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Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Lessons Learned: A New Era of Preservation

April 17, 2009 -- A one-day conference, Digitizing for Preservation and Access: Past is Prologue, was held at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. on March 26, 2009. In addition to staff from NARA, the Library of Congress and other federal government agencies, there were participants from university libraries, state archives and a representative from the National Archives of the UK.

Image of National Archives building

The Conference was hosted by the National Archives.

According to the conference website, the focus was "on institutional approaches, case studies, standards and management techniques for projects and programs that are either underway or already completed. Thus, the discussion has moved from the experimental and theoretical to examining and learning from what has already been done."

A major theme that emerged throughout the day was the importance of considering digitally reformatted content as a valuable resource on its own, rather than just as a copy. Overall, the presentations included overviews of governmental programs such as NARA’s preservation program and Electronic Records Archives, information about private sector partnerships with government agencies and sessions on usability, social tagging and conservation as they relate to digitization.

There were also presentations given by two Library of Congress staff members, Carl Fleischhauer (Program Officer, NDIIPP) and Michael Stelmach (Manager, Digital Conversion Services.) In a talk titled Looking Back, Fleischhauer described more than 25 years of digitization, including several Library of Congress projects: the Optical Disk Pilot Project (1981-87), the American Memory pilot (1990-1994) and the National Digital Library Program (1995 and continuing). Stelmach’s presentation, titled Cultural Heritage Quality Today, provided a look at current digital imaging challenges, citing the recent efforts underway by the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative.

For further information on the program, see the conference web page at: