« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
can resist having anyone break into our sites. For the present we think our effort is adequate, but we constantly need to add to it to keep the hackers out.
NUMBER OF LC DIGITIZED ITEMS
Mr. TAYLOR. Dr. Billington, you have mentioned you have about 7 million items digitized, including the foreign items that you have been able to obtain from Russia and Spain. Do you have any general estimate about how large the numbers will grow in the next few years, are we talking about perhaps 10 or 20 million items digitized, or is it possible to tell at this point?
Dr. BILLINGTON. You mean in terms of foreign
Mr. TAYLOR. Both foreign and domestic items for the Library of Congress.
Dr. BILLINGTON. Well, Mr. Chairman, the additions to what we plan to digitize, will be relatively modest in the international area. We received a special appropriation of $2 million to do the Meeting of the Frontiers project with the Russians. That is proceeding very well. The project has more than 100,000 items on it, mostly from the Library of Congress. And we have items from two of the largest libraries in the world. We had a very successful meeting with the Russians in Alaska, also involving the Fairbanks Library there. That is proceeding quite well and is having quite an effect because this is the comparative story of the two frontiers, how they met just north of San Francisco, Fort Ross, and the sale of Alaska. It is going into the school systems of both countries and is doing very well.
The Spanish project has just started. It will probably be considerably more modest. We do not have a special appropriations for that, but we are devoting a certain amount of money to that. We are hoping that our Spanish partners will have begun digitizing a small number of items from the national library there.
We are also in a fairly advanced state of development of a project with both the Vatican Library and the National Library of Brazil. We hope to begin something with these later this year, but they will be relatively modest. I should stress, most of what we are digitizing of these foreign countries is from the Library's own collections. We have just put up, for instance, photographs from the czar's official photographer. The 2000-item show that is an exhibit at the Library right now is going online. That exhibit is having a tremendous effect. They are the only color pictorials of Russia before World War I which the Library of Congress actually has in its collections. We are putting online our own collections as well as some from these other countries.
A lot of other people would like to do this. We want to proceed slowly. We plan to do one or two projects with foreign libraries a year at the most, relatively modest. We have about 133,000 items online in these foreign ones. We have much more, nearly 7 million of American items online. We hope to continue at a modest rate. The most important additive elements in the next few years are going to be on our new Web site, America's Library, which is very interactive, extremely popular. It is designed to reach people who are not reached in the digital divide and includes lots of bells and
ported by the Advertising Council. So we are seeing a lot of ads for this. It is going to have much increased usage.
I think our main effort is going to be on the America's Library, because that is the most potent and powerful teaching device, and also is recognized as being good for intergenerational reading and story telling. We have, incidentally, Mr. Chairman, given you a fair idea what is online in this publication which I hope everybody has copies of.
I think the largest addition to our digitization material will not be the intense level it was to get that first 5 million up, but we will continue, we hope, to develop on that basis. And, of course, what we already have needs to be serviced. We are going to have small but very interesting foreign elements, and we are going to try to add a lot to this interactive one, because that is where the usage is—we had 100 million hits the first year, even though only a very small number of images were up. For instance, it teaches searching on a scavenger hunt. There is a lot of history about baseball. It raises questions and gets kids interested in story telling and learning. It has proven to be very popular in schools and libraries and homes, as the Advertising Council has recognized by mounting this campaign.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Chairman, I was just across the hall. We were discussing the fact that the Speaker has an interest, in the last session, in a problem in the region of Colombia, and we have some programs going forward there. We were talking about the prospect of maybe even going down and visiting some of those. I hear about a library in Brazil and we might consider actually going to see how well they are working.
COOPERATIVE DIGITIZATION EFFORTS Mr. TAYLOR. Certainly. One of the most exciting parts of the Library's direction is the digitization that is being used in public schools and certainly the international digitization that you are doing is going to be especially worthwhile. Because first of all most countries would not allow their treasures, such as maps and photographs, to be taken out of the country. By digitizing collections from Russia, for instance, the work that you are doing, and the $2 million that was budgeted is certainly a very inexpensive educational tool for our students, to spark the imaginative sense provided by the treasures that we have acquired.
