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Date: 1997-10-14
Contact: Terry Colvin
Phone: .(510) 987-9152
Email: terry.colvin@ucop.edu
University of California President Richard C. Atkinson today (Oct. 14) announced the creation of the California Digital Library -- a service that will make it possible to bring to computer screens statewide the holdings of UC libraries and others throughout the world.

Atkinson, at a news conference in San Francisco, also announced plans for UC to join with the California State Library, the California Library Association and the California Library Services Board to use UC's new digital library in the development of digital library services for library users throughout California.

Joining Atkinson at the news conference were California State Librarian Kevin Starr and UC San Francisco head librarian Richard E. Lucier, who has been appointed founding university librarian and executive director of the new digital library.

"Today we announce the creation of UC's library without walls," Atkinson said. "Instead of seeking out information in place-bound libraries, limited by what is only available on the bookshelves, the California Digital Library will allow scholars of all ages and interests to range worldwide in their quest for knowledge, using the Internet, the World Wide Web and a computer."

Atkinson said UC envisions a library system that blends the print and electronic holdings of the universities nine campuses, a collection of more than 29 million volumes. Building on the excellence of these campus libraries, the charter collection in the new virtual library will center on the topics of science, technology and industry as the library creates new ways for the campuses to share their resources statewide among UC's faculty and students.

Using existing library computer networks within UC, such as the MELVYL System and the digitized campus library catalogues, the digital library will enable library patrons to summon to their computers by the click of a mouse published documents that today still have to be culled from library stacks. UC libraries have already taken major steps towards digitizing parts of their collections, some of which are already available over the World Wide Web. For example, UC Berkeley had digitized much of the Bancroft Library's photos historical photos of California, UC Santa Barbara has put its vast map collection on the Web and the California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside also displays its rich store of photographs on-line.

Beyond UC, other libraries and museums are transforming their collections to be accessible by computer. The J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu has a large display of on-line paintings and artifacts on the Web and the College of Siskiyous has digitized portions of John Muir's diaries.

According to University Librarian Lucier -- who moves to the new post after five years as university librarian at UCSF -- the digital library will license, acquire, develop and manage all kinds of digital materials -- including books, journals, monographs and photographs. The library will also establish policies and procedures for archiving its holdings and provide leadership and training to support electronic publishing by UC faculty.

"High-quality digital content is a critical component of the new library. Technology will serve as a tool for accessing and integrating the new resources," Lucier said. "We expect the library to grow as fast and far as the new technology allows. Just as now it is hard to imagine life without the Internet, in a few years digital libraries will be indispensable tools for scholars and anyone seeking information."

Although the library's initial focus will be to serve the information needs of UC's 167,000 students and 7,000 faculty members, part of its mission will be to build partnerships with other public and private libraries to deliver information to all Californians through the state's Library of California.

"Just as this is a library without walls, the Library of California is a library with 8,000 doors, which is the number of public and private libraries throughout the state that can be joined together digitally through this growing partnership," said State Librarian Kevin Starr.

Starr said the California Digital Library will be a centerpiece in that library, a program that allows all libraries of all types in California to share collections and services of all kinds -- including information stored in digital formats.

"The California Digital Library, by transforming a wealth of resources into electronic  form, will represent one of the most important doors of the Library of California," Starr said. "We are delighted with this newest library and with the partnership between UC and the California State Library. The people of California will be the beneficiaries of our collaborative efforts."

Atkinson said UC's budget for next year includes a request to the state to provide $3 million in general funds to be matched by $1 million from the university. UC is spending $1 million this year to launch the effort.

"California is the nexus of developments that pave the information superhighway," Atkinson said. "The University of California stands ready to help bring together the talents and resources of the state's colleges and universities and our public libraries with the entrepreneurial energies of the private sector to build this latest link for sharing information." # # #