Library maps future of digital content

With $100 million in hand, the Library of Congress is looking for partners with matching funds to build a national digital information infrastructure.

The library this week called for proposals for up to six federal awards of $500,000 to $3 million each, to identify at-risk digital media and determine by next February the best ways to collect and preserve it. The deadline for proposals is Nov. 12.

"One digital area that's particularly at risk is Web sites, which change so rapidly or disappear completely," said Guy Lamolinara of the library's strategic initiatives office. He said one of the major tasks will be to "explore what parts of sites to capture and when, and what to do about any links."

Eligible media must be primarily in digital form without analog representations?for example, Lamolinara said, the Web sites of political campaigns, which give a fleeting glimpse of American history.

Public- and private-sector organizations or consortiums that compete for the library's awards must detail work plans and budgets to:

* Identify at-risk digital content in text, numeric, visual, audio, Web, database and geospatial formats that should be preserved

* Find the best practices for capturing and preserving the content and the effort that would be required to produce metadata

* Test methods of collecting Web content and receiving content directly from publishers or other providers

* Allocate the collection roles, including rights management.

The library's chosen partners must have experience with a data repository that has import and export functions, storage capacity of at least 2T and technical ability to manage the content.

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