Number 44 • March/April 2005
New Partnerships for Digital Preservation by Abby Smith
CLIR Seeks Input on New Strategic Plan by Nancy Davenport
New Partnerships for Digital Preservation
by Abby Smith
WHEN OUR DESCENDANTS want to see today’s data, journals, films, television, GIS data sets and software, or any other information resource, 50 to 100 years hence, where will they go? Chances are, they will go to the Internet or its successor to get access to retrospective data, as they do for contemporary data. But what will be there for the browsers to present these users on their handheld devices, mobile phones, digital paper, or other media du jour?
That is the question that the Library of Congress (LC), under a mandate from the U.S. Congress to facilitate preservation of and access to a wide variety of digital materials, is seeking to answer. The mandate reflects the Congress’s recognition that all sectors of our nation face challenges in managing born-digital content. Data are not only increasingly voluminous but also heterogeneous in format. Moreover, they are encoded in proprietary softwares that are replaced or updated annually. Many materials with scientific, policy, and cultural-heritage value are at risk of loss.
In December 2000, Congress directed LC to lead a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). It allocated a total of $100 million for the program. Of that sum, $75 million was to be spent on matching grants to the program’s preservation partners; the remainder was to cover planning and program-support activities.
Since then the library has completed its research-and-planning phase, submitted a plan to Congress, gained approval of that plan, and begun to implement it. (The plan and its supporting documentation are available at www.digitalpreservation.gov.) CLIR is one of a few organizations to which LC has turned for help as it planned the program, and CLIR continues to play a crucial role in program implementation and in communicating the preservation needs and aspirations of libraries, archives, and museums to the NDIIPP program.
After yearlong study and consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, from those who create data to those who archive it, LC concluded that when it comes to digital preservation, no single institution can do it all—even for its own digital assets. New types of partnerships and interdependencies must be nurtured to carry off the monumental task of building an infrastructure that can provide long-term access to digital data. It is upon this premise that NDIIPP has designed three major program elements that are being implemented in parallel:
- development of a network of preservation partners,
- development work on a technical preservation architecture, and
- funding of digital preservation research.
Developing a Network of Preservation Partners
The goals of the first element are to build an enduring network of preservation partnerships, identify and preserve at-risk digital content, develop scalable digital collection and preservation strategies, explore protocols and standards to support partnership operations, and support the development of tools, models, and methods for digital preservation.
As stipulated in the legislation, LC has entered into cooperative agreements that award to its partners, which are selected on a competitive basis, funds to model and test archiving activities and approaches. In fall 2004, LC announced partnerships with eight consortia consisting of more than 30 partners (see pp. 4–5). LC made these awards on the condition that each lead institution bring with it other partners—data archives, research libraries, data providers, federal and state government entities, even a law firm in one case—so that no one institution is a single unconnected dot but is rather a central node in the growing network. This round of grants commits $14.9 million using a one-to-one dollar match from the preservation partner institutions, for a total of more than $28 million over three years.
During the three years of award funding, these institutions will be deeply engaged in the most challenging issues confronting digital data managers. The challenges include developing coherent content selection and collection strategies, probing and documenting intellectual property and privacy laws and policies that impede preservation best practices, documenting the costs of archiving and developing models for who is bearing which costs, identifying and sharing best practices on a broad range of technical policy procedures, and, perhaps most important, learning how to negotiate partnership roles and build mechanisms of trust that will sustain those partnerships over time.
The Library of Congress is also partnering with state libraries and archives in a new program to develop digital preservation needs assessments at the state level.
Developing Work on a Technical Preservation Architecture
The second element of the program is building a technical preservation architecture that will serve as a framework to guide the development of a national preservation network. The design principles are few and easily summarized, but designing and testing according to these principles is a complex activity that involves many iterations. The principles are that the architecture must support institutional relationships, separate preservation and access, be constructed modularly and assembled over time, be able to upgrade parts without disruption of the whole, and use broadly adoptable standards and protocols. Work has begun with an archive ingest and handling test of digital data. LC is working with the Old Dominion University Computer Science Department, The Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries, Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources, and Harvard University Library to explore strategies for the ingest and preservation of digital archives.
Preservation research, the third element of the preservation program, will begin shortly with the award of joint LC and National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. The call for research proposals, which was issued by NSF, invites research in areas defined at an LC-NSF–sponsored workshop and a report entitled It’s About Time (available at http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/repor/NSF_LC_Final_Report.pdf.) The call for proposals asked for research in digital repository models; tools, technologies, and processes; and organizational, economic, and policy issues. NSF received more than 60 proposals, and awards will soon be announced.
In 2008, when LC reports to Congress on the progress made under the NDIIPP, it will focus on the following four areas:
- collection and selection strategies,
- preservation architecture,
- legal and regulatory constraints, and
- costs and economics of archiving.
