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The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Speaking of Digital Preservation Sustainability

April 8, 2010 -- A central question confronts everyone who cares about digital stewardship: how to pay for it?

The question is as complex as it is short. Marshalling resources depends on making compelling justifications, providing the right incentives and getting stakeholders to agree on a sensible division of responsibilities.  

The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access (external link) sponsored an engaging symposium (external link) on April 1, 2010, to consider these issues.  A National Conversation on the Economic Sustainability of Digital Information focused on the findings of the group’s recent report, Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information (external link) (PDF, 3.9MB).

Sustainable Economics for a Digital PlanetThe program featured a host of experts, including Fran Berman, Vice President for Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;  Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of Science & Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President; Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian; Jon Landau, Producer/Partner Lightstorm Entertainment; and Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google.  Organizers structured much of the event as a series of discussions among the experts and between experts and the audience.

When the basic concerns for supporting digital preservation remain in place, the symposium accomplished two important things. First, it demonstrated a high level of interest on the part of influential people and institutions.  Second, it highlighted task force recommendations for next steps, which include ideas for organizational, technical, public policy and outreach actions.

The Library of Congress, National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program,  is among the financial supporters of task force.