I know you have in the Library now a collection that you acquired some years ago that is currently an exhibit. This collection gives our students training in an international world and the ability, even in the early grades, to learn firsthand what they cannot through a textbook.
Secondly, I would hope that we could utilize treasures in our own country. I would urge cooperation, and perhaps we can talk in the future with other organizations such as the Archives and the Smithsonian, about treasures that are in their own collections. You have done such good work in the Library of Congress through the digitization and the pilot programs that are now going out to the schools, we don't want to create that over and over again in every area of government. And so I hope we can have cooperation with vide learning material, to work through the Library of Congress and the work that you are doing now, because I can see a lot of great treasures inside this country. But we don't want to remake the wheel each time. I hope that we are putting together that kind of cooperation.
Dr. BILLINGTON. Thank you. We certainly would like to do that. The money that we got to bring in other repositories was from a corporate foundation which specified they wanted their money only to go to nonFederal institutions. But we would welcome the chance. We hope we can develop a way of working with the other Federal institutions and incorporate them into it as well.
Mr. TAYLOR. I have some questions that I will submit to be answered for the record. [The questions and responses follow:]
NATIONAL DIGITAL LIBRARY The Library must recognize the fact that the long term requirements of the digital library program could be classified as still a bit fluid. However, you have requested almost $13 million for “technology backbone” and $2 million for “digital access, service, and tools." You state you want to protect the substantial investment the Library has already made in the American Memory Digital content. It could be said that it seems a bit premature to provide additional funding of nearly $15 million for equipment and services if our digital future and corresponding technology are still somewhat evolving.
Question. Do you believe that the Library has a firm grasp on the direction of the digital future or should you step back a little and reexamine the program and the direction you are taking?
Response. The Library of Congress has as firm a grip as any library or organization in the content business. For the last decade, we have worked successfully to address the digital future through the National Digital Library Program, making millions of items freely available on the Internet. This work has given us firsthand experience in the challenges of handling digital materials, including workflow, standards, software, storage, and archiving. Organizations all over the world are attempting to address these same challenges. Many of them visit the Library to learn what we know. The momentum we have developed is important to sustain in a rapidly changing digital environment. We have also invested in an independent, outside assessment of the Library's digital future with the National Academy of Sciences. The Academy produced a report of their study in which they urged the Library to do two things: (1) accelerate our plans to capture and store digital materials; (2) address important intellectual property concerns because of the dire need to solve problems and lead others in the community.
We are now not only converting historical materials or digitizing physical items, we are also acquiring materials that are currently being produced only in digital form. Whether we are converting or acquiring digital materials, a technical infrastructure for storing and managing digital content needs to be in place, as well as policies and processes that support the life-cycle management of the digital content. În order to fully develop this environment, work needs to take place in a number of areas: (1) standards and processes for receiving, labeling, indexing and retaining digital files that can be widely promulgated and adopted; and (2) defining and building systems solutions that can support rights protected user access to digital files, now and in the long term.
This work is dependent on both human capital and technical investments designed to move decision-making and systems solutions forward. As the world's greatest cultural institution, we need to be empowered to participate as a full partner, and lead in the broader national digital strategy planning and formulation process. Alone, or as full partner in the broader national context, the Library's unchanging mandate, regardless of evolving technologies, is to ensure the creative works of this nation, produced increasingly only in digital form, are not lost but preserved and shared with future generations.
The $15 million investment requested is not premature. It is the necessary building up of the technical capacities that need to be in place in sustain this nation's creative output and cultural memory despite evolving technologies.
Question. Are you confident that the Library has safe and secure backup elecResponse. With the enormous growth in the sheer volume of on-line disk storage required to house the digital collections, the Library has encountered storage management challenges shared by few organizations. We are currently evaluating our local tape-based backup systems with the aim of increasing their reliability. Over the next several months we will be implementing a new tape backup system, supported by a dedicated high-bandwidth network, which will provide more reliable backups. As we add an estimated additional twenty terabytes of on-line storage over the next six months, we will engineer additional backup capacity to ensure the security of this new storage.
