit the eligibility requirements. The award prioritizes institutions and collections that represent Louisiana’s diverse population and geography, and that serve communities that have been historically underrepresented in cultural heritage collections. Institutions do not need to have previous experience digitizing archival materials.

Successful applicants will be able to choose between two options: (1) host a Mobile Digitization Lab team, or (2) send an institutional representative to Baton Rouge for up to a week to work in the Digitization Lab at LSU Libraries. 

Please find the online application form here.

Award Description

Award applicants choose between two options: (1) Host a Mobile Digitization Lab; or (2) Visit LSU Libraries’ Open Digitization Lab.

Hosting a Mobile Digitization Lab

With this option, the LSU Libraries’ Mobile Digitization Lab team will bring digitization equipment to the awardee institution and spend up to one week providing digitization services. The awardee will receive a copy of all digital files, a digital collection in the LDL, and, if applicable, digitization training to aid in future independent projects. The digitization work will be performed by trained faculty and staff in LSU Libraries’ Digital Programs and Services Department. 

In most cases, two professionals from the Mobile Digitization Lab team will set up equipment Monday morning of the chosen week and will spend 8 hours each day digitizing materials, including a one-hour break. The Mobile Digitization Lab team will work until all materials have been digitized or 5 p.m. Friday, whichever should occur first. The Mobile Digitization Lab team will try to accommodate reasonable variations on this schedule due to awardee repository needs. We will ask semi-finalists for this award to host a site visit before the final awardee is chosen; site visits allow the digitization team to evaluate the affordances of the institution’s space.  

Visiting the Open Digitization Lab

With this option, members of the awardee institution will take advantage of LSU Libraries’ Open Digitization Lab program, in which the library shares in-house digitization equipment and expertise. The Open Digitization Lab team will train visitors on the use of digitization equipment and will assist in the digitization of material. 

Awardees are invited to use LSU Libraries’ equipment between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30p.m. for up to one week. Expenses up to $1,000 will be reimbursed to offset the cost of travel, lodging, and meals during the week. The awardee will receive a copy of all digital files, a digital collection in the LDL, and, if applicable, digitization training to aid in future independent projects. 

Eligibility Requirements

Any cultural heritage institution located within the state of Louisiana may be considered for the award. Cultural heritage institutions, for the purposes of this award, are defined as organizations that work to preserve cultural heritage materials. Examples include public libraries, museums, historical societies, community archives, and religious archives. We will prioritize institutions that hold historically significant collections, and that lack digitization resources. At this time, privately held collections are not eligible for this award.

Collections Eligibility and Preference

Eligible collections will meet the following qualifications:

  • Materials must be in the public domain or have permission granted to digitize and make publicly available. The contributing institution assumes all responsibility for securing permissions.
  • Only permanent collections residing at an institution may be included. Privately owned collections or collections that are on loan from another institution are not eligible. 
  • Selected collections must be able to be completed within the designated week-long award timeframe, or an estimated 80 hours of digitization work (2 staff members working 40 hours each).

Collections that meet the following qualifications will be preferred: 

  • Collections that represent a portion of Louisiana’s history or population not yet represented in the Louisiana Digital Library
  • Collections that represent the state’s racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity. 
  • Applicants who are able to assist with the description of the material will be preferred. 

Additional Notes

  • It is not necessary to completely digitize a collection; a project may consist of partial digitization of collections.
  • Materials may include, but are not limited to, photographs, letters, manuscripts, postcards, books, periodicals, and maps. In general, photographic and paper-based (bound or unbound) materials are easiest to accommodate. 
  • We are unable to digitize microfilm or microfiche. 
  • We are happy to talk about specifics. If you have questions and/or want to share early thoughts, let us know! 

Estimating Digitization Timeframes

Estimating the amount of material that can be digitized in a week is somewhat difficult. Based on past projects, the Mobile Digitization Lab team expects to be able to digitize upward of 3,000 scans in the course of the week. The exact number will vary based on size, type, and condition of material. This estimate is offered to help guide applicants in scoping projects. We are happy to answer questions and assist applicants in estimating timeframes.

Award Cycles

The Louisiana Heritage Digitization Award is offered annually, and we are accepting applications on a rolling basis. We work with awardee institutions to schedule the digitization project, and the bulk of the work usually occurs in the summer.

About the LDL

The Louisiana Digital Library (LDL) is an online resource that opens the digital cultural heritage of Louisiana to users around the world. Currently the LDL includes images, newspapers, oral histories, books, and manuscripts from Louisiana archives, academic libraries, public libraries, and museums. The LDL provides a central platform for the presentation of unique historical materials held by institutions across the state, allowing administrators at participating institutions to maintain control over their own collections. This framework provides institutional autonomy while enabling state-wide collaboration and global discovery of Louisiana’s history. 

Contact Us

We encourage questions. If you are thinking of applying and would like to discuss, please let us know. We can be reached by email at digitalservices@lsu.edu. 


Please use the onling application form to applyhttps://www.lib.lsu.edu/services/digital/award/apply.