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Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > NDIIPP Partners Prepare for the "Year of Content"

November 5, 2007 -- The chief representatives of the eight original preservation project consortia in the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program convened on Nov. 5 at the Library to report on their current achievements and to join NDIIPP in kicking off the "year of content."

NDIIPP content partners recently met at the Library

NDIIPP content partners recently met at the Library

Martha Anderson, NDIIPP's director of program management, described the "year of content" as the next phase of NDIIPP activity designed to highlight the remarkable diversity of materials that have been collected and preserved by the partners.

Content has always been at the core of NDIIPP's preservation mission, but earlier phases of the program concentrated on building and strengthening the network of partners engaged with the digital preservation challenge, as well as developing preservation tools and services useful to the network.

Now that the technical and social networks have gained a foothold, NDIIPP is working to spotlight the diversity of digital materials being preserved by each project: state, regional and local government mapping information; Web sites and blogs; electronic journals; public television programming; international news broadcasts; social science datasets, and a variety of other materials important to the nation.

Transferring this content from the each partner to the Library is no simple task, and the initial work has concentrated on developing the technical tools and processes to bring the materials to the Library. Jane Mandelbaum, a special assistant in the Library's Information Technology Services, described the "bag and tag" content transfer concept, whereby content from each partner is placed in a digital "bag" and "tagged" with the minimal amount of information necessary to ensure that the transfer is valid. Once the Library is assured that these basic transfers can be successful, it will work with the partners to build packages of content that can contain more complex descriptive information. While these transfer experiments are taking place, the Library is also developing a Web content portal that will provide enhanced access to the materials and demonstrate the remarkable range of material being preserved.

Abbie Grotke, a digital media project coordinator at the Library, demonstrated several preliminary portal designs, the pages of which will provide a rich description of the collected content, as well as samples of the content being preserved by each partner. However, as meeting participants pointed out, the Library's ability to make the content widely available remains subject to complex rights and privacy issues. The NDIIPP program has been examining these issues, and the Library will be working with each partner on an individual basis to establish the set of materials that can be made available. Some access may initially be limited to the Library campus, the NDIIPP partners and to Congress, but there are significant collections that can be more widely disseminated.

This is the first step on the way to a truly interoperable national collection of preserved digital materials.