The Library of Congress is leading a national initiative, called the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), to collect and preserve important digital materials that are at risk of being lost, and to catalyze efforts that address the long-term preservation, management, and future access to digital archives. The Library and its NDIIPP network of preservation partners are working with vast data sets of born digital materials geographic data, social science data, web archives, moving image and sound files, as well as textual data.
Since 1994, the Library has been building a National Digital Library (NDL) - converting to digital format key primary source materials, including written and spoken word materials, historical sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music. More than 10 million rare and unique items from the collections of the Library and partner institutions are now online. This digital record of American history and creativity is available to the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning through the Library's American Memory website. The long-term digital preservation challenge for the Library and its fellow cultural institutions is one of digital stewardship: ensuring long-term preservation of and seamless access to born digital material, to current and legacy collections of digitized material such as American Memory, and to multi-institutional, multi-national, and multi-lingual digital collections such as the World Digital Library (WDL). The WDL is an initiative among research institutions and national libraries to bring cultural and historical treasures held in repositories around the world together online.
Since the early 1970s, Stanford University's Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME) and its predecessor programs have applied mathematical modeling, computer programming, and numerical computation to diverse engineering problems. The Library's digital preservation and access challenge presents ICME's professors, researchers and students with an opportunity to model, simulate, design and synthesize systems that will support contemporary and future use of the creative output of this country and the world.
In view of their mutual interest in developing effective and efficient solutions for managing and using digital archives, the Library and Stanford ICME agreed to engage in a cooperative project: the ICME Center of Excellence for Computational Approaches to Digital Stewardship (CADS). Under this agreement, ICME works with the Library to develop mathematical models, algorithms and computational tools that support searching and information discovery in large, multi-format, interdisciplinary archives of digital content; and to develop new software and new approaches to digital repositories and to delivery of digital content for education.