February 6, 2009 -- Laura Campbell, Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives at the Library of Congress, recently spoke at Information Online (external link), the 14th meeting of the Australian Library and Information Association (external link) held January 20-22 in Sydney. ALIA is a professional organization that provides leadership, advocacy and support for the Australian library and information services community.
Campbell discussed strategic directions and initiatives at the Library of Congress. The talk was grounded in the historical roots of the Library’s interest in digital technologies, but also looked at the challenges and opportunities ahead.
She began with a timeline of digital initiatives, concentrating on strategies employed to increase public access to Library treasures.
Campbell noted that the while access remains the main goal, a new challenge is to engage audiences that increasingly expect interactive information environments. The Library is meeting this test through initiatives that expand online offerings through new channels while also embracing networks of diverse partners to share the work and spread the message.
Some of these initiatives have been active for several years, such as the Global Gateway to international digital library resources, and the National Digital Newspaper Program, which is enhancing access to America's historic newspapers. Other efforts are more recent, such as exploratory use of online interactive environments such as Flickr (external link) and YouTube.
The Library’s work with other institutions through the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program aims to ensure access over time to a rich body of digital content through the establishment of a national network of committed partners.
Campbell described the World Digital Library project, which will make significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format.
Campbell closed her keynote address with a showing of the World Digital Library Concept Video.