By GAIL FINEBERG
The Library's final fiscal year 2001 budget, approved by Congress on Dec. 15 and signed into law by President Clinton on Dec. 21, totals $547.2 million, including a special appropriation of $99.8 million to begin a major undertaking to develop standards and a nationwide collecting strategy to build a national repository of digital materials.
The Library's basic budget for 2001 remained largely unchanged from the version that emerged from a congressional conference committee on July 27, when $448.5 million was authorized for salaries, expenses, furniture and furnishings, representing a $21 million increase (4.9 percent) from the fiscal 2000 budget.
Before approving the final budget in December, Congress gave the Library an extra $100 million for national digital collection and preservation, but then cut the Library's and other agencies' budgets across the board by .22 percent to reduce overall spending. The effect of the rescission was to eliminate $1.2 million from the Library's 2001 budget and reduce the special appropriation to $99.8 million.
Until the Library's final budget was signed into law as part of the Legislative Branch Act of 2001 (P.L. 106-554), the Library operated at last year's spending level under 21 continuing resolutions passed by Congress between the end of the last fiscal year, on Sept. 30, and Dec. 21, when the new spending authorization took effect.
Collaborative Digital Strategy
The special appropriation authorizes the Library to spend an initial $25 million to develop and execute a congressionally approved strategic plan for a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. Congress specified that, of this amount, $5 million may be spent for planning and to acquire and preserve digital information that may otherwise vanish during the plan development-and-approval cycle. These funds will remain available until expended.
Congress also directed the Library to seek private funds, to be received by March 31, 2003. Congress will match every dollar raised, including in-kind contributions, up to $75 million, for the digital information preservation project.
The Library already has begun to formulate a national digital strategy, building on the work of its Digital Futures Group and the recommendations of a July 26, 2000, report issued by a committee of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The report, commissioned by the Librarian, recommended that the Library take the lead in a national, collaborative effort to archive and preserve digital information, especially those "born digital" materials that exist only in digital formats.
Following congressional directives, the Library will collaborate with federal and nonfederal partners to establish responsibilities for what will be collected and preserved and by whom, facilitate an understanding of the copyright issues and develop protocols for electronic deposit, and develop the technical standards for repository architecture and preservation methods. The Library will execute this strategy in cooperation with stakeholders within the Library and in the creative, publishing, technology and copyright communities in the United States and abroad.
In its authorizing legislation, Congress specifically instructed the Library to work jointly with the Secretary of Commerce, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Archives and Records Administration. The legislation also states that the Library will seek participation of "other federal, research and private libraries and institutions with expertise in the collection and maintenance of archives of digital materials," including the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Research Libraries Group, the Online Computer Library Center and the Council on Library and Information Resources.
Congress also emphasized partnership with creators of the digital medium. A Dec. 15 House conference report on the special authorization said: "The information and technology industry that has created this new medium should be a contributing partner in addressing digital access and preservation issues inherent in the new digital information environment."
The conference report directs the Library "to be mindful of conclusions drawn in a recent National Academy of Sciences report concerning the Library's trend toward insularity and isolation from its clients and peers in the transition toward digital content."
Operating in 2001
Including funds from all sources, the Library will have $699.2 million available in fiscal 2001. Fund sources are the $547.2 million appropriation, including authority to spend receipts of $36 million; $12.8 million in revolving funds; $43.2 million in gift and trust funds, a large part of which is earmarked for the National Digital Library Program; $80 million in reimbursable programs, such as those operated by FEDLINK and the Federal Research Division; and $16 million that the Architect of the Capitol is authorized to spend on Library projects.
Appropriated funds include, after the rescission, $73.4 million for the Congressional Research Service; $38.4 million for the Copyright Office, which will have offsetting collections of $29.3 million; and $48.5 million for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
Conferees, before the .22 percent across-the-board program cut, had approved $8.5 million for mandatory pay increases; $10 million for the Russian Leadership Program; $5.95 million for Hands Across America, a project to train teachers how to incorporate the Library's digital collections into school curricula; $500,000 for arrearage reduction; $1.2 million for mass deacidification to protect embrittled books; $250,000 for the National Film Preservation Board; $404,000 for a digitization pilot with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; $7.6 million for nonpersonal digitization costs; $618,000 to open the first offsite storage facility at Fort Meade; $300,000 for National Digital Library Program servers and storage; $2.3 million for security; and $4.3 million for a high-speed transmission line between the Library and educational facilities, libraries or networks serving western North Carolina.
Ms. Fineberg is editor of the Gazette, the Library's staff newsletter.