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National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation ProgramLibrary of Congress
About the Program
  Mission Statement 
  NDSAB Members 
  Press Releases 
  Digital Strategy Oversight Group 
Strategic Planning Reports and Papers Program Announcement News & Events

Digital Sunrise Picture
About the Program
The preservation of digital content has become a major challenge for society. Thus, in 1998 the Library of Congress began to develop a digital strategy with a group of senior managers who were charged with assessing the roles and responsibilities of the Library in the digital environment. This oversight group was headed by the Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives, the Associate Librarian for Library Services and the Register of Copyrights. This group has held several planning meetings to assess the current state of digital archiving and preservation. The Library has also assembled a National Digital Strategy Advisory Board to guide the Library and its partners as they work to develop a strategy and plan, subject to approval by Congress.

At the same time, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington commissioned the National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to evaluate the Library's readiness to meet the challenges of the rapidly evolving digital world. The NAS report, LC 21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress, recommended that the Library, working with other federal and nonfederal institutions, take the lead in a national, cooperative effort to archive and preserve digital information.

In December 2000, Congress appropriated $100 million (rescinded to $99.8 million) for a national digital-strategy effort, to be led by the Library of Congress. The Library was chosen not only because of its mission to "sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations," but also because of its role as one of the leading providers of high-quality content on the Internet.

The Library of Congress has been a pioneer in the field of digital information. Even before there was a World Wide Web, the Library was digitizing and making selected items from its collections available in electronic form. The program was called American Memory, and it began as a pilot in 1990. American Memory was originally a CD-ROM project, in which discs were distributed to 44 schools and libraries across the country to determine whether there was any interest in being able to access important materials relating to American history from the Library's collections. By the time the pilot concluded in 1994, there was ample evidence that many people wanted these materials and they wanted more of them.

American Memory helped fulfill the goal of Dr. Billington, who came to the Library in 1987 with the objective of making the riches of the Library accessible to all Americans, not just those who could come to Washington. Today, more than 7.5 million items from the collections of the Library and other repositories are available from American Memory.

Led by the Library of Congress
The U.S. Congress has now asked the Library of Congress to lead a collaborative project, called the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. In December 2000, Congress passed special legislation (Public Law 106-554) in recognition of the importance of preserving digital content for future generations, appropriating $100 million to the Library of Congress to lead this effort. (A government-wide rescission of .22 percent in late December 2000 reduced this special appropriation to $99.8 million.)

This effort falls within the Library's mission, which is "to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations." This mission extends to materials in electronic formats as well. In addition, the Library is the home of the U.S. Copyright Office and is thus already engaged in issues relating to copyright in a digital environment.

The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program is a cooperative effort.
The Library will work closely with federal partners to assess considerations for shared responsibilities. Federal legislation calls for the Library to work jointly with the Secretary of Commerce, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the National Archives and Records Administration. The legislation also directs the Library to seek the participation of "other federal, research and private libraries and institutions with expertise in the collection and maintenance of archives of digital materials," including the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, the Research Libraries Group, the Online Computer Library Center and the Council on Library and Information Resources.

The Library will also seek participation from the nonfederal sector. The overall strategy will be executed in cooperation with the library, creative, publishing, technology and copyright communities. In early 2001 the Library established a National Digital Strategy Advisory Board to help guide it through the planning process. This board is made up of experts from the technology, publishing, Internet, library and intellectual-property communities as well as government.

Why the NDIIPP Is Important for the Nation
The availability of electronic information is today taken for granted. With the rapid growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web, millions of people have grown accustomed to using these tools as resources to acquire information -- from a Ph.D. candidate conducting research for a dissertation to a teacher who might not be able to take a class on a field trip to see historical artifacts to a lifelong learner.

Digital is rapidly becoming a principal medium to create, distribute and store content, from text to motion pictures to recorded sound. Increasingly, digital content embodies much of the nation's intellectual, social and cultural history.

The Digital Preservation Program will seek to provide a national focus on important policy, standards and technical components necessary to preserve digital content. Investments in modeling and testing various options and technical solutions will take place over several years, resulting in recommendations to the U.S. Congress about the most viable and sustainable options for long-term preservation.

The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program is a public service project of major importance to the nation as well as the world.

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NDIIPP Makes Awards of $15 Million to 8 Institutions Press release

The National Strategy Advisory Board convened on June 28, 2004, in Washington, D.C. Presentations in Powerpoint, as well as a Webcast, are now available.

Digital Preservation Program Launches Research Grants Initiative
Library of Congress Partners with National Science Foundation. Click here to read more.

Library of Congress Announces Joint Digital Preservation Project With Four Universities
Library to Work with Old Dominion, Johns Hopkins, Stanford and Harvard Universities. Click here to read more.

New Section in Digital Preservation Web Site
There's a new section on this Web site, called News & Events. Here you will find a newsletter, a list of relevant links and a calendar of events for upcoming conferences, meetings, workshops and symposia related to digital libraries.

Many documents on this site are prepared in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF). A free reader can be downloaded from the Adobe site for viewing.