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Library of Congress and San Diego Supercomputer Center to Evaluate SDSC SRB Data Grid for Preservation of Digital Holdings

Published 09/19/2002

The Library of Congress has assembled numerous important digital collections such as American Memory, a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than seven and a half million digital items on more than 100 topics from the collections of the Library and other repositories. Items include encoded text, images, and audio and video files varying in size from 25 kilobytes to five megabytes each, for a total of some eight terabytes of digital data.

Today, powerful data grid technologies such as the Storage Resource Broker (SRB), developed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) for scientific computing, are showing promise of being able to preserve these digital holdings. SDSC and Library of Congress are collaborating to evaluate the SRB data grid software for preservation and management of priceless national digital collections - part of the nation's heritage - for decades and centuries into the future.

"We're entering an era in which digital libraries can be used to preserve intellectual capital," said Reagan Moore, co-director of the Data and Knowledge Systems program at SDSC. "And beyond preservation, the ability to discover the information and knowledge content within digital holdings will add even greater value to these collections."

"The Library of Congress is collaborating with SDSC to explore emerging data grid technologies for preserving our digital collections," said Martha Anderson, Office of Strategic Initiatives, the Library of Congress. "We're interested in how the SDSC SRB can be applied to the task of building a repository for managing Library of Congress digital holdings."

The researchers will investigate the capabilities of the SRB to manage and also to repurpose Library of Congress collections. Repurposing a collection involves giving users the ability to generate new views of the digital holdings. For example, a user might want to gather the material in the American Memory collection that is relevant to, say, a landing on Mars. This material might involve NASA material on the mission and space vehicle, Congressional material on the budget debates involving the funding, and other material that puts the mission in historical context.

The collaboration will involve the installation at the Library of Congress of the SDSC SRB software and the Metadata Catalog, which keeps track of each digital object. Library of Congress staff will then build a test collection and use it to evaluate the capabilities of the SRB data grid middleware to preserve both the collection and descriptive information about the collection; to enable a naming convention that spans the entire collection, no matter where its components are located; to merge different collections seamlessly into new virtual collections; and to control access. Library of Congress researchers are also interested in evaluating the ability of the SRB to interoperate with other systems using open standards.

"In addition to appraising the SDSC SRB in managing Library of Congress digital collections, we're looking forward to the research opportunities this collaboration will give us to understand how digital library, data grid, and persistent archive technologies can all be integrated in support of preservation of digital holdings," said Moore. "This will help extend our ability to preserve intellectual capital."

About the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress's mission is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. Founded in 1800 to serve the reference needs of Congress, the Library of Congress is the world's largest library, with more than 124 million items in all formats on which information is recorded. The Library serves Congress and all Americans through its 21 reading rooms on Capitol Hill as well as through its popular Web site at

About the San Diego Supercomputer Center

The San Diego Supercomputer Center is an organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego and the leading-edge site of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure. SDSC's mission is to develop and use technology to advance science, and SDSC provides leadership both nationally and internationally in computing, data management, biosciences, and other areas. As a national laboratory for computational science and engineering, SDSC is funded by the National Science Foundation through NPACI and other federal agencies, the State and University of California, and private organizations. For more information, see or contact Paul Tooby, SDSC Communications, 858-822-3654,

Media Contacts:

Paul Tooby, SDSC (858) 822-3654,

Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217,

Related Links

Library of Congress:

American Memory:

SDSC Storage Resource Broker (SRB):

Data and Knowledge Systems (DAKS) at SDSC: