Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

November 18, 1996

Library of Congress Named Finalist in Program Awards for "Extraordinary Achievement" on the Information Superhighway

Library Is One of Six Finalists in Education Category

The American Memory historical collections, available from the National Digital Library (NDL) Program of the Library of Congress, are among the six finalists in the Education category of the National Information Infrastructure (NII) Awards Program, one of the leading forums for the recognition of "extraordinary achievement" on the Internet.

American Memory, one of 60 finalists in 10 categories, was chosen from a field of nearly 1,000 nominees. The NII Awards Program recognizes work in 10 categories that "touch on all areas of America's work, play and community life."

"The Library is honored to be recognized as a major contributor to the intellectual content of this electronic era," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "We are firmly committed to making universally accessible our rich holdings to help revitalize education and literacy nationwide."

American Memory ( is a project that aims to make freely available on the Internet millions of rare and unique Library of Congress items relating to American history. Current on-line collections include selected Civil War photographs of Mathew Brady; papers and photographs donated by Harry Houdini; daguerreotype photographs; documents relating to slavery, the civil rights movement and women's suffrage; sound recordings of political leaders; and early motion pictures of vaudeville acts, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and other subjects.

"The finalist award to American Memory is an outstanding achievement and a real acknowledgment of the Library of Congress's creativity in using electronic communications to create new possibilities," said James Hake, Chairman of the NII Awards Program. "The Library serves as an example of the kind of leadership and dedication that are critical to our continued development as an information-era society."

The winners will be announced during a ceremony to be held Dec. 3 in New York City. A complete list of finalists is available from the National Information Infrastructure web site at

Nominees in the NII Awards Program range from corporations and entrepreneurs to grass roots community organizations and individuals. They are competing for awards in Arts and Entertainment, Business, Children, Community, Education, Next Generation, Government and Health, and in two special awards, the NII Public Access Awards, sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, and the NII Telecollaboration Award, sponsored by AT&T. Categories are presided over by separate panels of judges comprised of recognized experts in each area.

The NII Awards Program is made possible by a wide range of supporters, including IBM, the sponsor of this year's awards ceremony.

"IBM is delighted to support the NII Awards," said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager of IBM's Internet Division. "The NII Awards recognize leaders who have successfully applied network technology and addresses issues of how society works with information in a connected world."

Only two years old, the NII Awards Program has emerged as the one of the most important competitions for the recognition of Information Superhighway uses and has won praise from a broad range of industry and community leaders, including Vice President Albert Gore, who cited the NII's efforts to reward and showcase these especially beneficial uses of the Information Superhighway.

The NII Awards are supported by more than 70 sponsors. More information about the NII Awards is available at

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PR 96-168
ISSN 0731-3527

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