Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

August 12, 2003

Digital Preservation Program Calls for Applications for Funding

Library of Congress Seeks to Capture At-Risk Digital Materials and Build a Network of Partners

The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress (NDIIPP) has issued an announcement seeking applications for projects that will advance the nationwide program to collect and preserve digital materials. The Library of Congress is leading this cooperative effort at the request of the U.S. Congress, which passed legislation in 2000 asking the Library to work with a range of stakeholders to ensure that materials produced in digital formats today are available to future generations. Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives Laura E. Campbell is directing this initiative.

"As more and more information is produced only in digital form, it has become critical for the nation to develop an infrastructure for the collection and preservation of these materials before they are lost," said Ms. Campbell. "The Library of Congress looks forward to collaborating with many partners in this task, as we work together to preserve America’s digital heritage."

This first set of projects will focus on two major NDIIPP goals:

  • The selection and collection of at-risk and historically significant digital materials for which no analog equivalent exists and
  • the development of a network of committed NDIIPP partners with defined roles and responsibilities to support the long-term collection and preservation of digital content.

These project applications will develop and test models for the collection of digital materials, specifically those that are historically significant and at risk of disappearing if they are not captured.

The program announcement is available at www.digitalpreservation.gov/importance/. Additional information may be obtained at (202) 707-3455 or at osi2@loc.gov. Applications must be postmarked by Nov. 12, 2003, to receive further consideration.

Background

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 with defined roles and responsibilities.

The Library of Congress digital strategy is being formulated in concert with a study, commissioned by the Librarian of Congress, and undertaken 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 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 plan was approved by Congress in December 2002.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Through its National Digital Library (NDL) Program, it 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 8 million American historical items.

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PR 03-141
08/12/03
ISSN 0731-3527

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