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Two upcoming funding opportunities for digitizing Indigenous language materials

The National Research Council is asking for project proposals from Indigenous-led organizations to build technologies to support Indigenous language revitalization. This opportunity has an application deadline of April 30th, 2019:

Request for Project Possibilities Related to Indigenous Language Technology
The National Research Council’s Indigenous Languages Technology (ILT) project has a core mandate to develop language technology for Indigenous languages in Canada in collaboration with Indigenous stakeholders.

We are soliciting proposals to fund projects related to language technology for Indigenous languages spoken in Canada. The funding may be applied to a broad range of projects. Some eligible examples are refining existing technologies for Indigenous languages in Canada, developing new ones, collecting data to support these technologies, and assisting communities in the development of language learning methodologies and assistive technologies.

Each successful proposal will show potential for a positive impact in the short or long term on the use by communities of at least one Indigenous language spoken in Canada. This application is not designed for projects of a purely theoretical nature – there must be a practical aspect.

It is anticipated that most successful proposals will receive funding in the range $100,000 – $300,000, though proposals of exceptional merit requesting funding outside this range may be considered. The funding period is short: it begins one month after issuance of this request and ends on March 31, 2020.

Priority will be given to:
– Projects carried out by Indigenous organizations, and to Indigenous-led or governed projects
– Projects with the potential for high impact on the stabilization, revitalization and reclamation of at least one Indigenous language in Canada.
– Projects focusing on development of wide-reaching, replicable and/or scalable language technologies
– Applicants who can demonstrate that they are ready and able to launch the project quickly if/when their proposal is accepted (due to the short time scale).

Ideally, projects funded under this request will show potential for beneficial long-term effects after the funding period has ended: i.e., these projects should aim at strategic capacity-building. Thus, additional weight will be given to proposals that include a plan for training community members in language-related technologies. Greater merit will also be awarded to proposals that suggest how the funding requested could help support community activities in this area even after the end of the project. For instance, if a proposal requests funding for equipment to carry out the project, it will be worth clarifying in the proposal how the equipment in question will be useful for future language-related activities.

Examples of Proposals that could be funded
The list that follows is intended to suggest possible themes for proposals. However, it is not intended to discourage other themes applicants may come up with – innovative proposals that satisfy the criteria above but that don’t resemble anything on the list are welcome!
● Digitization of existing non-digital language materials; development of archives and archival processes
● Strategic and purposeful recordings of spoken language (e.g., recordings of interviews with Elders in an Indigenous language) – applicants to explain how these complement or fill a need outside of existing recordings
● Adaptation of existing learning materials for additional/new technological platforms (e.g., porting online courses to mobile devices)
● Development or extension of online resources, such as websites, that foster functional language learning
● Development of online, technology-assisted language surveys
● Development of videos and streaming podcasts that will assist the stabilization, revitalization and reclamation of Indigenous languages
● Research aimed at developing technologies that will assist the stabilization, revitalization and reclamation

Information is on the NRC website here:

You can also download a copy of the entire application form and instructions here, as a PDF.  While the deadline is coming up quickly, the application is short, and we’d be happy to advise anyone working on an application and looking for information about digitization cost estimates, training and equipment, project planning, or using the VITA Digital Toolkit to present your collections and exhibits.

Library and Archives Canada announced a granting opportunity for the digitization of language materials, as well as the offer of digitization services through LAC:

This initiative provides funding of up to $100,000 per project to eligible Indigenous organizations to digitize existing culture and language recordings, and to help them build the skills, knowledge and resources they need to carry out this work in their communities.

LAC invites all eligible Indigenous organizations to submit their applications by noon on July 17, 2019 (Pacific Daylight Time).

Interested parties can find guidelines, eligibility criteria and the application form on the preserve Indigenous culture and language recordings web page.

An Indigenous review committee, external to LAC and comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation representatives from across Canada, will review applications and make recommendations for funding.

Indigenous organizations, individuals, collectors and creators can also receive digitization services from LAC for their existing culture and language recordings. LAC accepts all formats of recordings and digitizes them at the Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec. LAC will send back all original and digital files after digitization.

Eligible costs include:

  • Digitization by your organization, a partner or a third-party
  • Consultants and professional services related to digitization
  • Purchase, rental or repair of equipment or software to digitize and preserve material
  • Description, transcription and development of finding aids
  • Shipping and insuring material
  • Salaries and wages to finish your project
  • Training and workshop activities
  • Travel for project staff (must follow the National Joint Council’s Travel Directive)
  • Honorariums and small gifts to Indigenous Elders
  • General administration costs such as office supplies, long-distance telephone calls, postage, project management fees, messenger services (This cannot be more than 20% of the funding we provide)

Whether you’re planning in-house digitization, outsourcing, or the use of LAC’s digitization facilities, we’d be happy to help with your project planning and assist you in designing the presentation and promotion of your digital collections.


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