This report, commissioned by the National Research Council and made available by the National Academy Press (last mentioned in the February 6, 1999 Scout Report
) takes a hard look at the impact of digital information on the Library of Congress's traditional mission (and by implication, the mission of all US libraries) to collect, preserve, and make accessible the intellectual work of the American people. Even though the American Memory Website created by the Library of Congress is hugely successful and a national model for digitizing historical collections, the report points out that the problem of collecting and preserving materials that are "born digital" is far more urgent. New digital information is being created at a rapid pace, and much of it is more ephemeral than the paper-based materials now become digital at American Memory. The report not only outlines the problem clearly, but makes recommendations for action. For example, the report urges the Library to immediately define policies for collecting Websites created in the US, and to form a high-level planning group to develop digital preservation strategies. LC21 is fascinating reading for all crystal ball gazers concerned with the future of libraries.
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