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Forwarded message...von H-TEACH
vielleicht ist folgendes email aus der liste humanities-teach auch fuer
die INETIBler interessant?
beste gruesse aus duesseldorf
thomas a. schroeder
----- Forwarded message begins here -----
From: H-Teach <H-TEACH%UICVM.BITNET _at__ vm.gmd.de>
Mon, 12 Sep 1994 09:47:33 -0400
To: Multiple recipients of list H-TEACH <H-TEACH%UICVM.BITNET _at__ vm.gmd.de>
Subject: NETNEWS: Library of Congress to Create Digitalized Library
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 94 07:36:54 +0200
From: Haldun Haznedar <haldun _at__ avalanche.micro.ti.com>
Originally Posted to list: <kutup-l _at__ knidos.cc.metu.edu.tr>
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS OFFERING TO FEED DATA SUPERHIGHWAY
By Peter H. Lewis
The Library of Congress plans to announce next month an ambitious effort to
convert into digital form the most important materials in its collection and
in the collections of all public and research libraries in the country.
The project would create a vast "virtual library" of digitized images of
books, drawings, manuscripts and photographs that would look just like the
originals and could be sent over computer networks to computer screens and
high-definition television sets, accessible to millions of students and
researchers. The goal is eventually to offer movies and music as well.
"Our goal is to bring these resources out to people across the country and
not just to the people who can come to use the library in Washington," said
Suzanne Thorin, chief of staff of the Library of Congress. The project has
benefits for the library as well.
The library now needs row upon row of shelves and cabinets to store its 104
million items. In digital form, dozens of books could be stored on a single
disk. In addition, the library has been struggling for years to preserve many
documents that are rapidly deteriorating. Thieves have mutilated thousands of
rare books for their photographs or illustrations. In digital form, rare
manuscripts could be viewed over and over again without degradation, and
images can be copied without harming the original.
The project is outlined in a draft memorandum called "Strategic Directions
Towards a Digital Library." A copy of the memorandum was obtained by the
industry newspaper Communications Daily, which then gave it to The New York
The document says the project, the most ambitious the library has undertaken
in decades, will cost millions of dollars, not only for planning the change
but also for buying, installing and maintaining the equipment needed to
convert the material into bits and bytes and to distribute it to many users.
The cost of converting a page in a book to digital form averages $2 to $6;
the cost of conversion of rare and fragile books can be much more.
But the memorandum does not list specific sources of financial support for
the effort. It suggests, instead, that a Digital Library Coordinating
Committee will seek a mix of private gifts, industry donations and
appropriations from Congress.
Officials at the Library of Congress who spoke on the condition that they not
be named said Dr. James Billington, the librarian of Congress who first
described his hopes for a national digital library at his inauguration in
1987, has scheduled a news conference for Oct. 13, when he will announce the
initial financial support for the project from private sources, including the
philanthropist John Kluge, one of the richest people in the country and the
owner of Metromedia Communications, and the David and Lucile Packard
Foundation of California, whose resources have been greatly increased in
recent years by David Packard, one of the founders of the Hewlett-Packard Co.
The initial phase of the program, which will focus on the technologies needed
to create high-quality digitized images of library material, is to be
financed with private money. The officials said the library was halfway to
its initial goal for private fund-raising, but they did not say what that
The memorandum said the library's goal was to convert the most important
materials by the year 2000.
Many libraries, including the Library of Congress and those at Harvard and
Cornell universities, have already begun trial efforts to put printed works
into a digital form that can be received over computer networks.
Under the plan described in the memorandum, however, the Library of Congress
would take the lead in coordinating both the technologies and the policies
for all the digital libraries so they could be connected to the same computer
The National Digital Library project would become the most extensive source
of content material for the emerging National Information Infrastructure,
often called the information superhighway.
As a result, related works at geographically separated libraries could be
obtained at the same time. For instance, someone doing research on Benjamin
Franklin could look at books from several libraries, drawings from another
and manuscripts from yet another library.
"The Library of Congress will become a universal gateway for Congress and the
nation to the universal digital library by providing links and finding aids
to all significant publicly available information sources, regardless of
their location or format," the memo stated.
The first of a series of meetings to plan the project was held Sept. 1 and 2
in Washington. The meeting, reportedly called as a result of a suggestion to
Billington from Steven Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Computer Inc. and
Next Computer Inc., brought together top technical researchers and
representatives from such organizations as the Media Labs at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Walt Disney Co., Electronic Data
Systems Corp., Xerox Corp., Bellcore and the National Science Foundation.
Subsequent meetings are planned with the heads of the nation's top research
libraries and public libraries as well as with educators and corporate
leaders. Raymond Smith, chairman of Bell Atlantic, is said to be helping to
coordinate the corporate session.
The draft memorandum also lists a number of technical, policy and legal
challenges facing the project, including questions of copyright, computer
security against hackers, viruses and system failures, the cost of access and
privacy protection for users of the system, and the establishment of
standards for the quality of the electronic images.
Because the taxpayers have already paid for the material in the Library of
Congress, some pressure is expected to make it available electronically at
little or no cost to the public.
One planning session scheduled in the next few months will address the
pricing structure. One official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity,
said it was also possible that in return for financial support to develop the
digital library, some companies might be granted rights to produce commercial
products based on the library materials.
For example, a software company might market CD-ROM disks depicting the
highlights of American history.
In a telephone interview, Ms. Thorin also said, "Copyright is a big issue."
She said trials would begin soon to determine the best of several plans now
being considered to compensate copyright holders for their material being
distributed on the Internet. Although many of the items in the Library of
Congress collection are in the public domain, most are not.
The memorandum also cites the need to establish a process for choosing which
items, from among the millions available, will be first to be digitized.
"We're certainly not talking about digitizing all 104 million items in the
Library of Congress collection," said Angela Evans, the Library's acting
director for Congressional relations. A more realistic goal, Ms. Thorin said,
is to digitize a million images a year.
Ms. Thorin said the library was also planning to open a visitor's center soon
that will showcase the technologies needed for a digital library. Included in
the technologies, she said, are some that will make the digitized library
resources available to blind and physically handicapped people.
------ Forwarded message ends here ------
Thomas A. Schroeder (M.A.)
Historisches Seminar / Studiengang Informationswissenschaft
Universitaetsstrasse 1; Geb. 23.31/06/67
Tel: +49(0)211-3.11-29.27 / 29.13
E-mail: Thomas.Schroeder _at__ uni-duesseldorf.de (internet)
privat: Muensterer Str. 17 * D-51063 Koeln
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