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February 14, 2003
Library Announces Approval of Plan to Preserve America's Digital Heritage
Today the Librarian of Congress announced that the Library of Congress has received approval from the U.S. Congress for its "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP)," which will enable the Library to launch the initial phase of building a national infrastructure for the collection and long-term preservation of digital content.
"The Library of Congress is grateful for the continuing support that Congress has given us by asking us to lead this critical program to collect and preserve America's cultural and intellectual heritage in digital formats for generations to come," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Together with other federal agencies and the library, archival, university and private sector communities, we will work to develop a network of collaborative partners as well as a technical architecture that will provide the framework for digital preservation."
Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives Laura Campbell is overseeing this effort for the Library. "I echo Dr. Billington's remarks and add that the Library of Congress has gained an enormous amount of knowledge from its partners in this initiative. We look forward to a continued successful collaboration as we work together to preserve digital materials before they are forever lost."
Congressional approval of the "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" means the Library can move forward with developing the details of the plan and Congress will release funds for the next phase of NDIIPP. The NDIIPP legislation asks the Library to raise up to $75 million in private funds and in-kind contributions, which Congress will match dollar- for-dollar.
In December 2000, Congress authorized the Library of Congress to develop and execute a congressionally approved plan for a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. A $99.8 million congressional appropriation was made to establish the program. According to Conference Report (H. Rept. 106-1033), "The overall plan should set forth a strategy for the Library of Congress, in collaboration with other federal and nonfederal entities, to identify a national network of libraries and other organizations with responsibilities for collecting digital materials that will provide access to and maintain those materials. ... In addition to developing this strategy, the plan shall set forth, in concert with the Copyright Office, the policies, protocols and strategies for the long-term preservation of such materials, including the technological infrastructure required at the Library of Congress."
The legislation mandates that the Library work with federal entities such as the Secretary of Commerce, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and "other federal, research and private libraries and institutions with expertise in telecommunications technology and electronic commerce policy." The goal is to build a network of committed partners working through a preservation architecture of defined roles and responsibilities.
The Library of Congress digital strategy is being formulated in concert with a study, commissioned by the Librarian of Congress, by the National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. "LC 21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress," was issued July 26, 2000, and made several recommendations, including that the Library, working with other institutions, take the lead in the preservation and archiving of digital materials. The National Research Council is part of the National Academy of Sciences.
The complete text of the "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" is available at www.digitalpreservation.gov. This includes an explanation of how the Plan was developed, who the Library worked with to develop the Plan and the key components of the digital preservation infrastructure.
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Through its National Digital Library (NDL) Program, is also one of the leading providers of noncommercial intellectual content on the Internet (www.loc.gov). The NDL Program's flagship American Memory project, in collaboration with 36 institutions nationwide, makes freely available millions of American historical items.
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