January 22, 1999 Library of Congress and Copyright Office Sign Landmark Agreement with UMI

Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

The Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office today announced that they have signed a Cooperative Agreement with UMI, a Bell & Howell company, that enables electronic copyright registration and deposit of dissertations with the U.S. Copyright Office. In addition, the agreement designates UMI's ProQuest Digital Dissertations as the official off-site repository for a collection of more than 100,000 dissertations and theses converted to digital form since 1997, as well as those to be produced in the future. The agreement marks the first time that the Library has designated an official off-site repository for digital collections deposited with the Library of Congress.

Winston Tabb, Associate Librarian for Library Services, said, "For the Library, this is a major step that represents an innovative method for expanding our collection of digital research tools and for improving access, while reducing our costs. UMI's digital dissertations program also will enable us to provide access to the increasing number of newly created dissertations that are available only in electronic form."

ProQuest Digital Dissertations, a comprehensive digital archive of every dissertation submitted to UMI for publication from January 1997, was developed in concert with UMI's dissertation microfilming and publishing venture. Through ProQuest Digital Dissertations, UMI is now registering and depositing copies of dissertations in digital form, using CORDS (Copyright Office Electronic Registration, Recordation, and Deposit System) developed by the U.S. Copyright Office in the Library of Congress. The U.S. Copyright Office is providing UMI with all required software and technical assistance. For the near future, the Library will also continue to acquire a microform version of all dissertations as the "best edition" for archival purposes.

"This agreement is one example of the many benefits of our CORDS system that allows us to accept applications for copyright registration and deposits on-line. It is a major step forward in the application of advanced technology for providing an efficient and innovative copyright registration and deposit mechanism," said Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters. "It also provides an effective way for the Library of Congress to acquire new electronic publications for its national digital library collections."

The agreement builds upon a long-term partnership UMI and the Library of Congress have enjoyed since the late 1930s, when UMI began registering dissertations with the U.S. Copyright Office. For the past 60 years, UMI has annually submitted nearly 20,000 dissertation titles for copyright registration and several thousand others under mandatory deposit requirements.

"The Library's agreement with UMI affirms both the historical value and growing importance of UMI's vast archive of doctoral dissertations and masters theses in today's knowledge economy," said Dan Arbour, Vice President of UMI's Library Division. "UMI's archives, in both digital and microfilm formats, will play a role in helping the Library fulfill its mission," which is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations.

The copyright system has been a part of the Library of Congress since 1870. In addition to administering the copyright law, the U.S. Copyright Office creates and maintains the national public record of copyright registrations and recorded documents, provides technical assistance and policy advice on copyright issues to Congress and executive branch agencies, offers information to the general public and obtains copies of works for the collections of the Library of Congress. For more information, visit the U.S. Copyright Office on the World Wide Web at www.copyright.gov/.

UMI publishes doctoral dissertations from more than 99 percent of the accredited institutions of higher education in North America, as well as a growing number of universities throughout Europe and Asia. UMI's Dissertation Abstracts database, compiled during the past 60 years, surpassed 1.5 million titles in 1998. UMI collects, organizes, and provides value-added information to libraries (academic, public, government, and business) and schools (grades K-12). More information about UMI is available on the Internet at www.umi.com External.


PR 99-007
ISSN 0731-3527