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Library of Congress goes digital

The Library of Congress will soon expand its digital archives of Americana to include sound recordings, photographs and priceless documents.

The Library of Congress will soon be expand its digital archives of Americana to include sound recordings, photographs and priceless documents from public and private libraries, thanks to a $2 million grant from the Midwestern Baby Bell Ameritech.

The Library of Congress's National Digital Library (NDL) program was the recipient of the grant, the largest it has ever received. Until now, the digital collection has used only material stored at the Library of Congress itself. Now, the collection will expand to archive material from across the country.

"The focus is on Americana...it's the first time that materials other than what the Library of Congress will be part of the NDL," said Library of Congress spokesman Guy Lamolinara.

The Library of Congress has already posted more than a dozen collections online, including Continental Congress documents, Abraham Lincoln's handwritten copies of the Gettysburg Address, and excerpts from Walt Whitman's notebooks.

Congress has already pledged $15 million, and private donations have contributed more than $21 million. The NDL program was established in 1994 with a goal of raising $60 million by the year 2000.

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