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Description Assistance Awards: Cataloging California

What collections are hidden in your backlog?
Need an inventory or catalog records?

We’re offering awards of up to $5,000 to enhance description and discoverability of your unseen collections!   

In order to reveal more of California's hidden histories, the State Library invites libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions to apply for awards of up to $5,000 for cataloging projects to process, catalog, and/or rehouse California-related library and archival materials. The goal of this opportunity is to help organizations address their collection backlogs, create item-level records, and plan future preservation actions, including digitization. Collections processed and cataloged with this funding will be considered automatically as nominations for California Revealed’s next digitization cycle (see Digitization Awards).  

We hope that you will take advantage of this unique opportunity to give your resources the attention they deserve, resulting in collections that are effectively cataloged and poised for digitization.


Application Information

A successful application includes: 

  • Collection(s) description 

  • Significance of the proposed collection(s) to local/state history 

  • Justification of why this collection should be cataloged now 

  • Level of description (collection, series, and/or item) 

  • Types of materials to be cataloged (audiovisual recordings, print materials, or digital materials) 

  • Estimated number of items/records to be rehoused and/or processed 

  • A budget for the contract 

  • Timeline for the work to be completed between January 1, 2021 and August 31, 2021. 

Awards are limited by the availability of LSTA funding. While reviewing applications, we give preference to new partners, as well as to organizations and collections that reflect communities who traditionally have been underrepresented in the historical narrative of California.  

Application deadline: Friday, December 18, 2020.

Apply here.

A working document of all application questions is available here.


Project Requirements

Proposed collections must fall within California Revealed’s Selection Criteria and contain content of statewide or local historical significance that contributes to an understanding of the histories of California and its people. 

Cataloging Assistance Award final deliverables must include records that can be ingested into the California Revealed Repository. Records created as a part of the Cataloging Assistance Award do not have to be MARC or RDA compliant, but they must conform with California Revealed’s Metadata Guidelines.  

  • Title  

  • Generation  

  • Format  

  • Number of parts  

  • Dimensions or duration 

  • Date created  

  • Significance  

  • Condition 

  • Description 

  • Creator  

  • Rights 

  • Subject topics and entities 

  • Spatial and temporal coverage 

Records that do not conform to program standards will not be accepted. The Awardee must make corrections before record ingest into the California Revealed repository. 



  • Funding can cover the creation of finding aids as well as item-level records. 

  • Proposal budget may include funds for staffing and can cover benefits. Minimum pay for catalogers must be $25/hour with benefits, or $28/hour without benefits. 

  • Proposal budget may include funds for rehousing supplies (e.g., file folders, archival boxes, and individual containers). 

  • Funding cannot cover computer hardware, other equipment, storage furniture or indirect costs such as rent and utilities. 

Sample budget: "To catalog 1200 text documents, we estimate 120 hours @$25/hr = $3,000 plus 30% for benefits = $900, a total of $3,900, plus 1,200 acid-free folders @ $42/100 = $504; total $4,404." 



Cataloging Assistance Awards are granted based on the following selection criteria: 

  • Significance of the proposed resources to local and state history 

  • Clarity of the plan of work to complete the proposed project 

  • Cost of the proposed project relative to its deliverables 

Institutions with successful proposals are awarded contracts.  



Project expenses incurred by the institution are reimbursed at the end of the contract after receipt of deliverables. All invoices are due on August 31, 2021. 

  • Item-level records submitted in California Revealed's form  

  • Documentation of expenses (e.g., receipts, payment stubs, invoices) 


Cataloging California Webinar

Recorded November 19, 2020. This webinar reviews the application process and expected deliverables and also walks participants through California Revealed's essential fields to inventory mixed collections.




Contact Pamela Vadakan, Director, California Revealed 
(916) 653-5074/