UC San Diego Named Founding Partner in National Digital Stewardship Alliance

Library of Congress initiative to map out national approach to digital preservation

The University of California, San Diego Libraries are playing a leadership role in mapping out national standards and best practices for preserving and sharing digital content. As founding members of the Library of Congress' National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), the UC San Diego Libraries are collaborating with other partners to preserve and provide access to valuable data, web pages, audio, and other digital content that supports the nation's economic, scientific, and cultural innovation.

The NDSA, launched earlier this year by the Library of Congress, is a collaborative effort among government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and businesses. Members range from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Public Broadcasting Service to the Internet Archive and UC's California Digital Library (CDL).

Partnering with the UCSD Libraries is the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), an Organized Research Unit of UC San Diego. Both the Libraries and SDSC are partners in Chronopolis, a preservation framework designed to collect and preserve at-risk digital information to meet the archival needs of a wide range of cultural heritage and scientific domains. The Chronopolis partnership, which includes the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado, and the University of Maryland's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), is designed to provide long-term preservation for a wide range of collections.

"National, collaborative efforts like NDSA and Chronopolis are critical in preserving valuable, at-risk digital content, which is essential in safeguarding our history and culture. The ephemeral nature of the Web and the staggering amount of information that resides on it, poses serious challenges to scholars as well as consumers trying to conduct serious research," said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian at the UC San Diego Libraries. "While books and other printed works are not as instantly accessible as the Web, they are recorded works that can be handed down to future generations and generally are not in danger of disappearing unless misplaced or damaged. Web sites and other digital information are changed and updated constantly, with the average life span of a Web site estimated to be less than 3 months. Changing file and hardware formats also render many digital documents obsolete in less than 4 years."

NDSA is an outgrowth of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), administered by the Library of Congress since 2000. In establishing the program, Congress directed the Library to work with other federal agencies and a variety of additional communities to develop a national approach to digital preservation. The NDSA will build on NDIIPP's partnership with more than 170 institutions to: develop improved preservation standards and practices; identify categories of digital information that are most worthy of preservation; and take steps to incorporate content into a national collection. NDSA will also provide national leadership for digital-preservation education and training.

UC San Diego librarians have also been collaborating with a team of UC and other librarians to build a series of Web archives on critical subjects such as the swine flu epidemic and the devastating California wildfires of 2007. Other topics covered in the Web archives include the Guantánamo Bay records, the Myanmar cyclone of 2008, the California recall election of 2003, and State of California and San Diego County local government sites. To view the Web archives go to: http://webarchives.cdlib.org

The archives were built with a new Web Archiving Service (WAS) developed by the University of California's California Digital Library (CDL), which has enabled UCSD and other university librarians to capture, curate, and preserve Web sites for the benefit of researchers and the general public. New archives are continually being developed and will be accessible to the public along with the current archives. The WAS allows scholars and other users to both access the archives and search and analyze their content in ways not possible on the live Web. The California Digital Library's efforts to develop the Web Archiving Service have been supported by a grant from the Library of Congress's National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

Ranked among the nation's top 20 public academic research libraries, the UC San Diego Libraries play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, and public service missions. As the intellectual heart of the UC San Diego campus, the nine university libraries provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge and information needs of faculty, students, and members of the public. Each day, more than 7,300 patrons visit one of the UCSD libraries and more than 87,000 people access library resources through the UCSD Libraries main Web site.

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Dolores Davies
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858-534-0667
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