The DLF and RLG have formed a task force to advance the understanding of digital preservation policy and practice. Few institutions have formal policies in place but many have made commitments to preserve digital materials and are adopting practices to support the handling and long-term maintenance of such materials. The goal of the task force is to identify and document these practices so that DLF and RLG can identify what kinds of technical, economic, and organizational barriers institutions are facing, and what kinds of actions are needed to reduce those barriers.
The task group will gather and analyze existing digital preservation policies and practice descriptions for the following three classes of electronic materials:
In June, DLF staff made final preparations for the Digital Library Federation's first semi-annual Forum on Digital Library Practices, scheduled for July 1999. The agenda included presentations on authentication and authorization systems, digital repositories, finding aids, page image navigation systems, and naming systems.
In February 1999, the Digital Library Federation issued its first publication, Enabling Access in Digital Libraries: A Report on a Workshop on Access Management, edited by Caroline Arms with Judith Klavans and Donald Waters.
The second publication in the DLF series, Preserving the Whole: A Two-track Approach to Rescuing Social Science Data and Metadata, by Ann Green and JoAnn Dionne, appeared in June 1999.
Donald Waters visited the California Digital Library and the University of Chicago libraries. Rebecca Graham visited Carnegie Mellon libraries, the Yale University Library, California Digital Library, the libraries at the University of California at Berkeley, the Princeton University Library, the Library of Congress, and the Columbia University Library.
An executive subcommittee of the DLF Steering Committee was formed and began work in January with a dual purpose. First, it is charged to help plan the Steering Committee meetings. Second, it provides a ready source of advice for the DLF staff as needed between Steering Committee meetings on such matters as applications from prospective new members, specific program plans, budgetary matters, positions that DLF should take when consulted by outside groups, and so on. The members of the executive subcommittee for 1999 are Paula Kaufman (chair), Richard Lucier, Elaine Sloan, Winston Tabb, and Sarah Thomas.
The University of Texas at Austin joined the DLF in January. The University of Virginia is preparing an application.
CNI has joined in an alliance with DLF, on the same terms as RLG, OCLC, and NARA. That is, CNI and DLF will develop work jointly where their interests intersect, and Clifford Lynch will represent CNI at Steering Committee meetings as an ally "with voice but without vote."
Rebecca Graham joined the CLIR staff as DLF research associate in September 1998. Donald Waters, director of the DLF since October 1997, resigned on June 30, 1999, to accept the position of program officer for scholarly communication at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.