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The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > April 2007 News Archive

NDIIPP to Offer Several Programs During American Library Association Meeting in Washington

On June 25, the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) will hold several informative and thought-provoking events at the Library of Congress in Washington. The events are timed to coincide with the Annual Meeting of the American Library Association, which is in the nation’s capital this year. Following are the events and times. All events are in the Library’s Mumford Room, which is on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The closest Metrorail stop is Capitol South on the Orange and Blue lines. The Madison Building is diagonally across the street from the Capitol South exit.

Monday, June 25, 2007
10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m.
Mumford Room
Archiving the Web

The Library’s Web Capture Team will discuss how they are capturing, preserving and making available Web sites along such themes as elections, Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq and Supreme Court nominations.

Section 108 Study Group Panel Discussion
Monday, June 25, 2007
Mumford Room
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The Section 108 Study Group is an independent committee charged with examining how the exceptions and limitations to the exclusive rights under copyright law that are applicable specifically to libraries and archives – namely those set out in section 108 of the Copyright Act – may need to be amended to take account of the widespread use of digital technologies.

In this panel discussion members of the Study Group will address the major issues presented by the application of section 108 in the digital environment, as well as some of the possible revisions to the law and their implications for library and right-holder practice.

National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) Symposium/Presentation
Monday, June 25, 2007
Mumford Room
1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Learn how the Library of Congress and its partners are collecting and preserving important digital content that is at risk of loss if not preserved now. Presenters to include NDIIPP partners discussing the types of content they are saving and the obstacles they have overcome in this relatively undefined area of librarianship. Content collection includes public television, geospatial data, social science datasets, Southern history and culture, political Web sites and business records relating to the birth of the dot-com era.

Digital Preservation Program Chief Discusses How Technology Has Changed the Library of Congress

Laura Campbell, associate librarian for Strategic Initiatives for the Library of Congress, who leads the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, on April 18 presented the paper "How Digital Technologies Have Changed the Library of Congress: Inside and Outside" during the National Science Foundation/Joint Information Systems Committee Repositories Workshop in Phoenix.

According to Campbell, "While the benefits of digital technology are obvious to the millions of constituents the Library of Congress has attracted with its Web site and other electronic services, the impact of technology on the organization itself has been no less significant.

"The digital age has enabled the Library to exploit the benefits of technology for the benefit of our constituents. We now reach many more millions of users online than ever enter our doors on Capitol Hill. Approximately 2 million visitors are greeted by the Library each year; more than 50 times that number visit our Web site during the same period. We have established new constituencies, such as teachers and their students, and we are making an important difference in the education of this nation's future leaders through the more than 11 million primary source materials we offer online.

"These are the changes that are obvious to those outside the institution. But there are other, I would argue, no less important changes that digital technologies have brought to the internal operations of this 207-year-old institution."

Read the complete paper

Digital Curation at the Library Is Topic at Chapel Hill Conference

Staff of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) presented the keynote address on April 22-23 at the inaugural Digital Curation Conference in Chapel Hill, N.C., attended by hundreds of representatives from businesses, universities and state and federal agencies. An NDIIPP staffer presented the conference paper "Digital Curation at the Library of Congress: Lessons Learned from American Memory and the Archive Ingest and Handling Test."

According to the paper's abstract:

"The Library of Congress (LC) created the American Memory (AM) Web site in 1995 to provide public access to digitized versions of materials from the LC collections. The technical architecture, programming, and bulk of AM content were created before the development or widespread application of digital library metadata and data standards. The staff that produced much of this digital content did so without tools designed specifically for this type of work and with no existing model of a Web-based digital library for guidance. Twelve years later the data and metadata driving AM are managed in the same framework in which they were created, and the effects of digital-curation decisions made early on are coming to light in efforts to sustain, use and share this valuable body of content. The retrospective view provides an opportunity to identify approaches to data that contributed to the long-term sustainability of the contents, and approaches that were detrimental."

Read the complete paper

NDIIPP and Its Federal Partners Developing System to Improve Scanning

The Library of Congress and other federal agencies such as the National Archives and Records Administration, the Government Printing Office and the National Library of Medicine are collaborating in the development of a system to improve image digitization consistency and accuracy, to include improvements in color fidelity and image resolution.

NDIIPP Project leaders Hope a Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Despite increasing public awareness of the need to preserve the nations’ digital cultural heritage, “there’s a wave of technology crashing over society, and all we have is a little rowboat,” noted David Kirsch, the director of the Birth of the Dot Com Era project, one of a number of innovative explorations supported by NDIIPP. The principal investigators (PIs) of the eight digital preservation content consortia gathered on March 23 at the Library to take stock of the current state of the program and to plan strategy for the future.

