By AUDREY FISCHER
Legislative Support to Congress
Serving Congress is the Library’s highest priority, particularly in the area of legislative support. During the year, the Library provided Congress with the most current research and analysis relevant to the war on terrorism, homeland security and many other issues of national and international concern. The Congressional Research Service delivered more than 933,000 research responses to members of Congress and committees. The Law Library staff wrote 668 legal research reports, special studies and memoranda in response to congressional inquiries.
The Copyright Office provided policy advice and technical assistance to Congress on important copyright laws and related issues. The Legislative Information System, developed solely for use by Congress and congressional staff members, was upgraded to provide enhanced access to information on past and current legislation through all facets of the lawmaking process.
In 2006, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) celebrated its 75th year of ensuring that all may read. Often referred to as the “talking book program,” NLS was born March 31, 1931, when President Herbert Hoover signed the Pratt-Smoot Act into law, authorizing the Library of Congress to provide embossed books for blind people in the United States and its territories. Since then, the service has grown to a staff of 130 that annually circulates more than 24 million copies of braille and recorded books and magazines to approximately 500,000 readers through a network of 132 cooperating libraries. NLS is also preparing for a major upgrade to the next generation of audio technology-digital talking books.
The Cataloging in Publication (CIP) program marked its 35th anniversary in June. The program allows participating publishers to obtain the CIP record in advance so that it can be printed on the verso of the title page at the time of publication as a service to libraries and book dealers. In 1996, the Electronic Cataloging in Publication Program (ECIP) was launched to allow publishers to electronically transmit CIP information via the Internet. In 2007, ECIP will become the standard mode of transmission.
The Library celebrated the one-year anniversary of the StoryCorps national mobile recording-booth tour with the return to Washington, D.C., of the mobile recording booth. The StoryCorps project was inspired by the Library’s oral history recordings made by
the Works Progress Administration during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Like the WPA recordings, the interviews collected by the StoryCorps project are housed in the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. They join the Veterans History Project collection, another important documentary project. The collection has grown to approximately 45,000 submissions, with more than 150,000 items accessible online at www.loc.gov/vets/.
During the year, the Library provided Congress with timely information on important issues surrounding homeland security, while security of the staff, visitors, the collections and the facilities remained a high priority.
The Library continued to implement its Strategic Plan for Safeguarding the Collections, 2005-2008, and its Computer Security Awareness Program. In coordination with other agencies on Capitol Hill, the Library continued upgrading its perimeter security, entrance and exit screening procedures, emergency preparedness capabilities, and internal controls safeguarding the Library’s priceless collections. During the year, the focus was on building an emergency preparedness program and developing a Continuity of Operations Plan for a pandemic health emergency. A staff Emergency Preparedness Web site was launched in February. The Computer Emergency Notification System, which alerts individuals about emergencies in various locations and provides all-clear messages, was installed on more than 4,600 Library personal computers. Work continued on installing a public-address system in all three Library buildings on Capitol Hill.
The Library in the 21st Century
On June 27, the Librarian of Congress testified before the Committee on House Administration on the developments, initiatives and challenges that are transforming the Library of Congress in the 21st century. The Librarian noted that “the need to stay ahead of the digital curve affects nearly every aspect of the Library’s work,” such as sustaining, preserving and providing access to the collections. He also addressed the need to transform the workforce into “objective knowledge navigators who can make knowledge useful from both the artifactual and the digital world.”
During the year, work continued on new and existing Library programs and initiatives that capitalize on the latest technologies. These include a plan for a New Visitors Experience, creation of a World Digital Library, building a collaborative National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, expansion of the Global Legal Information Network, construction of storage facilities in Fort Meade, Md. (for paper-based collections) and the National Audiovisual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Va. (for multimedia collections), and reengineering of the Copyright Office.
The Copyright Office continued the effort to reengineer public delivery of copyright services in order to provide more capability online, ensure prompt availability of new copyright records, provide better tracking of individual items in the workflow and increase the acquisition of digital works for Library of Congress collections. Scheduled for implementation in 2007, the Copyright Office Reengineering Program reached two major milestones in 2006, with the move of nearly all staff and contractors to swing space in Arlington, Va., and on Capitol Hill to permit reconfiguration of the existing space in the Madison Building in order to handle the new processes.
In conjunction with the construction of the Capitol Visitor Center, which will include a passageway connecting the Library to the U.S. Capitol, the Library is developing a plan to introduce the magnificent Thomas Jefferson Building and the Library’s unparalleled collections to a growing number of on-site and virtual visitors. With a theme of “Bringing Knowledge into Life,” the New Visitors Experience will use interactive technology to help visitors explore the Library on-site as well as online. New exhibitions will highlight areas of the Library’s vast collections such as the early Americas and the creation of the United States. Visitors will be issued a “Passport to Knowledge,” which they can electronically bookmark in order to continue their journey of exploration on the Library’s Web site. During the year, a Library-wide project management team was established to consider all aspects of implementation. The Library hired a project management company to coordinate the various pieces of the project and established a New Visitors Experience project management office from which to oversee the project. At year’s end, approximately half of the required $20 million to $25 million had been raised through private donations.
