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LC 21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress
anyone, anywhere, on any day of the week or at any time of the day (as rights permit under the copyright law or terms of licenses). Unless LC develops the capacity to integrate digital materials into the mainstream of its collecting and access programs, it will forgo all of these benefits and will cede its position as one of the world’s leading libraries.
Finding: The Library of Congress lacks an overarching strategy and long-range plan for digital preservation. (In recent years, it has also been without a permanent head for its Preservation Directorate.) Although the Library has preserved many of its own digital resources, including the full-text databases of the THOMAS system, its own bibliographic databases, and the content, descriptive information, and retrieval capabilities of the National Digital Library Program, these efforts are not coordinated with each other or with efforts to address the larger problem of capturing and preserving born-digital content, nor is there any strategy, plan, or infrastructure to capture, manage, and preserve born-digital information that originates outside the Library.
Recommendation: The Library should immediately form a high-level planning group to coordinate digital preservation efforts and develop the policies, technical capacity, and expertise to preserve digital information. The hiring of someone who is knowledgeable about digital preservation as a new head of the Preservation Directorate must be given high priority.
Recommendation: The Library should put a digital preservation plan in place and implement it as soon as possible, taking into account life-cycle costs and minimizing the need for manual intervention. The Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model provides a useful framework for identifying the requirements for a digital archiving system. The initiative by the Council on Library and Information Resources that builds on the OAIS should also be consulted.