These projects (represented by PIs from the California Digital Library, the University of California at Santa Barbara, WNET New York, Emory University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, North Carolina State University, the North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis and Stanford) are working to find solutions to vexing preservation issues surrounding different types of digital materials. The projects are preserving valuable digital cultural heritage materials, including social science data such as opinion polls, voting records and large-scale surveys; materials related to Southern cultural history; and political Web sites, such as those dedicated to the California recall election of 2003. They are also looking at a diversity of preservation solutions for materials that provide special challenges, such as complex geospatial mapping information.

Phenomenon such as Google Maps and YouTube, wildly popular interactive digital tools that did not exist when the NDIIPP program was conceived, contribute vast amounts of material to the flood of digital information in need of preservation. The PIs agreed that the ability to ride over these floodwaters depends on the ability of the current partnerships to “lash the rowboats together” and build on the knowledge that has been secured through the NDIIPP preservation network.

Now in the third year of their projects, the partners are increasingly focused on strengthening this network and telling the story of the work they have accomplished. They are also moving ahead with strategic planning for future phases of the program, which will extend the digital preservation network to include many more partners.

The PIs were happy to highlight the contributions their projects have made to the NDIIPP strategic outcomes up to this point, and they were also quick with recommendations for the future. Ken Devine of WNET New York (which is leading the Preserving Public Television project) was especially passionate in talking about the catalytic influence of NDIIPP on public media, describing this year’s Capitol Hill Day (sponsored by the Association of Public Television Stations, the public television industry’s lobbying arm) as the “culmination” of its NDIIPP project.” Devine and the other project leaders felt all along that digital preservation would become a key initiative for public media if they could engage their key stakeholders in partnership with the Library of Congress. This is becoming more of a reality with the establishment of the “American Archive,” a public media initiative that looks to preserve the country’s audio, film and video history.

Another significant result of the meeting was the formation of six Strategic Working Groups that will directly address NDIIIPP outcomes and help prepare the congressional and public reporting that will take place over the next three years. These groups, focused on Communications, Content, Network, Public Policy, Sustainability and Technical Infrastructure, provide a way for members of the NDIIPP network to engage each other on important issues and provide valuable input as NDIIPP moves forward.

Court Authorizes Creation of “Closed Archive”

The Birth of the Dot Com Era project at the University of Maryland, a partner in the National Digital Information Infrastructure and preservation Program (NDIIPP), has been working for years to preserve the digital records of failed law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, one of a number of legal entities that failed to survive the late 1990s Internet boom and bust.

The Maryland project is preserving at-risk digital materials from American business culture during these early years of the commercialization of the Internet, the "Birth of the Dot Com Era."  Brobeck represented thousands of startups and high-tech investors during that volatile period, and the university is working to ensure that the records of the firm, and others like them, can be preserved for future generations of scholars.

In August 2006, the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, authorized the creation of a special “closed archive,” allowing a large subset of records from the failed law firm to be preserved. This closed archive will have the active participation of the Library of Congress and will serve as a model of a trusted institutional repository.

The court approved a high-level set of principles that will now be translated into operating guidelines and procedures to govern the operation of the closed archive in the years to come.

Educopia Institute Founded

The NDIIPP-supported MetaArchive project, a collaborative venture of Emory University, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Florida State University, Auburn University and the University of Louisville, is engaged in a three-year process to develop a cooperative for the preservation of at-risk digital content focusing on the culture and history of the American South.

These institutions have formed the Educopia Institute, a nonprofit entity dedicated to sustaining educational cyberinfrastructure advancement through projects and partnerships. “Cyberinfrastructure” refers to the developing research environments in which the highest level of computing tools are available to researchers through high-performance networks.

Educopia will serve as the parent organization for the MetaArchive cooperative and will catalyze new digital sustainability efforts among Georgia Tech, Emory University and other organizations. NDIIPP is providing initial funding for Educopia.

Educopia is initially concentrating on the development of a business plan that fosters managable partnership growth and tools development in a way that provides for the long-term sustainability of the project. It is also working on a framework that can be adapted and used in current and future partnerships.

The institute hopes to provide a streamlined conduit for digital library, scholarly communications and technology projects, while advancing the development of the cyberinfrastructure needed to drive research, teaching and learning in the digital era.

California Digital Library Works to Save At-Risk Web Sites

The California Digital Library, as part of its three-year, $2.4 million grant from the Library, is developing Web archiving tools that will be used by libraries to capture and preserve collections of Web-based government and political information.

These tools, known collectively as the Web Archiving Service (WAS), are flexible and modular, enabling project partners to easily incorporate them into existing work processes. As they are finished, the tools will be made available as open-source software to other interested institutions. A successful pilot run of the “basic capture” release was completed in September 2006, and seven more updated releases are expected over the next year.

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