During the year following the Librarian of Congress’ suggestion to create a World Digital Library (WDL), which he proposed before the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO in June 2005, the Library received a $3 million gift from Google Inc. to develop the plan for such a project. The WDL will draw on the experience of the Library of Congress and other national libraries and cultural institutions around the world to create an unprecedented collection of significant primary materials in digital format. The project will build on existing bilateral digital library partnerships with institutions in six countries (Brazil, Egypt, France, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain). A Web site was developed to report on the project’s progress (www.worlddigitallibrary.org). At year’s end, the Library of Congress provided the National Library of Egypt with equipment to digitize manuscripts documenting the history of science in the Islamic world from 800 to 1600.
In 2000, the U.S. Congress asked the Library of Congress to lead a collaborative National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) to preserve the nation’s digital resources. Since the inception of the NDIIPP (www.digitalpreservation.gov), the Library has made significant advances in demonstrating the feasibility and importance of assembling a national network of partners to collect, preserve and make available a universal collection of born-digital materials. The process of building a collaborative network continued in fiscal 2006. Individually and collectively, the partners made significant strides during the year in meeting the challenges of digital preservation. The program made progress in analyzing the impact of the copyright law on digital preservation. NDIIPP also continued to advise state and local governments about preserving digital government records. The partners met twice during the year to share information.
The NDIIPP Preserving Creative America project was launched at a meeting in Los Angeles in April that gathered more than 50 private sector producers of digital content to assess their plans for the long-term preservation of this material. In July, the Library’s Office of Strategic Initiatives issued an announcement that sought project proposals, with a deadline for submissions on Sept. 22, 2006.
Acquiring, cataloging, preserving, housing and making accessible the Library’s unparalleled collections are central to the Library’s mission.
The Library receives millions of items each year from copyright deposits; federal agencies; and purchases, exchanges, and gifts. During the year, the size of the Library’s collection grew to more than 134 million items, an increase of more than 2 million over the previous year. This figure included more than 32 million cataloged books and other print materials, 59.5 million manuscripts, 14 million microforms, 5.3 million maps, 5.5 million items in the music collection and 14 million visual materials (photographs, posters, moving images, prints and drawings). During the year, the Library’s staff handled more than 633,000 reference requests that were received in-person, on the telephone, and through written and electronic correspondence. The Library circulated nearly 1.3 million items for use within the Library.
Significant acquisitions made possible by the James Madison Council during the fiscal year included a rare Japanese atlas, Nihun bunkei zu (Kyoto, 1666); the December 1941 issue of All-Star Comics in which the character of Wonder Woman makes her first appearance; and more than 40 retrospective items purchased with the Miller American History Trust Fund established by Madison Council member Edward Miller to enrich the general collections in the areas of U.S. history, science, economics and military science.
During the year, the Library also acquired the following significant items and collections:
- The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Archives
- Test-pressing recordings of blues artist Robert Johnson (1911-1938)
- A collection of Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter recordings (1941)
- Papers of gay-rights pioneer Frank Kameny
- Papers of journalist Mary McGrory
- Papers of Allen Neuharth, founder of USA Today and the Newseum
- Additions to the papers of Ralph Ellison, Leonard Bernstein and Zbigniew Brzezinski
- Sabin Americana, an online database that provides full-text access to an extensive microfilm collection of documents related to the history of the Americas from 1500-1926
During the year, the five Bibliographic Access divisions and the Serial Record Division cataloged a total of 346,182 volumes—a 10 percent increase over the previous year’s production. The Library of Congress continued to collaborate with the broader library community to develop cataloging guidelines and determine how best to meet the challenges of new technology. In April, the Library announced the decision to cease creating or updating series authority records, effective June 1.
The Preservation Directorate completed nearly 10.5 million assessments, treatments, rehousings and reformatting for books, paper, photographs, and audiovisual and other items. Through the coordinated efforts of the Preservation Directorate’s divisions and programs, nearly 7.7 million items were conserved, mass deacidified or reformatted—an increase of 7.6 percent over the previous year. The Library also worked cooperatively with other institutions to preserve films, sound recordings, newspapers and digital materials.
To house its burgeoning collections, the Library continued to build new storage facilities at Fort Meade, Md., and Culpeper, Va. With Module 1 at Fort Meade completely filled, Library staff transferred 414,986 items to Module 2 during the fiscal year, bringing the total to 1,991,889 items stored at the facility by year’s end. Planning continued for the opening of Modules 3 and 4 early in calendar year 2007.
Planning continued for the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center (NAVCC) in Culpeper, scheduled to open in 2007. The 45-acre NAVCC campus, which is being built with private-sector support from the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI), will house the Library’s recorded sound, videotape, safety film and nitrate film collections. The site will also consolidate the activities of the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division in one location. During the year, PHI completed Phase 1 of the construction (the Collections Building and Central Plant). The Architect of the Capitol took possession of the Central Plant in November 2005, and in February 2006 the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division began relocating more than 5.7 million sound and moving image collection items and related paper documents into the Collections Building. By year’s end, nearly half of the collection items had been relocated to Culpeper from the Library’s existing storage facilities.
