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MIT Libraries to build $1.8 million digital archive in conjunction with HP

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard Co. today announced plans to build a $1.8 million digital archive at MIT capable of holding the approximately 10,000 articles produced by MIT authors annually, including a large amount of multimedia content. The system is expected to accept submissions late next year.

"Information technology is transforming higher education," said MIT Provost Robert A. Brown. "This project will give MIT and other research universities the tools they need to capture the digital output of their institutions, just as they have with print."

"The purpose of this project is to develop a scalable digital archive with storage, submission, retrieval, searching, access control, rights management and publishing capabilities," said Ann Wolpert, director of the MIT Libraries. "As MIT's intellectual heritage makes its way into electronic form, the library must take responsibility for capturing those documents that will form the foundation of tomorrow's scholarship."

In addition to establishing its own research team at the university, HP Labs will provide the university with $1.8 million to cover staff, equipment and space.

The project will include articles written by faculty and researchers, technical reports from MIT labs and centers and other electronic content deemed valuable by the MIT Libraries or its partners among the schools, labs and centers at the university. The electronic formats will include text, images, audio, video and datasets.

"The digital archive will supplement, rather than replace, commercial publication by the MIT community," said Eric Celeste, assistant director for Technology Planning and Administration for MIT Libraries. "The archive will capture 'preprint' versions of documents destined for publication elsewhere, as well as supporting data and images that would otherwise not be shared with the scholarly community."

"Some people may believe that the Web already captures this content, particularly in the academic arena," said Bill Wickes, HP Labs manager for the MIT Libraries project, "but enhancements to the system are needed to insure the integrity, flexibility and long-term value of the data."

The project is designed to provide seven specific services not usually provided by the Web: stable, long-term storage; support for formats beyond HTML; access control; rights management; versioning; community feedback, and flexible publishing capabilities. That means a scholar submitting work to the digital archive would know that it would be available for future colleagues in various formats, protected by access control and rights management, linked to earlier and later versions of itself and capable of attracting feedback.

"This digital archive will be designed in such a way that the underlying software, data models and methods can be shared freely with other academic institutions," said Dick Lampman, HP vice president of research and director, HP Labs.

The MIT Libraries support the Institute's programs of study and research. Five major subject libraries, for Architecture and Planning, Engineering, Humanities, Science, and Management and Social Sciences, as well as five specialized libraries and the Institute Archives, offer access to a wide range of materials both print and electronic. The collection includes more than 2.5 million volumes, 17,000 current journals, and extensive collections of microforms, maps, scores, sound recordings, and videotapes. The Libraries' website <> presents information about library services and provides access for the MIT community to 200 databases and 1200 electronic journals.

Employing a staff of over 250, the MIT Libraries maintain membership in the Association of Research Libraries, the International Association of Technological University Libraries, the Online Computer Library Center, and the Boston Library Consortium.

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