Library of Congress Grant of $2.4 million to help develop tools to preserve at-risk Web-based government and political information
The Library of Congress recently awarded a $2.4 million grant to the University of California’s California Digital Library (CDL) and its project partners New York University and the University of North Texas to develop Web archiving tools that will be used by libraries to capture, curate, and preserve collections of Web-based government and political information.
The grant is one of eight being awarded through the Library of Congress’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, established by Congress to build a network of partners throughout the country to preserve online information. It will support development of the infrastructure and tools that libraries and other organizations will need to build collections of selected Web-based materials. Although it is anticipated that the technology will be useful in the capture and persistent management of Web-based information in general, work will focus initially on the Web-based information produced by U.S. state and federal governments and by local political activists and organizations.
“I am delighted that NYU will be working with the California Digital Library and the University of North Texas in this important effort to develop the infrastructure and tools that libraries will need to build collections of selected Web-based materials,” said Carol Mandel, dean of the NYU Libraries. “The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU form a unique, internationally known center for scholarly research on Labor and radical politics. The technical work of this project, performed in partnership with CDL and the NYU Digital Library Team, will enable our expert curators to extend their collection efforts in the digital realm.”
Since its founding in 1963, NYU’s Tamiment Library has been dedicated to collecting and archiving the ephemeral literature produced by American radical and labor organizations. Such literature, which formerly took the form of pamphlets, leaflets, and posters, is now largely Web-based. The Web content is increasingly endangered. Activist and labor groups are focused almost entirely on an immediate political or economic agenda, with little time or inclination to consider the historical need to document their activities. In addition, most such groups lack the technical expertise and the financial resources to even contemplate the long-term archiving of the Web content they are generating. Just as so many of the pamphlets and flyers of these organizations have survived only in the Tamiment Library’s vertical files, the Library must now find ways to preserve Web-based literature documenting the history of these.
About NYU and the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities. It is one of the largest private universities, and it has more international students than any other college or university in the U.S. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and dramatic arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.
The striking, 12-story Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, designed by Philip Johnson and Richard Foster, is the flagship of a nine-library, 4.5 million-volume system that provides students and faculty members with access to the world’s scholarship and serves as a center for the University community’s intellectual life. The Bobst Library houses more than 3.3 million volumes, 20 thousand journals, and over 3.5 million microforms; and provides access to thousands of electronic resources both on-site and to the NYU community around the world via the Internet. The Library is visited by more than 6,500 users per day and circulates almost one million books annually.
About the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Through its National Digital Library (NDL) Program, it is also one of the leading providers of noncommercial intellectual content on the Internet (http://www.loc.gov). The NDL Program’s flagship American Memory project, in collaboration with other institutions nationwide, makes freely available more than 8.5 million American historical items.
In December 2000, Congress authorized the Library of Congress to develop and execute a congressionally approved plan for a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. A $99.8 million congressional appropriation was made to establish the program. The goal is to build a national network of committed partners working through a preservation architecture with defined roles and responsibilities. The complete text of the “Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program,” approved by Congress in December 2002, is available at: http://www.digitalpreservation.gov.