Contacts: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940, Jill Brett (202) 707-2905

January 19, 1993

Online Access to Library of Congress Automated Files To Be Available Over the Internet in April

The Library of Congress has announced a major new initiative to increase the availability of its resources to the public.

In a statement before the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday, January 25, 1993, during hearings on the Library's fiscal year 1994 budget request, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said that the Joint Committee on the Library had approved online access to the Library's automated information files through INTERNET beginning in late April 1993.

These files, containing more than 28 million records in over 30 files, have been available to congressional offices, state libraries, and cooperative cataloging libraries in the past. The files to be offered by the Library include all LC MARC (machine- readable cataloging) files; copyright files, 1978 to the present; public policy citations, 1976 to the present; and federal bill status files. Both the technical processing/cataloging system (MUMS) and the reference/retrieval system (SCORPIO) will be accessible for searches over the INTERNET.

The Library has experimented with various forms of remote access to its public files -- initially in a pilot project called ROLLUP, and most recently in its LC DIRECT fee-based service to state library agencies. Online access to Library of Congress data bases is useful to a variety of libraries. The INTERNET will provide a means by which access can be had at minimal cost to all. No fees will be charged.

The Library of Congress is able to offer remote access to its public data bases via INTERNET as a free service, but must limit its customer support to documentation download over the INTERNET. The Library will begin by providing system availability to 60 simultaneous INTERNET users to ensure that service to Congress and on-site users is not degraded. Usage will be monitored to determine if this number can be expanded if needed, but service to congressional users will continue to be the Library's primary goal for its online systems.

Specific details regarding when and how one can connect to the Library's public online files through INTERNET will be available in April.

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PR 93-005
1/27/93
ISSN 0731-3527

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