CLIR Invites Community Input
The preservation partnerships, engaging in real-world learning, will help assess the nature of the challenges ahead, what kinds of solutions warrant further investment by Congress and other agencies, and what models of collaboration and interdependencies will best suit the needs of long-term commitments to stewardship. LC expects that several activities and investigations will complement and amplify the work done in each of the three program elements. One such activity that will be of special interest to the library and archival world is the Copyright Working Group, convened under the auspices of NDIIPP to investigate Section 108 exemptions that affect preserving institutions. LC will soon issue an announcement about the formation and membership of this group.
It is important that the library and archival communities let their interests be known to this effort and to other NDIIPP areas of investigation, so that the report to Congress can be shaped by the widest-possible stakeholder group. CLIR is available to take comments and suggestions from the community and to relay them to NDIIPP. Correspondence should be directed to Abby Smith by e-mail (email@example.com) or U.S. mail at the address found on this newsletter’s masthead.
CLIR Seeks Input on New Strategic Plan
by Nancy Davenport
CLIR IS WIDELY known as an organization that focuses on strategy. We look at the big picture. We continually track developments in the scholarly world, in the library community, and in the world of information and consider the implications of those changes for our programs, publications, and research.
To help support these key activities over the next few years, CLIR’s staff and Board members are developing a new strategic plan and research agenda. Our staff will complete a draft of the strategic plan in the early spring so that the Board can refine it at its April meeting.
To help get this work under way, at the October 2004 Board of Directors meeting, I briefed our Board members on research that other organizations such as OCLC, Outsell, and the Pew Trust have done on the information landscape. We looked at changes in information-seeking behavior, preferred learning styles, some of the economic and political contexts of a learning society, the societal role of the library, and the role of the librarian in the learning society.
We then undertook an examination of CLIR’s position in this changing landscape. We assessed CLIR’s role as an information organization and concluded that CLIR delivers a range of valuable services to the community. Foremost among these services, in the minds of many or our constituents, is the support of independent research on information issues and best practices. Another benefit is our persistent focus on the preservation of information resources. We also offer a national view on library and information issues and convene forums where experts from a variety of fields discuss the thorny issues facing the library community. Finally, we are a respected imprint.
In the few months since that meeting, at least three significant changes have taken place. The Internet Archive announced an effort to digitize book holdings from around the world through an international collaboration of libraries. Cornell University issued the findings of its study of the costs of open access. And in December, Google announced a partnership that will involve digitizing and making accessible portions of the holdings of several large research libraries. We expect that these developments will affect the information and scholarly communities and that they should be factored into our planning.
CLIR has been working in six program areas: resources for scholarship, digital libraries, economics of information, preservation awareness, leadership, and the international dimensions of these program areas. We are trying to determine whether these are still the right areas for research. Do they need to be modified or refined? Are they the areas that are the most important for CLIR and for the community?
There is an adage, “If you plan to work alone, plan alone.” CLIR does not plan to work alone over the next few years. We plan to work on the issues that are of most use to the scholarly and library communities and we invite you to join the conversation. As I have visited CLIR’s sponsors and talked with our colleagues, I have been gratified to hear that CLIR is a highly valued organization. To paraphrase what I have heard, CLIR is valued “because it thinks about the issues that we know are important but don’t have time to think about.”
If you are among those with whom I haven’t yet talked personally, I invite you to call me or to write about what you would like to see on CLIR’s research agenda. What do you need to think about but don’t have the time?
CLIR Appoints Selection Committee for 2005 Access to Learning Award
CLIR HAS APPOINTED the selection committee for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award for 2005. The award is given annually to a library, library agency, or comparable organization outside the United States that has been innovative in providing free public access to information. The selection committee will review applications and choose the award recipient. The award will be presented at the World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), to be held in Oslo in August 2005.
Rashidah Begum bt. Fazal Mohammed
Nancy Davenport (chair)
Council on Library and Information Resources
International Library Program
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Baerum Public Library
Bernard A. Margolis
Boston Public Library
University of Zimbabwe
Biblioteca del Congreso de la Nación
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Valentyna S. Pashkova
Director, Information Resource Center
IMF/World Bank Library
Professor and Dean Emeritus
DLF Names Aquifer Director
KATHERINE KOTT HAS been named director of the Digital Library Federation’s Aquifer initiative. Her appointment became effective January 1, 2005. Kott comes to the DLF from Stanford University Libraries, where she was head of cataloging and metadata services. As Aquifer director, she will continue to work from Stanford.
Aquifer is an initiative of the DLF that will support research, teaching, and learning with high-quality online special collections and distinctive information services. It will leverage extant digital collections, institutional capacities, curatorial expertise, and library services to benefit scholarly communities. Eleven DLF member libraries are currently participating in Aquifer. Aquifer’s products and services will be shared freely with other DLF participants and with the library community at large.
