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News Release 05-074

National Science Foundation and Library of Congress Announce Digital Preservation Awards

Projects will develop new technologies to advance digital archives

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NSF and the Library of Congress made awards for their DIGARCH program.

May 6, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Digital is now the method of choice to create, distribute and store content, from text to motion pictures to recorded sound. Accordingly, much of the nation's intellectual, social and cultural history is now in digital format, necessitating a new focus on its preservation and continued availability.

To help solve this digital dilemma, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Library of Congress (LoC) have made 11 awards totaling $2.5 million through their newly established Digital Archiving and Long-Term Preservation program (DIGARCH). This research will contribute to the Library's 2000 Congressional initiative, the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). NDIIPP is a national, collaborative effort led by LoC to continue to fulfill its mission to "sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations" in the digital age.

Lawrence Brandt, program manager for the NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate, said, "Digital preservation at present is of central importance for scientific data, such as expensive observations under water or out in space. As a society, however, we are creating more and more information which is digital in its original form."

The DIGARCH research program was formed in response to needs identified through an April 2002 workshop chaired by digital library researcher Margaret Hedstrom of the University of Michigan. The workshop report is available at

DIGARCH's first call for proposals netted 65 submissions that focused on at least one of the following required areas: 1) digital repository models, 2) tools, technologies, and processes, and 3) organizational, economic, and policy issues. The projects were expected to take advantage of new and innovative research methods and to identify next-generation library information infrastructures.

The awards range from $99,000 to $500,000 to perform one to three years of research. The projects cover research on continued access of data to the prevention of data deterioration and from software and hardware technologies to the development of new data formats and standards.

"In the decades to come, we will all want to be sure of the availability of such things as family pictures, health records, and home movies. These research projects are taking the first steps to make sure we can," said Brandt.

Examples of funded projects include:

  • A scalable digital archiving testbed focused on vast volumes of video and camera data from Alvin, Jason, and other deep submergence vehicles; a collaborative effort between the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The resulting interactive digital library will contain data from more than 1,600 research projects performed by dozens of institutions over the last four decades.
  • A process designed by a University of Maryland, College Park team to automatically ingest and manage digital data using four distinct data types, including a collection of 500 children’s books in 30 different languages.
  • A new technology to be developed at The Johns Hopkins University to address recent legislation for retaining and securing electronic information. Specifically, the team will develop new technologies for data encryption and access restriction; crucial parameters for government archives.

For more information on the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, see


Media Contacts
Richard (Randy) Vines, NSF, (703) 292-7963, email:
Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress, (202) 707-9217, email:

Program Contacts
Lawrence E. Brandt, NSF, (703) 292-8930, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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