Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004
Jennifer Colvin, California Digital Library (510) 287-3384


UC libraries will develop tools to preserve at-risk, web-based government information

The Library of Congress announced today (Thursday) that it has awarded a $2.4 million grant to the University of California's California Digital Library 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' National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, established by Congress to build a network of partners throughout the country to preserve online information.

" I am delighted that the Library of Congress has recognized the importance of the work of the California Digital Library to preserve online government information," said U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. "This valuable grant will help the University of California library system archive our state's fascinating political history."

This grant to the California Digital Library (CDL) will support development of that infrastructure and the 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 activities and movements, such as the California gubernatorial recall election of 2003.

The issue of digital preservation has become more important in recent years, especially for government information. More than 65 percent of all government publications are now posted directly online without a print counterpart. With the half-life of government Web pages at four months, much of this information is at risk of being permanently lost.

" A rapidly growing proportion of our society's political, economic and cultural capital is produced and traded online," said Daniel Greenstein, university librarian, California Digital Library. "Not preserving this part of our collective memory has implications for our society that are as disturbing as they are profound. They threaten the fundaments of political accountability and economic growth, as well as the future of research, teaching and learning."

The CDL will partner with New York University, University of North Texas, The Libraries and the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge to build the infrastructure and to use it in the development of at least seven distinct Web archives. The project will be undertaken in close collaboration with the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, Stanford University Computer Science Department, and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Curatorial collaborators include New York University's Tamiment Library, University of North Texas Libraries, Stanford University Library's Social Sciences Resource Center, Arizona State Library and Archive, and the UC libraries including the UCLA Online Campaign Literature Archive and UC Berkeley's Institute for Government Studies Library and Institute of Industrial Relations Library.

" The UC libraries' digital preservation program at CDL looks forward to contributing to what must become a global effort," Greenstein said. "With support of the Library of Congress and in partnership with New York University and the University of North Texas, we will develop a reusable infrastructure of tools that will lower the costs involved to other information organizations that must become engaged with digital preservation if we are to secure our past as a critical step into our future."

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.

About the California Digital Library

Through the use of technology and innovation, the California Digital Library (http://www.cdlib.org/) supports the assembly and creative use of scholarship for the University of California libraries and the communities they serve. Established in 1997 as a UC library, the CDL has become one of the largest digital libraries in the world. In partnership with the UC libraries, the CDL established a digital preservation program in 2002 to ensure long-term access to the digital information that supports and results from the research, teaching and learning at UC.

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