Kott brings to her position broad experience in academic library systems, and in technical and public services. Before coming to Stanford, she led the implementation services department at a major ILS vendor, coordinating the installation of systems at a wide range of libraries, including consortia.
NDIIPP’s Preservation Partnerships
THE LIBRARY OF Congress awarded funds to the following eight partnerships for projects to model and test archiving activities and approaches. The projects were selected to advance the goals of NDIIPP.
1. Develop Web archiving tools that libraries will use to capture, curate, and preserve collections of Web-based government and political information
Lead: California Digital Library at the University of California
Partners: New York University, University of North Texas, The Libraries, and the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge
Collaborators: San Diego Supercomputer Center, Stanford University Computer Science Department and Sun Microsystems Inc.
2. Lead the formation of a National Geospatial Federated Digital Repository to design an infrastructure and collect materials across the spectrum of geographic formats
Lead: University of California at Santa Barbara
Partner: Stanford University
3. Establish the first procedures, structures, and national standards necessary to preserve public television programs produced in digital formats
Lead: Educational Broadcasting Corporation (Thirteen/WNET New York)
Partners: WGBH Educational Foundation, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), New York University
4. Develop a MetaArchive of Southern Cultural Heritage by creating a distributed digital preservation network for critical and at-risk content relative to Southern culture and history
Lead: Emory University
Partners: The University of Louisville Libraries, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Libraries, Florida State University, Auburn University Libraries, Georgia Institute of Technology Library and Information Center
5. Develop criteria for determining which digital materials to capture and preserve, as not all digital material can or should be preserved
Lead: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Graduate School of Library and Information Science and National Center for Supercomputing Applications
Partners: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Tufts University Perseus Project, Michigan State University Library, and an alliance of state library agencies from Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, and Wisconsin
6. Preserve at-risk digital materials from the American business culture during the early years of the commercialization of the Internet, 1994-2001
Lead: University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business
Partners: Center for History and New Media at George Mason University; Gallivan, Gallivan and O’Melia LLC; Snyder, Miller, Orton Lawyers LLP; and the Internet Archive
7. Create a partnership to identify, acquire, and preserve data used in the study of social science
Lead: University of Michigan Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
Partners: The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut, the Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Henry A. Murray Research Center at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard, the Electronic and Special Media Records Service Division of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Harvard-MIT Data Center
8. Collect and preserve digital geospatial data resources, including digitized maps, from state and local government agencies in North Carolina
Lead: North Carolina State University Libraries
Partner: North Carolina Center for Geographic Information & Analysis
Frye Institute Participants Named
THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS have been selected for participation in the 2005 Frye Leadership Institute. The Instiute will be held June 5–17 at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kenning Arlitsch, University of Utah
Charles Bartel, Carnegie Mellon University
Sharon Blanton, Scottsdale Community College
Andrew Bonamici, University of Oregon
Scott Britton, Washington University Libraries
Debra Bruxvoort, Central College
W. Gardner Campbell, University of Mary Washington
Beth Chancellor, University of Missouri-Columbia
Helen Chu, California Polytechnic State Univ., San Luis Obispo
Robert Clougherty, Jr., Tennessee Technological University
Sylvia Contreras, Edgewood College
Lorie Edwards, University of South Carolina
John Fritz, University of Maryland, Baltimore Cty.
Chandra Gigliotti-Guridi, Hampden-Sydney College
Chris Gill, Gonzaga University
Al Gonzalez, Cornell University
Lynn Gunn, Marquette University
Richard Holmgren, Allegheny College
Judith House, Georgetown University
Jim Jorstad, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
Dawn Kight, Southern University and A & M College
Barron Koralesky, Macalester College
David Levin, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Julie Little, University of Tennessee
William Mayer, The George Washington University
Jenny Mehmedovic, University of Kansas
Mary Parlett-Sweeney, Union College
Medaline Philbert, Pace University
Faye Priestly, Johnson C. Smith University
Ulrich Rauch, University of British Columbia
Michael Reder, Connecticut College
Jane Schillie, University of Miami
Tracy Schroeder, University of San Francisco
Sonya Shepherd, Georgia Southern University
Dale Smith, University of Oregon
Sarah Stein, North Carolina State University
Betsy Tippens, University of Washington, Bothell
Timothy Tolson, University of Virginia
Andrew Treloar, Monash University
Jeffrey Trzeciak, Wayne State University
Joseph Vaughan, UCLA
Richard Wake, University of Southampton
Carolyn Walters, Indiana University, Bloomington
Jennifer Ward, University of Washington Libraries
John Williams, University of Michigan