Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Funding for Digital Preservation, including Theses & Dissertations from Boston College

Library of Congress Selects the MetaArchive Cooperative as a Continuing Partner in the National Digital Preservation Program

NOTE: Boston College is a member of the MetaArchive Cooperative.

Chestnut Hill, MA, November, 2009 – The MetaArchive Cooperative, an independent, international membership association that coordinates collaborative and distributed digital preservation solutions for cultural memory organizations, has received $659,052 to preserve our nation’s at-risk digital materials as part of the Library of Congress’s award-winning National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). With this funding, the Cooperative will continue to encourage and support universities, libraries, archives, museums, and government agencies as they take an active role in the preservation of their digital assets in the face of daily threats such as blackouts, fires, and hurricanes, as well as basic hardware and software failure.

“For centuries, archives and libraries have borne the responsibility of preserving our nation’s cultural assets,” said Katherine Skinner, the Executive Director of the Educopia Institute, which hosts the MetaArchive Cooperative. “The MetaArchive Cooperative enables these groups to continue providing that essential service for at-risk digital materials, including our nation’s political, social, and cultural assets that are now created and stored on computers—newspapers, book manuscripts, correspondence files, and other items that researchers will depend upon in order to understand our world and its transition into the digital age.”

The Cooperative was founded in 2004 by Emory University, Auburn University, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Louisville, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as part of the Library of Congress’s NDIIPP. As one of its initial collaborative ventures, the Cooperative developed an organizational model and implemented a technical infrastructure based on the LOCKSS software for preserving the digital assets of cultural memory organizations through a low-cost, geographically distributed framework.

The Cooperative began actively preserving content in 2005, including library-based repositories and ephemeral works such as online exhibitions and cultural history Web site displays. By 2007, the Cooperative had become an independent organization and began accepting new members at the discretion of the Steering Committee. Its membership has grown to include: Boston College, Clemson University, the Folger Shakespeare Library, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Rice University, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Hull in the UK. In partnership with the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), the Cooperative has also created a dark archive of Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Boston College has made the transition from a paper-based submission process to an electronic submission process for all of its dissertations and theses. BC’s collection of graduate scholarship is being preserved as digital content in the ETD (Electronic Theses & Dissertations) archive of the MetaArchive Cooperative.

As NDIIPP draws to a close in 2010 and moves to formalize a national digital stewardship alliance, the Library of Congress has selected the MetaArchive Cooperative to be a continuing partner due to its sustained contribution to national digital stewardship. The Library of Congress will provide the MetaArchive Cooperative with operational funding in the amount of $659,052 during the contract period, August 1, 2009 - July 31, 2011.

Commenting on this next phase, Martin Halbert, founder and President of the Cooperative, stated that the Library of Congress should be “commended for its commitment to empowering institutional collaboration and sustainability in the preservation of our nation’s cultural memory. The Cooperative members are very proud of what they have accomplished through this unique collaborative endeavor. It has never been easy for universities in particular to pull together in such a prolonged fashion—but each of our members recognizes the importance of fulfilling the critical need for digital preservation.”

This support will enable the MetaArchive Cooperative to maintain and supplement the Cooperative’s growth and viability and to encourage other communities to also implement their own low-cost, distributed digital preservation networks using LOCKSS. As Katherine Skinner, the Program Manager for the MetaArchive Cooperative, has said, “Our goal is to encourage the adoption of distributed digital preservation. In addition to welcoming new members into the Cooperative and our existing networks, we also want other cultural memory organizations to freely adopt our technical and administrative frameworks to form new preservation networks of their own.”

For additional information please contact Katherine Skinner at 404-783-2534 or katherine.skinner@metaarchive.org. Also feel free to visit the MetaArchive Cooperative at their public website: http://www.metaarchive.org/.

The MetaArchive Cooperative is an independent, international membership association administered by the Educopia Institute based in Atlanta, Georgia.


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