Library of Congress Report

Dadop writes \"The NRC just released a report about LC\'s use of IT and the future. It also includes discussion of copyright issues and the US Copyright Office.\"


This is quite a report on LC, celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. They have more than 9 million books, 11 million films and photos and more than 53 million manuscripts. They also put over a million largely historical things - like the papers of Presidents Washington and Lincoln - on the Web.

\"If the Library of Congress does not make significant progress, it will become a book museum that houses a collection of priceless materials, and the energy of cultural exploration and discovery will fade from its halls and go elsewhere,\" said committee chair James O\'Donnell\"
More from the report from National Academies.org\"said committee chair James O\'Donnell, vice provost and chief information officer at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. \"It must build a new system for acquiring and preserving materials that includes digital information, especially materials that were born digital.\"


The current processes for adding a work to the library\'s collection, including registering and depositing items with the U.S. Copyright Office (a unit within the Library of Congress), remains focused on physical artifacts such as books, videotapes, and compact disks. It urgently needs a new system for digital objects that is integrated with the well-established system for acquiring and archiving physical formats. This is an essential step toward creating a truly functional, contemporary library, the report says.


The organizational structure of the Library of Congress was designed to handle materials in traditional media. The committee recommended that the library create a new position -- deputy librarian for strategic initiatives -- to assist the leadership in formulating strategies to effectively incorporate information technology. An information technology vision, strategy, research, and planning group should be established, along with a technical advisory board whose members are drawn from outside the library.


The library also should foster a culture of innovation and learning among its staff. To accomplish this goal, Congress must significantly increase funding for staff-training opportunities, the report says. The library also should encourage staff involvement in professional organizations to promote learning and establish teams of people with different skills to promote further technical development at the institution.


A lack of an adequate technology infrastructure is a contributing factor in slowing the library\'s transition to collecting new forms of information, the committee noted. Computer networking and security capabilities at the Library of Congress, for example, lag behind not only the commercial sector but also other not-for-profit research libraries, and must be upgraded.

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