May 26, 2022

Conference Paper: Digitization to Avoid Intellectual Content Loss From Natural Disasters (World Digital Library)

The following paper will be presented this August at the 2015 IFLA Annual Meeting/World Library Information Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.


Digitization to Avoid Intellectual Content Loss From Natural Disasters


Jeanne Drewes
Library of Congress

Alan Haley
Library of Congress

Sandra Bostian
Library of Congress

Eve Ferguson
Library of Congress

IFLA Web Site


The World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world.

The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.

The principal objectives of the WDL are to:

  • Promote international and intercultural understanding;
  • Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
  • Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
  • Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.Partners in Africa include the National Library of Nigeria, Uganda, Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, South Africa and University Libraries in Pretoria, Wilwatersrand, in South Africa.

Learn how the Library of Congress assisted the Ugandan National Library in Kampala by sending specialists in conservation/stabilization and digitization to provide the basis for in-country digitization and stabilization of important collections thereby helping to protect, preserve and make these materials accessible to the world.

In order to make such a large collaborative possible the Library of Congress hosts the website to provide access, and established the metadata, digitization and file transfer standards with the other partners.

In Uganda the Library of Congress has provided equipment, software, training and financial support to establish digital conversion centers for high quality digital production. Learn how the Ugandan program was supported by training in stabilization/housing and digital protocols. Such actions can assist countries should a disaster occur by providing digital copies of possible damaged materials.

Direct to Full Text Paper (18 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.