Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217; Rob Lanesy, Ameritech (312) 364-3616

December 23, 1996

Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition Attracts More Than 75 Applications

Winners To Receive Awards To Digitize Their Americana Collections

The 1996 Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition generated more than 75 eligible applications, which are currently being evaluated by a blue-ribbon panel.

"We are gratified that the response to the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition has been so positive, judging by the number of applications and the variety of institutions that have proposed projects for digitization," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

The two groups designated in the competition -- institutions that belong to tile Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and those that do not -- are well represented among the applications. Thirty-two applications, or approximately 42 percent, are from ARL members, and 44 applications, approximately 58 percent, are from non-ARL institutions. The applications come from institutions in 31 states.

For the first year of the competition, preference is being given to collections fro period 1850-1920.

"We are delighted that so many libraries have caught the vision of this important movement," said Lana Porter, President and CEO of Ameritech Library Services. "And we moveme are proud that the Ameritech Foundation has ele cted to sponsor this gift of information to the world.

While the Library of Congress has taken responsibility for administering the review process for the competition, Library staff will not be members of the panels evaluating tile applications. The applications will be reviewed by a series of three independent panels that will make the assessments, leading to the announcement of the final winners at the end of March 1997.

The first panel will assess the historical significance and the breadth of interest of the proposals; a second panel will review the technical viability of the proposals for digitization. Evaluators from these first two panels will be convened by the director of the Division of Preservation and Access at the National Endowment for the Humanities. A third panel, to be convened by the president of the Council on Library Resources and the commission on Preservation and Access, will select the final winners from those proposals recommended most highly by the two prior panels.

The Library of Congress has thus ensured that experienced historians, teachers and librarians from a variety of institutions -- who will be among the ultimate users of these digital materials -- will make the judgments concerning significance and utility.

Eight to 10 awards of up to $75,000 will be announced by March 31, 1997, for projects that complement or augment the digitized collections already available from the National Digital Library Program at http://www.loc.gov/. Awards will also be niade in 1998 and 1999, based on applications submitted in 1997 and 1998.

The Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition is made possible by a $2 million gift from Ameritech to the Library. The competition is open to any U.S. institution (except federal institutions) wanting to digitize and place on the Internet collections relating to American history and culture.

The goal of the NDL Program (http://www.loc.gov/) is to make freely available over the Internet millions of items by the year 2000, in collaboration with other institutions. Ameritech's contribution will help the Library meet that goal by providing funds to libraries and other institutions to aid them in the critical, yet expensive, task of making their unique American collections widely available to anyone with access to the World Wide Web.

The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, with more than 110 million items, including the papers of 23 U.S. presidents. Its collections are in nearly every language and format -- from Chinese woodblock prints to compact disks. Founded in 1800 to serve the reference needs of Congress, the Library has grown into an unparalleled treasure house of knowledge and creativity.

Ameritech (NYSE: AIT) serves millions of customers in 50 states and 40 countries. Ameritech provides a full range of communications services, including local and long distance telephone, cellular, paging, security, monitoring, cable TV, electronic commerce, on-line services and more. In 1996 Ameritech (http://www.ameritech.com (external link)) contributed more than $24.5 million to projects and programs that address educational and community needs where Ameritech has a business presence. Ameritech Library Services develops and distributes library management systems and information access products worldwide. With headquarters in Provo, Utah, and offices in more than 20 cities and countries around the world, the company serves 3,500 client libraries in 34 countries and is the world's leading provider of library automation software.

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PR 96-170
12/23/96
ISSN 0731-3527

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