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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[Southern] Auburn Univ & Preservation

Auburn University Libraries to Participate in $1.4 Million Project to
Create A Digital Archive of Southern History and Culture


Beth Nicol
(334) 844-1731

Aaron Trehub
(334) 844-1716

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Oct. 2, 2004 -The Auburn University Libraries will participate as a preservation site as part of a three-year, $1.4 million effort supported by the Library of Congress and a cooperative of six research libraries to create a MetaArchive of Southern Digital Culture, according to an announcement made today by the Library of Congress at the Symposium on Open Access and Digital Preservation, held at Emory University.

The project, headed by Emory University, will be dedicated to preserving vital at-risk digital content of Southern culture and history. Auburn University, Emory University, Florida State University, Georgia Tech, the University of Louisville, and Virginia Tech comprise the cooperative.

"Auburn is one of a group of six universities that have agreed to identify digital collections in need of preservation and develop the software and the procedures needed to preserve them in perpetuity. By participating in this effort, under the auspices of the Library of Congress' National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, Auburn is taking a leading role in establishing standards and best practices for the storage and preservation of our digital cultural heritage-an increasingly urgent task," said Beth Nicol, digital projects coordinator at Auburn University Libraries and one of the cooperative project's co-principal investigators.

Aaron Trehub, Director of Library Technology at Auburn University Libraries, said that the project "plays to Auburn's strengths. We've already embarked on a number of ambitious projects aimed at digitizing materials on various aspects of Alabama's history and culture and making them freely available via the Web to people in Alabama and around the world." In particular, Trehub mentioned the AlabamaMosaic Web site and the Auburn-based Encyclopedia of Alabama. "So we have plenty of high-value content to contribute, and this project will ensure that it is there for people to use in decades to come," he concluded.

Sherida Downer, Interim Dean of Auburn University Libraries, said that "this is a tremendous opportunity both for the libraries involved in the project and the library community nationwide. Preservation of digital collections has become an important issue among libraries and museums as more of the precious historical collections are digitized. We appreciate the role the Library of Congress has played in funding this partnership and understanding the need for establishing best practices. As this project progresses we will be able to provide the library community with support and information on how to proceed with practices which will ensure preservation of their digital materials."

During the three years the project is under way, the partner institutions will develop a prioritized summary of at-risk digital content on Southern history and culture, pull together the most critical content to be preserved, develop a cooperative agreement for ongoing collaboration, and form a distributed preservation network infrastructure based on LOCKSS software. LOCKSS, which stands for "Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe", was developed at Stanford University. The software creates low-cost, persistent digital "caches" of authoritative versions of content delivered over the Web. It enables institutions to locally collect, store, preserve, and archive authorized content, thus safeguarding their community's access to that content.

The Auburn University Libraries have been involved in the creation of digital content since 2000. For more information on the Libraries and their digital collections, see

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Through its National Digital Library (NDL) Program, it is also one of the leading providers of noncommercial intellectual content on the Internet ( The NDL Program's flagship American Memory project, in collaboration with other institutions nationwide, makes freely available more than 9 million American historical items. In December 2000, Congress authorized the Library of Congress to develop and execute a congressionally approved plan for a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. A $99.8 million congressional appropriation was made to establish the program. The goal is to build a network throughout the country of committed partners working through a preservation architecture with defined roles and responsibilities. The complete text of the "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" is available at This includes an explanation of how the plan was developed, who the Library worked with to develop the plan and the key components of the digital preservation infrastructure. The plan was approved by Congress in December 2002.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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