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Congress Approves LOC's Digital Preservation Plan

The Library of Congress has received approval from Congress for its "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP)," which will allow the Library to launch the initial phase of building a national infrastructure for the collection and long-term preservation of digital content.

Congressional approval of the plan means the Library can move forward with developing the details of the plan and Congress will release funds for the next phase of NDIIPP. The NDIIPP legislation mandates the Library to raise up to $75 million in private funds and in-kind contributions, which Congress will match dollar-for-dollar.

In December 2000, Congress authorized the Library of Congress to develop and execute a congressionally approved plan for the NDIIPP. A $99.8 million congressional appropriation was made to establish the program.

According to Conference Report on the legislation, "The overall plan should set forth a strategy for the Library of Congress, in collaboration with other federal and nonfederal entities, to identify a national network of libraries and other organizations with responsibilities for collecting digital materials that will provide access to and maintain those materials. ... In addition to developing this strategy, the plan shall set forth, in concert with the Copyright Office, the policies, protocols and strategies for the long-term preservation of such materials, including the technological infrastructure required at the Library of Congress."

The legislation mandates that the Library work with federal entities such as the Secretary of Commerce, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and "other federal, research and private libraries and institutions with expertise in telecommunications technology and electronic commerce policy."

The goal is to build a network of committed partners working through a preservation architecture of defined roles and responsibilities.

The Library's digital strategy is being formulated in concert with a study, commissioned by the Librarian of Congress, by the National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board.

"LC 21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress," was issued July 26, 2000, and made several recommendations, including that the Library, working with other institutions, take the lead in the preservation and archiving of digital materials.

"The Library of Congress is grateful for the continuing support that Congress has given us by asking us to lead this critical program to collect and preserve America's cultural and intellectual heritage in digital formats for generations to come," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Together with other federal agencies and the library, archival, university and private sector communities, we will work to develop a network of collaborative partners as well as a technical architecture that will provide the framework for digital preservation."

The complete text of the "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" is available at www.digitalpreservation.gov.