Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation Grant Information

A generous five-year grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation is enabling the Palmer School to digitize materials in local historical societies, with an emphasis on Suffolk County.  The $1.5 million grant provides fellowships for master’s and doctoral students to assist with the project.

About the Project

Digitizing Local History Sources” began on February 1, 2017 and will end on January 31, 2022.  
The goal of the project is to digitize materials in 80 local historical societies.

At the start of the project, the Palmer School established an on-campus Digitization Laboratory featuring two scanners:

  • A “DT Atom Digitization System” manufactured by Digital Transitions
  • An Epson Expression 12000XL with transparency adapter

The Palmer School also created two mobile digitization units, each containing an Epson Perfection V800 scanner and a Dell laptop computer.  Students use these mobile units to digitize materials on-site at historical societies.

Scanned images are stored in Preservica Cloud Edition, a leading digital preservation system.  Each historical society retains ownership of and controls access to its materials stored in Preservice.

The Project Director is Dr. Gregory Hunter.  He may be reached at 516-299-2171 or


During the first phase of the project, 26 historical societies were accepted for participation in DLHS.  With the expansion of the initial grant, applications from additional historical societies now are welcome.  The number of participating historical societies will increase over the remaining years of the grant, with a goal of 80 historical societies participating by the end of the project.

Participation involves one or both of the following:

• On-site Digitization.  Master’s students come to the historical society with a portable digitization unit.  They work on-site 10-12 hours per week to capture images and create descriptive information (metadata).
• On-campus Digitization.  Historical societies bring materials to the Digitization Laboratory at LIU Post.  This type of digitization is appropriate for rare, fragile, oversized, and bound items.

DLHS is following professional best practices for digital preservation.  Images are un-compressed, in order not to lose data.  DLHS is generating large “TIFF” files with a minimum resolution of 400 pixels per inch (PPI) in 16-bit color.  The images are described following the guidelines of the Dublin Core Metadata Set.  A major advantage for historical societies is that metadata is created by doctoral students under the supervision of a faculty member who is an expert in knowledge organization, relieving the historical societies of the metadata burden.


Doctoral students perform quality control checks on the images, edit the metadata, and prepare images for uploading into Preservica.  As each large TIFF image is loaded into Preservica, the system automatically generates a smaller and more usable JPEG file, similar in size and quality to images captured on a cell phone camera.

While all images will be loaded into Preservica, each historical society retains ownership of its images and controls access to them.  Copyright considerations are the responsibility of the historical society.  The access choices are:

• Open.  In the language of Preservica, “open” means that the images are viewable by individuals with access rights in the system.  Each participating historical society will receive one or more Preservica accounts for viewing its images and editing descriptive metadata.
• Public.  Selecting this option makes images available to the general public.  Preservica has a functionality called “Universal Access” that uses Word Press to provide public access.

Historical societies can download individual images and metadata at any time without cost.  They also can remove all images without cost, should they wish.  There is no cost to the historical societies for public access to images through Universal Access.  During the grant period, Preservica fees are being paid by the Gardiner Foundation.

Selection of Historical Societies

In order to participate in Digitizing Local Historical Sources, an historical society must meet the following criteria:

• Located in Nassau or Suffolk County
• Incorporated
• Have a not-for-profit designation as a 501(c)(3) organization

Specifically excluded by the terms of the grant are public libraries and government entities.

Interested historical societies must complete an application and submit it to the Project Director.  (Historical societies already participating in the project need not submit another application.)  The application should describe materials that the historical society would like to have digitized as part of the project.  The Project Director will visit the historical society to review materials and discuss details of the project.  If accepted, the historical society will be scheduled for digitization in a future semester.

Gardiner Foundation Master’s Fellowship

To be eligible for a Gardiner Foundation Master’s Fellowship, a student must be matriculated in either the Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) or the Certificate of Advanced Study in Archives and Records Management (CARM).

Gardiner Foundation Master’s Fellows receive six credits of tuition remission for each semester in which they are a fellow.  At this point in the project, there is a maximum of nine Master’s Fellows per semester.

First-time Master’s Fellows must enroll in LIS 693, “Gardiner Foundation Internship.”  LIS 693 is open to all Palmer School students at any point in the program.  Students may only register for LIS 693 once.  Students may apply for fellowships in additional semesters, subject to the availability of funds.

Master’s Fellows spend 120 hours during the semester assisting with the grant project.  Fellows must be able to spend two days per week on the project, each day consisting of five hours.  Some historical societies may be open on Saturday.

Master’s Fellows digitize historical images and create metadata for the images.  Most of the digitization takes place at the local historical societies; fellows must travel to the historical societies to conduct on-site project activities.  Fellows also use the digitization equipment in the on-campus laboratory.

Gardiner Foundation Doctoral Fellowship

To be eligible for the Gardiner Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, a student must be matriculated in the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Information Studies.

Gardiner Foundation Doctoral Fellows receive six credits of tuition remission for each semester in which they are a fellow.  There will be a maximum of two Doctoral Fellows per semester.  Students may apply for fellowships in additional semesters, subject to the availability of funds.  A student may receive a Doctoral Fellowship for a maximum of four semesters.

Doctoral Fellows spend 120 hours during the semester assisting with the grant project.  Doctoral Fellows perform quality assurance on scanned images and metadata, and enter items into Preservica.  Most project activities are conducted in the on-campus Palmer School Digitization Laboratory.

Information and Resources

Digitizing Local History Sources Application for Historical Societies

Gardiner Foundation Masters Fellowship Application

Gardiner Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Application


College of Education, Information, and Technology