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Luminary Lectures @ Your Library

The National Digital Preservation Program: Challenges and Solutions

Laura E. Campbell - March 21, 2003

As the volume of digital material escalates, the creative expression record of the Nation in science, technology, arts, and humanities and the future historical record are increasingly embodied in this fragile, ephemeral, and dynamic medium. As a result, the U.S. Congress has charged the Library of Congress to lead a national effort to forge an infrastructure to identify, acquire, manage, and preserve important works in digital form through the National Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), passed in December 2000 (PL-106-554). As the first step in the NDIIPP planning process, we consulted stakeholders in a broad array of industries, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations. On the basis of that process and together with a review of the state-of-the-art in preservation, we have developed a master plan that recognizes the challenges and sets forth next steps. This discussion describes the planning/consultation process, outlines the challenges, and sets forth solutions for a nation-wide infrastructure.

About the Speaker

On Oct. 2, 2000, Laura E. Campbell was appointed by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington as Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives, a new Library of Congress position.

Creation of the position responds to a recommendation contained in the July 26, 2000, National Academy of Sciences report, "LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress."

Ms. Campbell is responsible for the overall strategic planning for the Library, which includes development of a national strategy, in cooperation with other institutions, for the collection, access and preservation of digital materials. This program is formally called the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. Ms. Campbell also has oversight of the Information Technology Services directorate at the Library.

Ms. Campbell has retained her title as Director of the National Digital Library (NDL) Program at the Library. In this capacity she led a cooperative national effort to digitize and make available online important and interesting materials of America's history and culture from the Library and other repositories throughout the country. The flagship of the NDL Program is the award-winning American Memory Web site, which makes freely available more than 7 million historical primary source materials.

Ms. Campbell assumed responsibility for the American Memory Program in 1993 and began co-chairing the Digital Futures Group of the Library in late 1998.

Ms. Campbell joined the Library in April 1992 as director of Library Distribution Services, a directorate that included programs for the Cataloging Distribution Service, the Federal Research Division, the Photoduplication Service and Retail Marketing.

Before joining the Library, Ms. Campbell was a private consultant and vice president of QueTel Corp., a business and systems-integration consulting firm, from 1989 to 1992. At QueTel, she directed consulting engagements in strategic planning and financial systems, including work for the Library of Congress.

From 1984 to1989, she was a staff consultant, manager and principal with Arthur Young & Co. (now Ernest and Young), directing projects for industry and government. She served as a project manager for the strategic planning review of the Library of Congress in 1988-89.

Ms. Campbell is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University (B.A., 1973), the University of Maine (M.A. in management, 1979) and Georgetown University (M.S. in accounting, 1983).