Monday, September 03, 2007

internet archive and nasa

I missed this announcement last week (even though Peter Suber blogged it) -- NASA and Internet Archive Team to Digitize Space Imagery:

NASA and Internet Archive of San Francisco are partnering to scan, archive and manage the agency's vast collection of photographs, historic film and video. The imagery will be available through the Internet and free to the public, historians, scholars, students and researchers.

Currently, NASA has more than 20 major imagery collections online. With this partnership, those collections will be made available through a single, searchable "one-stop-shop" archive of NASA imagery.


NASA selected Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization, as a partner for digitizing and distributing agency imagery through a competitive process. The two organizations are teaming through a non-exclusive Space Act agreement to help NASA consolidate and digitize its imagery archives at no cost to the agency.


Under the terms of this five-year agreement, Internet Archive will digitize, host and manage still, moving and computer-generated imagery produced by NASA.


In addition, Internet Archive will work with NASA to create a system through which new imagery will be captured, catalogued and included in the online archive automatically. To open this wealth of knowledge to people worldwide, Internet Archive will provide free public access to the online imagery, including downloads and search tools....

From an AP article on Wired News:

Kahle said the archive won't be able to digitize everything NASA has ever produced but will try to capture the images of broadest interest to historians, scholars, students, filmmakers and space enthusiasts.

Kahle said the images already in digital form represent the minority of NASA's collections, and they are scattered among some 3,000 Web sites operated by the space agency. He said those sites would continue to exist; the archive would keep copies on its own servers to provide a single, free site to augment the NASA sites.


The Internet Archive is bearing all of the costs, and Kahle said fundraising has just started. The five-year agreement is non-exclusive, meaning NASA is free to make similar deals with others to further digitize its collections.

What's particularly exciting is that this is both an aggregation and a digitization project -- widespread materials will be brought together for easier discovery, get enriched metadata, and important materials will be selected and digitized to add to the corpus.

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