Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217
Shannon Fioravanti, Bell Atlantic (703) 974-5455

September 22, 1995

Bell Atlantic's $1.5 Million to National Digital Library Program

Bell Atlantic CEO Ray Smith during a news conference today presented Librarian of Congress James H. Billington with a check for $1.5 million for the Library's National Digital Library (NDL) Program. The NDL Program aims, in collaboration with other institutions, to digitize 5 million items by the year 2000 and make them available over the Internet.

"The Library wishes to thank Ray Smith and Bell Atlantic for their generous support of the Library and its education programs. Bell Atlantic's contribution will enable the Library to continue to share its unique historical collections with the American people," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

Mr. Smith also announced the beginning of the Bell Atlantic Project CANDLE (Creating a National Digital Library for Everyone), established to improve American education through high technology. "Project CANDLE reflects our determination to add a dramatic dimension to learning, to light a new pathway to knowledge and information," said Mr. Smith.

Also participating in the news conference were students and teachers from Washington, D.C., and Bridgeville, Del. The teachers and students, who are in the fifth, seventh and eighth grades, demonstrated how they could use the Library's on-line primary source materials in their studies to help develop critical thinking skills. A survey conducted during the Library's American Memory pilot project determined that K-12 students were the heaviest users of the Library's digitized materials.

American Memory was a five-year pilot, begun in fiscal 1990, in which the Library provided digitized materials to 44 schools, colleges and libraries across the country. The survey showed that K-12 schools used American Memory collections to teach the research process -- how to begin research, analyze results and communicate results to others. The students learned how to integrate digitized resource materials with those they obtained from traditional sources.

Private sector contributions such as today's from Bell Atlantic have enabled the Library to digitize more than 300,000 items. These include selected Civil War photographs of Mathew Brady, notebooks of Walt Whitman and early motion pictures, 1897- 1916. Ten of the Library's major exhibitions are also available, as is the Library's on-line catalog and THOMAS, a database of congressional information. The Library's World Wide Web homepage address is http://www.loc.gov.

The $1.5 million gift brings the Library of Congress closer to achieving its goal of raising $45 million in private funds for the NDL Program. Nearly $18 million has now been raised since October 1994, when the NDL Program began. The Library has asked Congress to appropriate $3 million over the next five fiscal years, or $15 million total, for the NDL Program. By 2000 the Library hopes to have raised $60 million through congressional and private funds.

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PR 95-127
9/22/95
ISSN 0731-3527

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