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Library of Congress

The Library has built a preservation network of over 130 partners — including SAA — to tackle the challenge of digital preservation.

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About the Digital Preservation Program
at the U.S. Library of Congress

The mission of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program is to develop a national strategy to collect, archive and preserve the burgeoning amounts of digital content, especially materials that are created only in digital formats, for current and future generations.

The NDIIPP program is based on an understanding that digital stewardship on a national scale depends on public and private communities working together. The Library has built a preservation network of over 130 partners from across the nation to tackle the challenge, and is working with them on a variety of initiatives.

Preserving Creative America, an NDIIPP initiative launched in 2006, supports eight digital-preservation partnerships exploring ways to ensure the long-term preservation of a broad range of creative American works in digital form - from photographs to cartoons, motion pictures, sound recordings, and even video games. NNDIIPP partners include industry trade associations, private-sector companies and nonprofits, as well as cultural heritage institutions. Several of the projects involve developing standardized approaches to content formats and metadata.

The Library awarded SAA a partnership to promote metadata use and best practices by stock photographers and across the licensing industry.

SAA's Proposal to the Library of Congress explained how essential information about stock images is frequently lost as images are disseminated across multiple distributors, licensees, and end users, making the archiving and repurposing of these images difficult. Images created and marketed for stock licensing are particularly "at risk" as these images are by design both widely applicable and easily accessible.

The lessons learned by researching and reporting on issues in this high-risk area are apply to everyone who work with digital photos. Whether the imagery is stock or commissioned, commerical, editorial or consumer in nature, we each face the multi-faceted challenge of how to effectively protect, promote, identify, archive, and manage these fast growing digital assets.

The Library charged SAA with investigating current industry practices with regard to metadata use and preservation — looking at the workflows of photographers, stock distributors, and end users — and reporting on our findings.

SAA also pledged to develop online resources and educational seminars at professional trade shows and in key cities, in order to promote the importance of metadata for long-term usability of digital photos.