Cultural Heritage Digitization Award

The Cultural Heritage Digitization Award is offered annually by the Mississippi Digital Library, in conjunction with partners from across the state. The chosen collection will be digitized and published electronically as part of the Mississippi Digital Library (MDL) Collections.

The award is available to a MS-based cultural heritage society or organization who possess items significant to MS history and scholarship but lack the human, physical or technical resources to create an accessible digital collection. Preference is given to those considered at-risk (i.e. deteriorating physical conditions, threats of nature, etc.) or those that showcase Mississippi from a new or different perspective.

Award Provides:

Digitization Services - 80 cumulative hours of on-site, archival quality digitization services to be completed over a one week period by the digitization team

Training - Training to aid in future projects on topics including digitization, file naming and structure, best practices and policies, and digital preservation.

Digital Surrogates - Copies of all master and access digital files created by the digitization team via transferable media.

MDL Partnership and a Hosted Digital Collection - Partnership with the Mississippi Digital Library and a digital collection hosted on to showcase your newly digitized assets.

The CHDA application is open to all Mississippi cultural heritage institutions, regardless of social, political, religious, or other affiliations.

Questions? Please contact us! Email: Phone: (601) 266-6864

Helpful Information

Application (Opens October 1)

Award Guidelines (pdf)

Previous Winner Profiles (pdf)

Timeline of Events

  • October 1, 2019: Application Open

  • November 30, 2019: Application Close

  • December 2019: Finalists Announced

  • February 2020: Awardee Announced

  • April - July 2020: Awardee Training

  • August 2020: Digitization Services

  • September 2020: Collection Finalization

  • October 2020: Collection Launch

View the Digital Collections of Previous Winners

2019: MS Federation of Women’s Clubs

GFWC-MFWC Women’s History

The Federation of Women’s Clubs was founded in community service. Members have volunteered and led projects in the arts, education, public affairs and conservation, as well as supported women's suffrage, cancer research, beautification efforts and a myriad of other projects improving communities in Mississippi and across the nation. This collection includes scrapbooks, photographs, newsletters, awards and other records of service. Coming soon: MFWC’s digital collection debuts October 2019.


2018: Alcorn State University

Forever Alcorn: Stories to Be Told

Alcorn State University, the oldest public black land-grant institution in the United States, was founded in 1871; and has educated many descendants of formally enslaved Africans. Therefore, this historical legacy has created a collection of documents that portrays the activities of the facts and figures of the historical development. This collection consists of yearbooks, college catalogs, history books, alumni publications and civil rights events. Visit Alcorn’s page to read more and view the digital collection.


2017: Carnegie Public Library

Coahoma County Cultural Heritage Digital Collection

The collection consists of photographs, manuscripts, postcards, maps, historic and original letters, slave letters, documentations and papers, numerous and valuable family collections of genealogies and histories, and library records spanning from the early 1800s to the current decade.

Visit Carnegie’s page to read more and view the digital collection.


2016: Roman Catholic Diocese of Jackson

The Bishop Richard Oliver Gerow Photograph Collection

The collection holds documents, artifacts, and photographs dating back to early Spanish Colonial Mississippi. The photographs are dated as early as 1860 and feature important events; structures such as churches, schools, and orphanages; Native Americans; African Americans; immigrant communities; priests; religious men and women (brothers and sisters); and bishops. Visit the Diocese’s page to read more and view the digital collection.


2015: The Mississippi University for Women

The MUW Archive Photograph Collection

Possibly one of the most complete pictorial histories of women in higher education. Touches on nationally known figures in Mississippi history. History of higher education for women, architectural trends, cultural changes, racial/gender integration, and the history of Columbus & Lowndes Counties.

Visit MUW’s page to read more and view the digital collection.


Eligibility Details

Further eligibility requirements can be found in the award guidelines.

Application Eligibility

Applications, proposals, and any additional information must be completed in full and submitted by email or postmarked no later than 4 p.m. on the final day of the application period.  Please note, while the Mississippi Digital Library staff will be available to answer questions regarding eligibility, content, material appropriateness, or the applications process, they will not be able to proofread or comment on draft proposals.

Institution Eligibility

Any institutions within the state of Mississippi whose proposed collection fits the eligibility requirements may apply, regardless of MDL partnership (excluding current board member institutions) are eligible to apply for the award. Non-partner and previous partner institutions must be willing to enroll in or reactivate MDL partnership. The CHDA application is open to all Mississippi cultural heritage institutions, regardless of social, political, religious, or other affiliations.

Project Eligibility

All projects must address the copyright status of the materials to be digitized. It is not necessary to secure the appropriate permissions for materials prior to submitting a project proposal, however a detailed plan must be included with the application concerning how copyright permissions will be handled.

All projects must be able to be completed within the week designated for digitization, or an estimated 80 hours. There is no size or quantity limit regarding materials, however an overview of the materials and the time required to digitize them must be included with the application. Time guidelines may be found in the award documentation.

Additional requirements may need to be satisfied prior to digitization including, but not limited to, metadata creation. No experience is necessary; training will be provided to the winning institution if needed. It is not necessary to fulfill these requirements prior to applying, however a plan for requirement completion must be included with the proposal.