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AT&T donates millions for National Digital Library

by Orlando DeBruce

Federal Computer Week

(IDG) -- The Library of Congress' National Digital Library received a $3.5 million from the AT&T Foundation to place two of the library's historical collections online.

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AT&T's gift, which is the largest corporate donation to the NDL program, will support the digitization of collections of Alexander Graham Bell and Samuel R.B. Morse.

The electronic collections will feature Bell's 1876 sketch of the first telephone and Morse's first telegraphic message 153 years ago. It also will include personal papers, journals and notebooks. The materials will be added to the more than 40 collections already available from American Memory, a project of the NDL program that can be accessed at

About 1,400 items from the Bell collection already are online.

"We believe that the National Digital Library is an initiative both Alexander Graham Bell and Samuel Morse would applaud, given their interest in technology to facilitate the exchange of information across great distances," said Librarian of Congress James Billington. "[AT&T's gift] will help the library continue the crucial yet expensive task of placing its collections online."

The NDL program receives an average of 3 million hits per day. The NDL goal is to make freely available via the Internet millions of items by the Year 2000, in collaboration with other institutions.

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