E-records R&D gets grants

Eleven university teams researching digital preservation have received $2.8 million in federal grants, with the expectation that their research will generate tangible benefits a year from now.

In announcing the awards today, Library of Congress and National Science Foundation officials said in a statement that the $2.8 million would fund challenging research topics, such as describing and automatically archiving digital objects, preserving digital video at the point of its creation, and archiving 3-D digital content.

The agencies made the grants under a congressionally authorized and funded digital preservation program. The program is for building a nationwide network of institutional partners to preserve digital materials, many of which are now being lost for future generations.

The following institutional teams received digital preservation research grants ranging from $99,000 to $500,000:

• The University of California at San Diego's Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the independent Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for creating a test bed for archiving terabytes of data from more than 1,600 oceanographic research projects. The collaborating institutions will test processes for automatic acquisition, metadata extraction, validation and access control, and methods for managing rights-protected data.

• The University of Maryland at College Park for exploring automated collection and verification methods for distributed digital collections.

• Drexel University for digital engineering archives to preserve 3-D computer-assisted engineering design and production data.

• The University of California at San Diego for developing and documenting a process for preserving large multimedia collections of digital and pre-digital video materials.

• The University of Arizona and Raytheon for investigating ways to automatically capture metadata about digital objects.

• The University of Michigan for studying incentives for data producers to deposit archive-ready data sets, including ways that archivists could adjust their requirements to suit data producers' needs.

• Old Dominion University for evaluating whether existing Internet infrastructure standards such as Simple Mail Transfer Protocol are useful digital preservation tools. Researchers will explore other options for reducing digital preservation costs through the use of inexpensive and widely deployed protocols.

• The University of Tennessee at Knoxville for planning a globally accessible archive of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer satellite data.

• The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a prototype for preserving video objects.

• Johns Hopkins University for studying privacy and security technologies that can ensure no personally identifiable information is inadvertently retained when data is preserved.

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