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Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > November 2006 News Archive

Because a network can take many forms and play several roles, the principal investigators from the eight NDIIPP digital preservation partnerships met at the Library on Oct. 27 to answer the question, "What will the network look like?"

"We want to have your opinion," said Laura Campbell, associate librarian for Strategic Initiatives, who is leading the NDIIPP program for the Library. "This is very much a work in progress."

Mary Rasenberger, NDIIPP program director, offered guidance to the types of networks, as outlined in the 2006 report "A Manager's Guide to Choosing and Using Collaborative Networks (external link) (PDF)," from the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

The types of networks cited in the report are: service implementation, information diffusion, problem solving and community capacity building networks. "We are more in the fourth type of network, but we have pieces in the others as well," Rasenberger said. She noted that "networks evolve and become self-governing and better organized over time."

Speaking about the developing NDIIPP network, Campbell reminded the meeting attendees that NDIIPP is "looking for gaps in the demonstration projects that we have funded so far. This is why we are reaching out to the private sector community with our Preserving Creative America project." In July, the Library of Congress sought expressions of interest in projects related to the preservation of creative digital works produced by the commercial content sector, including but not limited to motion pictures, sound recordings, still photography, graphics, illustration, interactive games, literary arts and other media. Expressions of interest were due by Sept. 22, 2006, and the Library is currently evaluating the proposals.

When NDIIPP makes its final report to Congress in 2010 with news of what has been achieved so far and recommendations for going forward, Campbell said that "we want to tell as rich a story as possible about the diversity and depth of the types of information we preserved."

Abby Smith, a consultant to NDIIPP, said, "We also need to show that not only have we preserved, but also that we are providing access," a point not lost on Rasenberger, who is managing a 19-member group for the Library that will make recommendations to Congress on how libraries and archives can work with digital materials while respecting the rights of copyright holders. The group, called the Section 108 Study Group, will study how Section 108 of the Copyright Act may need to be amended to address the relevant issues and concerns of libraries and archives, as well as creators and other copyright holders. The group will provide findings and recommendations on how to revise the copyright law in order to ensure an appropriate balance among the interests of creators and other copyright holders, libraries and archives in a manner that best serves the national interest. Rasenberger told the group that recommendations would be made by mid-2007.

"Without access, [what we accomplish in NDIIPP] won't be real to anybody," Smith added.

Rasenberger said, "We need, in building the network, guidance from you on what type of agreements we should enter into with both the commercial and noncommercial sectors. We want to make it easy for the commercial sector to join the network and do something for the public good. We will be working, through the Preserving Creative America project, to get our commercial peers to see their important role in this digital preservation network."

Later in the meeting, Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for Library Services, addressed the group. "The joy of working at the Library of Congress is working with the marvelous collections," she said. "The challenge is thinking about the Library collection of the future. Virtually everything falls into the Library's collecting mission," except materials in clinical medicine and agriculture, which are collected by the National Library of Medicine and National Agricultural Library.

One of Marcum's goals for librarianship in the digital age is to "get rid of format distinctions" at the Library of Congress among the institution's curators. The focus should be on which materials should be acquired for the collections, rather than on whether they are in analog or digital formats.

She told the NDIIPP partners that "what you are learning in your projects is of great importance to us." Marcum also told the participants that many "of our annual acquisitions come through the Copyright Office. We are looking at how to specify formats for the copyright deposit of digital materials, especially electronic journals. We are currently using print journals as the authoritative copy."

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to an exercise in which the partners were asked to imagine how, from their institution's perspective, a future network should look, how it should function and which services and tools it should offer. They were also asked to think about how their digital preservation programs can be sustained over the long term and how to provide incentives for other partners to join the network.

The partners' ideas will be amalgamated and the results reported on in another edition of this newsletter.

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