July 21, 2006 Library Partnership Supports Preservation of Foreign News Broadcasts

Agreement to Ensure Access to TV Programming of Long-Term Research Interest

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Library of Congress has entered into a cooperative agreement that will ensure that high-interest foreign news broadcasts such as those from Al-Jazeerah and from Pakistan, Russia and the Philippines are archived and available for future research.

The agreement is with SCOLA, a nonprofit educational corporation that receives and retransmits television programming of long-term research value from around the world in native languages. Under this cooperative agreement, a minimum of 3,750 hours of programming in digital form will be archived by SCOLA over a six-month period and made available to the Library of Congress and its researchers.

Funding support is provided by the Library of Congress through the congressionally mandated National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). SCOLA will match the $250,000 provided by the Library, as required by the legislation. The agreement, subject to continuing matching contributions from SCOLA, is for an initial period of six months, renewable up to four years.

The NDIIPP initiative (www.digitalpreservation.gov), which is led by the Library of Congress, is focused on the long-term preservation of important historic and cultural digital materials for which no analog equivalent exists.

SCOLA (www.scola.org External) has agreements with approximately 90 countries to obtain and disseminate copies of foreign television programs. While in the past SCOLA has retained broadcast material for only a brief period, it is developing a capability to archive the programs it now transmits digitally.


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. … In addition to developing this strategy, the plan shall set forth, in concert with the Copyright Office, the policies, protocols and strategies for the long-term preservation of such materials, including the technological infrastructure required at the Library of Congress."

The legislation mandates that the Library work with federal entities such as the Secretary of Commerce, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and "other federal, research and private libraries and institutions with expertise in telecommunications technology and electronic commerce policy." The goal is to build a network of committed partners with defined roles and responsibilities, supported through a preservation architecture.

The Library of Congress digital strategy is formulated in concert with a study, commissioned by the Librarian of Congress and undertaken by the National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. "LC 21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress" was issued July 26, 2000, and made several recommendations, including that the Library, working with other institutions, take the lead in the preservation and archiving of digital materials.

The complete text of "Preserving Our Digital Heritage: Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" is available at www.digitalpreservation.gov. This report includes an explanation of how the plan was developed, whom the Library worked with to develop the plan and the key components of the digital preservation infrastructure. Congress approved the plan in January 2003.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Through its National Digital Library (NDL) Program, it is also one of the leading providers of noncommercial intellectual content on the Internet (www.loc.gov). The NDL Program’s flagship American Memory project, in collaboration with other institutions nationwide, makes freely available more than 10.5 million American historical items.


PR 06-147
ISSN 0731-3527