Contact: Guy Lamolinara Library of Congress (202) 707-9217, Crystal Ashton Ameritech Library Services (801) 223-5330

August 11, 1997

Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition Guidelines Now Available

The Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition Guidelines for 1997-98 are now available. The Guidelines may be used by any nonfederal, tax-exempt, nonprofit (501(c) 3) cultural repository in the United States holding primary sources suitable for digitizing and making available on the Internet. To order, view or download the Guidelines, visit the competitions Web site at

With a $2 million gift from Ameritech, the Library of Congress is sponsoring a competition to enable public, research and academic libraries, museums, historical societies and archival institutions (except federal institutions) to create digital collections of primary resources. These digital collections will complement and enhance the collections made available on the Internet by the National Digital Library Program at the Library of Congress.

The National Digital Library is envisioned as a distributed collection of converted library materials and digital originals to which many American institutions will contribute. The Library of Congress's contribution to this World Wide Web-based virtual library is called American Memory.

This is the second year of the competition; 10 institutions received awards last April in the first round of the program.

For this competition cycle, applications will be limited to collections of textual and graphic materials that illuminate United States history and culture during the period 1763-1920. Submission of proposals for collections with the following subject emphases is encouraged, although others are welcome:

History of popular culture -- for example, personal accounts or contemporary histories of sports or games; popular literature and entertainment; travel and tourism; fashion, dress, and design; culinary arts and leisure activities of broad national interest that have affected people's daily lives and contemporary customs.

History of political, social and cultural institutions -- for example, records and commentaries recounting the development of political movements and parties; personal papers of figures who played a leading role in the development of governmental institutions, such as the incorporation of new territories and regions into the United States; the records of people and institutions that helped to shape regional cultural, academic or philanthropic values; the development of industries and trades of financial institutions; and legislative and legal records relating to the rights of citizens to freedom, suffrage and equality.

Applications will be evaluated by scholars, educators, administrators and technical specialists external to the Library of Congress. Evaluators for the competition will be convened by the Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Council on Library and Information Resources.

The primary criterion for evaluation of an application will be the significance of the collection for historical understanding and its utility to students and the general public. Once evaluators have assessed these factors, they will assess the technical and administrative viability of the project's plan of work. Applications from Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and non-ARL institutions will be evaluated separately. In the final selection among meritorious projects some consideration will be given to relevance to the subject emphases outlined above and to geographical location.

Program staff will be available for individual consultations Aug. 29, during the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting in Chicago (check program guide for location). A workshop will be held Sept. 8 in Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress. Call (202) 707-1087 to schedule an individual consultation or use the on-line registration form at the competition Web site ( to sign up for the Sept. 8 workshop.

The National Digital Library Program aims, in collaboration with other institutions, to make millions of items freely available on the Internet. The Library of Congress/National Digital Library Competition will allow other institutions, such as New York Public Library, Brown University, North Dakota State University and the Ohio Historical Society -- four of the 10 winners in the 1996-97 cycle -- to digitize some of their most important American materials and make them part of the Librarys on-line collections.

The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, with more than 111 million items, including the papers of 23 U.S. presidents. Its collections are in nearly every language and format -- from Chinese woodblock prints to compact disks. Founded in 1800 to serve the reference needs of Congress, the Library has grown into an unparalleled treasure house of knowledge and creativity.

Ameritech serves millions of customers in 50 states and 40 countries. Ameritech provides a full range of communications services, including local and long distance telephone, cellular, paging, security monitoring, cable TV, electronic commerce, on-line services and more. One of the world's 100 largest companies, Ameritech ( (external link)) has 66,000 employees, 1 million share owners and $24 billion in assets.

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PR 97-127
ISSN 0731-3527

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