Archivists tackle digital heritage

Federal Library and Information Center Committee

Agencies busily producing volumes of e-mail, Web sites and other digital documents also face the challenge and costs of storing them for a year, for a decade, for a generation -- or risk violating federal regulations.

"Information professionals believe it's about time for the federal government to acknowledge the full cost of digital preservation," said Susan Tarr, executive director of the Federal Library and Information Center Committee.

Tarr was among about 150 federal archivists, librarians, computer scientists and online services vendors gathered in Washington, D.C., Wednesday for the FLICC's 2001 Forum.

They discussed the government's scattered stabs at the problem and the Library of Congress' $100 million effort to provide a blueprint for preserving the federal government's digital heritage.

Dubbed the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program and funded in the fiscal 2001 budget approved in December, the project will bring together the White House Office of Science and Technology, the Commerce Department, the National Archives and Records Administration and other agencies.

During the coming year, participants will begin to standardize policies and procedures for collecting, storing and indexing digital material.

Peniston is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.

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