The Library continued to expand its electronic services to Congress and the nation through its award-winning Web site (www.loc.gov). During the fiscal year, more than 4.6 billion hits were recorded on all of the Library’s computer systems, and the system tracked nearly 89 million visits totaling 458 million page views to the site. For the second consecutive year, the Library’s Web site received an outstanding Web site award for excellence in development from the Web Marketing Association.
More than 11 million items from the Library of Congress and other partner institutions are now available online or in digital archives. During the year, two new multimedia historical collections were added to the American Memory Web site (http://memory.loc.gov), bringing the total to 135 thematic presentations. Two existing American Memory collections were augmented with new materials. One new collection was added to the Global Gateway Web site—the site containing international materials—and three existing collections on this site were expanded with new content (http://international.loc.gov). In addition, five new Library exhibitions were mounted on the Exhibitions Web site (www.loc.gov/exhibits/), bringing the total to 68. The THOMAS legislative information system (www.loc.gov/thomas/), which was upgraded in the fall of 2006, continued to keep the public informed about the legislative process.
During the year, the Law Library introduced several new features to the Global Legal Information Network (www.glin.gov), a consortium of 46 government agencies and international institutions that contribute official texts of laws and related legal materials to a database that is accessible over the Internet. The system was expanded to include nine additional languages. Retrospective material was added, including the laws of 11 countries, dating back to 1950. The Law Library also launched a new Web site to provide legal information regarding the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (www.loc.gov/law/public/saddam/).
The Music Division launched four major Web presentations: The Performing Arts Encyclopedia (www.loc.gov/performingarts/encyclopedia/), Song of America (www.loc.gov/creativity/hampson/), Concerts (www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/) and Great Conversations in Music (http://memory.loc.gov/cocoon/ihas/html/greatconversations/).
The Prints and Photographs Division reached a milestone with the addition of the one-millionth digitized image to the online catalog (www.loc.gov/rr/print/catalog.html). The Geography and Map Division added the ten-thousandth map to its online offerings (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/).
Since 2000, the Library’s Web Capture Team has preserved content on the Web pertaining to a variety of topics, such as U.S. elections and the Iraq War (www.loc.gov/webcapture/). This multidisciplinary team of Library staff, representing cataloging, legal, public services, and technology services, has been studying and implementing methods to evaluate, select, collect, catalog, preserve and provide access to these materials for future generations of researchers. In fiscal 2006, the team developed thematic Web archives on such topics as the U.S. mid-term election of 2006, the crisis in Darfur, Hurricane Katrina, the Supreme Court nomination and appointment process, and the 109th Congress.
Creativity Across America
The Library took its show on the road during the year with the 11-city “Song of America” tour featuring renowned baritone Thomas Hampson. The tour celebrated creativity in America by highlighting the Library’s unparalleled collections of songs through concerts, displays, master classes, recordings and cybercasts. Multiple events were held in each city, including workshops for educators wishing to use the Library’s digital resources in the classroom. More than two dozen congressional offices participated when the tour came to their home states. The Librarian and Deputy Librarian of Congress, along with many members of the Library’s staff, participated in the tour.
Throughout the year, the Library sponsored hundreds of special events and public programs such as concerts, exhibitions, films and lectures (www.loc.gov/loc/events/). Many of these were webcast live or at a later date on the Library’s Webcasts site (www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/).
The National Book Festival—the Library’s signature event—has grown in popularity, with more than 100,000 people attending the sixth annual book festival on Sept. 30, 2006. Sponsored by the Library and hosted by First Lady Laura Bush, the festival featured more than 70 award-winning authors, illustrators and poets discussing their work. As part of the book festival’s theme of Lifelong Literacy, the Library and the Ad Council announced a new campaign to encourage children in grades four to six to “explore new worlds” through reading. The campaign will include a series of public service announcements and a new presentation on the Library’s Web site at www.loc.gov/literacy/.
Honors and Awards
The Librarian of Congress received the Hollywood Film Preservation Award for his advocacy and leadership in the preservation of the nation’s film heritage.
Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters was honored by the District of Columbia Chapter of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. for her 40 years of service to the Copyright Office. She was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Los Angeles Copyright Society.
Constance Carter, head of the Science Reference Section in the Science, Technology, and Business Division; Michael W. Grunberger, then head of the Hebraic Section in the African and Middle Eastern Division; and Thomas Mann, reference librarian in the Main Reading Room, Humanities and Social Sciences Division, received the first Madisonian Awards established by the James Madison Council for excellence and dedication to building, sustaining and providing access to the collections of the Library of Congress.
At year’s end, the Librarian of Congress presented historians John Hope Franklin and Yu Ying-shih with the third John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Humanity for achievements in their respective studies of African-American and Chinese history and culture.