American MemoryThe National Digital Library Program: Archived Documentation

The Library of Congress / Ameritech National Digital Library Competition (1996-1999)

About the Competition

The Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition was a three-year program made possible by a $2 million gift from the Ameritech Foundation. The aim was to enable U.S. libraries, archives, museums and historical societies to digitize their collections of American historical materials for inclusion in American Memory, the Library of Congress's online collection of primary source materials in U.S. history and culture. The Ameritech program was the first effort to make unique collections from other libraries available online via the Library of Congress to millions of children, students, educators and lifelong learners. As James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress observed when announcing the first awards, "Integrating these collections into our National Digital Library Program will not only enhance the depth and breadth of available materials, but also make it truly national in scope." In the spring of 1997, 1998, and 1999, awards were announced. The first of twenty-three award-winning collections was released online in May 1998, and the final collection was released in March 2003.