National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program

National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program

The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) is an archival program led by the Library of Congress to archive and provide access to digital resources. The U.S. Congress established the program in 2000. The Library was chosen because of its mission to "sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations," and also because of its role as one of the leading providers of high-quality content on the Internet. The Library of Congress has formed a national network of partners dedicated to preserving specific types of digital content that is at risk of loss.

In July 2010, the Library launched a National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) to extend the work of NDIIPP to more institutions. The new organization will focus on several goals. It will develop improved preservation standards and practices; work with experts to identify categories of digital information that are most worthy of preservation; and take steps to incorporate content into a national collection. It will provide national leadership for digital preservation education and training. The new organization will also provide communication and outreach for all aspects of digital preservation. The NDSA now consists of a core set of founding members drawn from current NDIIPP project partners. Those members will develop a roadmap for immediate action, including a process for expanding membership.[1]



The preservation of digital content has become a major challenge for libraries and archives whose mission is to preserve the intellectual and cultural heritage of the nation. In 1998 the Library of Congress began to develop a digital strategy with a group of senior managers who were charged with assessing the roles and responsibilities of the Library in the digital age. This oversight group was headed by the Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives, the Associate Librarian for Library Services, and the Register of Copyrights. This group held several planning meetings to assess the current state of digital archiving and preservation.

The Librarian of Congress James H. Billington commissioned the National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the Library's readiness to meet the challenges of the rapidly evolving digital world. They recommended that the Library, working with other federal and non-federal institutions, take the lead in a national, cooperative effort to archive and preserve digital information.[2]

In December 2000, Congress appropriated up to $100 million ($75 million of which was slated for dollar for dollar cost matching) for the effort. Congress rescinded $47 million in unspent funds in 2007. In 2009, NDIIPP received about $6.5 million as a line item in the Library's annual budget appropriation.

Congressional legislation

The U.S. Congress has asked the Library of Congress to lead a collaborative project, called the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. In December 2000, Congress passed special legislation (Public Law 106-554) in recognition of the importance of preserving digital content for future generations, appropriating $100 million to the Library of Congress to lead this effort. (A government-wide rescission of .22 percent in late December 2000 reduced this special appropriation to $99.8 million.)

This effort falls within the Library's mission, which is "to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations." This mission extends to materials in electronic formats as well. In addition, the Library is the home of the U.S. Copyright Office and is thus already engaged in issues relating to copyright in a digital environment.

Participating organizations

The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program is a cooperative effort. The Library is working closely with partners to assess considerations for shared responsibilities. Federal legislation calls for the Library to work jointly with the Secretary of Commerce, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the National Archives and Records Administration. The legislation also directs the Library to seek the participation of "other federal, research and private libraries and institutions with expertise in the collection and maintenance of archives of digital materials," including the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, the Research Libraries Group, the Online Computer Library Center and the Council on Library and Information Resources.

The Library is also working with the non-federal sector. The overall strategy is being executed in cooperation with the library, creative, publishing, technology and copyright communities. In early 2001 the Library established a National Digital Strategy Advisory Board to help guide it through the planning process. This board is made up of experts from the technology, publishing, Internet, library and intellectual-property communities as well as government.

The Library has also established a working group to look at ways that current copyright law can address how libraries and archives handle digital materials when preserving them and making them available to users.

National significance

The availability of electronic information is today taken for granted. With the rapid growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web, millions of people have grown accustomed to using these tools as resources to acquire information — from a Ph.D. candidate conducting research for a dissertation to a teacher who might not be able to take a class on a field trip to see historical artefacts to a lifelong learner.

Digital has become the principal medium to create, distribute and store content, from text to motion pictures to recorded sound. Digital content now embodies much of the nation's intellectual, social and cultural history. Because digital materials can be so easily altered, corrupted or even lost, these materials must be saved now if they are to remain available to today's and tomorrow's generations.

NDIIPP is providing a national focus on important policy, standards and technical components necessary to preserve digital content. Investments in modeling and testing various options and technical solutions will take place over several years, resulting in recommendations to the U.S. Congress about the most viable and sustainable options for long-term preservation.

Digital preservation partnership projects

Included in the 170+ partners (as of August 2010) are eight consortial partnerships comprising 33 institutions that are selecting, collecting and preserving specific types of digital content:


  1. ^
  2. ^ LC 21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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