LAW LIBRARY BUDGET REQUEST Mr. TAYLOR. I have a number of other questions, but I am going to hold until maybe a second turn and yield to Mr. Moran for any questions he may have.
Mr. MORAN. You will wait until a second turn?
Mr. MORAN. I don't have many questions to ask. I had an opportunity to discuss the budget with Dr. Billington at length previously. I would like to ask a little bit about the Law Library. We have heard from some folks who feel that the budget is inadequate and that in fact the Law Library is suffering as a result of having been shortchanged in money and personnel. Perhaps this might be a good opportunity, Dr. Billington, to address the concerns that I know that you are aware have been raised. They say that the Law Library has received, on average, less than 3 percent of the Library's budget but it comprises more than 12 percent of the Library's collection. A lack of funds has been cited for causing a backlog of more than a million postings that need to be shelved, and many have asked for a curator for the 65,000 rare books collection.
What would be your response to that, Dr. Billington?
Dr. BILLINGTON. Well, I think this is a real need, and we have been giving it intensive attention and that is reflected in our budget request for this year. We have a 2-year plan particularly to clear—the growing backlog in current materials as they come in. It is symptomatic of a broader problem of keeping the periodicals current, up to date, and rapidly processed and available throughout the Library. That is a very huge problem, but it is a particular problem in the Law Library.
So we have a 2-year plan, the first year of which is included in the request for this year. It is to stop the growth in arrearages. And next year we plan to come in with a request that is slightly above the request this year, probably, to clear the past arrearages. We hope to get on top of this problem in the course of the next 2 years, but to begin immediately on it with a current request. Yes, we are aware of this, and also the Law Library has begun—with a small amount of money, the beginning of a business reengineering program in the Law Library. We agree that this is a serious problem and that we have got to tackle it, and I think we have begun vigorously.
Also the development of GLIN (Global Legal Information Network), the electronic foreign legal database. We have 14 member nations now participating. With Mr. Medina's leadership we have growing cooperation with other countries, half of those are from Latin America. It is an electronic version of delivery in real time Congress and the government in general. So those are immediate steps. We quite agree this is a problem that has to be addressed.
Mr. MORAN. Thank you. Just one other topic I want to bring up and that is a local one that you might be able to help us address. You are aware of the traffic congestion in the area and the fact that we have attempted to make available to Federal agencies a transit voucher for using public transportation, van pooling and so on. I note that you have got 4,600 employees working at the Library of Congress. I think it would be great to offer the full transit voucher to those people at the Library of Congress who might use public transportation instead of driving. This voucher would be a significant help to relieving the traffic congestion that all of us endure every morning and evening.
What would you suggest we do in terms of extending that benefit to part of the executive branch?
Dr. BILLINGTON. I will let General Scott answer. We have already made some steps on that.
General SCOTT. Yes, sir, we currently participate in the transit subsidy program. We recently increased our benefit to $39 per month, which gives our employees a comparable rate to the House program. We have over 2,160 Library employees who participate in the program. The feedback we get is that it is a good program, and we are pleased to be able to offer this assistance to our employees.
Mr. MORAN. As you know, you are authorized to go up to $65 and up to $100 next January, which is supposed to be comparable to relieve most of the expense that they would otherwise be bearing. Are you considering increasing the voucher benefit to these authorized levels?
General SCOTT. Sir, we have considered it and we will continue to consider it, but it gets to be a balancing game with the rest of our budget. We estimated that if we went to the full $65 direct individual subsidy, that could cost us about $2.3 million per year. Currently the program costs the Library $682,000. With the $39 increase, that figure increases to about $1.1 million. To date we have been able to absorb that $1.1 million without coming to the Congress to ask for more money. It is my belief that if we increase to the full $65 subsidy, we would have to come and ask the Congress for supporting funds.
Mr. MORAN. Okay. We are trying to get to a point at which it actually changes people's behavior. We are finding that at the $65 level, it is more likely to influence people's behavior than at the level you are using. So I hope—would you give it serious consideration to bring it up to the authorized level?
General SCOTT. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. My calculation last year was if we could provide all workers across the country vouchers, it would be about $4 billion.
Mr. MORAN. Four billion?
Mr. MORAN. But we can exercise some judgment on where we