Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217; Heidi Belden, Office of Sen. Pete Domenici (202) 224-7098; Deborah Deal, First Market Group for LizardTech (407) 788-7070 Media Advisory Update: Materials to be available on-line on June 9, rather than June 28, as previously announced.

June 6, 1997

Sen. Pete Domenici and the Librarian of Congress Announce New Library of Congress Map Collection on the Internet

For First Time, Detailed Maps to Be Available Using New File-Compression Technology

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) will announce a significant gift to the Library of Congress that will enable the public to access some of the Library's incomparable map collections on the Internet.

WHO: James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress; Sen. Pete Domenici; Ralph Ehrenberg, Chief, Geography and Map Division; John R. Grizz Deal, President of LizardTech.

WHEN: Monday, June 9, 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Digital Library Visitors' Center, first floor, Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E.

WHAT: For the first time, maps from the collections of the Library of Congress will be available on-line and offer greater detail than can be seen with the naked eye. This new collection from the Library's site on the World Wide Web is made possible through the donation of a file-compression technology developed by LizardTech Inc. of Santa Fe, N.M., and Seattle. The presentation of detailed maps on-line, once highly impractical due to the very large size of their digital files, is now possible with the technology that reduces the size of massive map files by more than 20 times. Users can access these maps on the World Wide Web to view the entire image or zoom in for greater detail. No special software is necessary to view these maps. They will be accessible to the public for the first time at http://www.loc.gov/.

The donation of the file-compression technology is the latest gift received by the Geography and Map Division through its Center for Geographic Information, an alliance with private sector industries that are working to develop a vast array of new geographic technologies. The large-format, flatbed scanner that is used to digitize the maps, for example, was donated by Tangent Color Systems; Hewlett Packard gave the computer equipment that is used to process the map images so that they can be displayed.

"The Library and the nation benefit from this gift in a very significant way," said Dr. Billington in announcing the gift. "It reduces the cost of digital storage of the maps that the division plans to scan as part of the National Digital Library Program, and it allows the general public to have unprecedented access to the Library's unparalleled map collections over the Internet."

The compression of these very large files is made possible by the use of Multiresolution Seamless Image Database (MrSID) software, which was invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Sen. Domenici sponsored federal technology transfer legislation in 1989 that enabled partnerships between national laboratories and U.S. industry. LizardTech has used this and other legislation to develop private sector commercial uses for this technology.

"The Library of Congress's use of the LizardTech software is another successful example of technology transfer from our national laboratories. These transfers enable the public and private partnerships that provide additional returns to the nation," Sen. Domenici said. "This collection of maps will greatly enhance the offerings from the National Digital Library Program, which is bringing the riches of the Library to all Americans."

The Library's Geography and Map Division comprises a collection of 4.5 million maps and 60,000 atlases, making it the largest in the world. The division is scanning maps from its core collections to make them available from the Library's National Digital Library Program. The first virtual cartographic collection, "Panoramic Maps of the United States," will be available on the World Wide Web today as a component of "American Memory" (http://www.loc.gov/), which is bringing the most significant of the Library's American historical collections to a wider audience through the Internet.

The National Digital Library Program aims to make available via the Internet millions of important materials from America's past contained in the incomparable collections of the Library of Congress. Already accessible are Mathew Brady's Civil War photographs; documents relating to slavery, the civil rights movement and women's suffrage; and early films and sound recordings. The Library's services on the World Wide Web currently process more than 42 million transactions per month.

LizardTech, formed in 1992, is a private company focused on publishing innovative software that allows users of all levels easy access to digital images and multimedia content. LizardTech is a spinoff of Los Alamos National Laboratory; it is based in Santa Fe and Seattle.

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PR 97-100
6/9/97
ISSN 0731-3527

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