Building on the results of a planning grant completed in 2008, the new three-year Mellon Foundation grant will establish best practices for collecting, managing, preserving, and providing access to at-risk digital content, specifically in the area of human rights. This is particularly timely, given events in world areas like Tibet and Iran, where web content is so vulnerable.
"This grant is a significant recognition of the need for research libraries to include web content in their processes for building and managing collections, and of the ongoing efforts of Columbia University Libraries to design, implement and operate a digital library repository capable of collecting and archiving digital content," said Robert Wolven, principal investigator for the project and associate university librarian for bibliographic services and collection development at Columbia University.
“We hope the program will serve as a model for the wider community of research libraries and scholars to use and adapt,” said Wolven. “This project will result in web content collection and preservation being fully integrated into the work of the Libraries.”
The grant will draw on the expertise of the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), the Center for the Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS), and the Copyright Advisory Office to build a library-wide understanding and technical infrastructure for capturing and preserving web content.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb is the gateway to its services and resources.