Library of Congress plans moving-image portal

Three universities are using federal funding to build the Library of Congress' first centralized database portal for motion pictures and video images.

The University of Washington, Rutgers Universities Libraries and the Georgia Institute of Technology Interactive Media Technology Center received a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to build the portal, said James DeRoest, assistant director of computing and communications at the University of Washington. The Association of Moving Image Archivists originally commissioned the project with funding from the Library of Congress' National Film Preservation Board.

The Moving Image Collections will act as a catalog or metadatabase of 'what's out there,' from old videotapes to digital motion pictures, DeRoest said.

Instead of storing the moving-image collection in a central location, the portal will redirect visitors to the content providers, which will provide information on downloading video or ordering tapes.

The portal applications will run on two IBM eServer p630 systems and two IBM eServer p610 computers, all under SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 from SuSE Linux AG of Germany.

The Moving Image Collections researchers wanted to use Linux and open-source applications and tools to keep costs down, DeRoest said. They had considered Open LDAP for building the directory with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol but ended up using IBM's Directory Server, which is based on the Open LDAP standard but more robust than the generic version.

The Rutgers collaborators are evaluating database applications, and the researchers at Georgia Tech are looking into open-source search engines, DeRoest said.

Once it's completed, the portal will be turned over to the Library of Congress as a production service, DeRoest said.

The finished portal will have multiple interfaces to serve the needs of archivists, historians, educators and other users, DeRoest said.

The project's Web site is gondolin.rutgers.edu/MIC.

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