Information is being produced in greater quantities and with greater frequency than at any time in history. Electronic media, especially the Internet, make it possible for almost anyone to become a "publisher." How will society preserve this information and make it available to future generations? How will libraries and other repositories classify this information so that their patrons can find it with the same ease that they can locate a book on a shelf?
These questions and others are being addressed by a program led by the Library of Congress and a host of other participants from the public and private sectors. The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program has been generously funded by the U.S. Congress and will seek gifts and in-kind donations to achieve its mission.
In December 2000, Congress authorized the Library of Congress to develop and execute a congressionally approved plan for a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. A $99.8 million congressional appropriation was made to establish the program. According to Conference Report (H. Rept. 106-1033), "The overall plan should set forth a strategy for the Library of Congress, in collaboration with other federal and nonfederal entities, to identify a national network of libraries and other organizations with responsibilities for collecting digital materials that will provide access to and maintain those materials."
You can read the conference report on the THOMAS Web site. The site is named for Thomas Jefferson, whose private library was the "seed" for the Library of Congress's collections. (See the October Wise Guide for more on Jefferson's role in the history of the Library. All past issues of the Wise Guide are available from the Archives.) THOMAS is a free service providing the latest information on the business of the U.S. Congress. Information is available from the 93rd Congress (1973-1974) to the present session, the 108th Congress (2003-2004).
The complete text, including a brief executive summary, of the "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" is available at www.digitalpreservation.gov.