Thursday, March 22, 2007

LC Hit By $47 Million Cut in Digital Preservation Funds

Found this via LISnews -- LJ reports:

It sneaked under a lot of people's radar, but the Library of Congress (LC) has lost $47 million in promised federal funds for digital preservation efforts, and it's unclear how many projects and programs will be affected. After the February 15 passage of P.L. 110-5, $47 million "of the unobligated balances available for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" (NDIIPP) was rescinded. "The Library of Congress is in the early stages of evaluating the impact of this rescission, and no decisions have been made on the future of the program, which continues to operate," LC spokesman Matt Raymond told LJ. "We are hopeful that funds may be restored in fiscal year 2008.

"The issue for us, and what we're working on, is getting that money put in for '08," said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association's Washington Office. She said she'd learned that LC had decided not to fight the decision, since it would've been a losing effort. The practical impact is yet unclear, but NDIIPP derives from a law passed in December 2000 that appropriated $100 million to LC. "Increasingly, digital content embodies much of the nation's intellectual, social, and cultural history," LC said in its announcement of the program, noting that it "will seek to provide a national focus on important policy, standards and technical components necessary to preserve digital content."

Of the initial funding, according to LC's summary, "Congress specified that $5 million of the appropriation may be spent during the initial phase for planning as well as the acquisition and preservation of digital information that may otherwise vanish." Also, the legislation authorized "as much as $75 million of federal funding to be made available as this amount is matched by nonfederal donations, including in-kind contributions." It's yet unconfirmed that the $47 million came from this total. Librarian and blogger Karen Schneider, who wrote with dismay about the cuts last month, commented that she had been to an NDIIPP partners meeting and was impressed by the "many successful projects designed to protect our digital brain trust for many generations ahead."

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