a product that LC can get either at a discount or at no cost is preferable to other products.

Additionally, vision and direction must be set clearly before making technological choices, because it is so difficult to change technologies at the Library. For example, the Library is still affected by the decision made years ago to standardize around OS/2, which led to the truly bizarre situation of needing to install (in 1999) desktop machines that would be able to “dual boot” (i.e., run either as OS/2 machines for certain legacy applications created during the reign of OS/2 or as Windows 95 machines).

THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES DIRECTORATE

The Information Technology Services (ITS) Directorate is the computer and communication systems and services group for the Library of Congress. It acquires, supports, and maintains the computer, networking, and telephone systems for LC. ITS does most of the in-house programming, handles much of the computer-systems training, and monitors contracts with software and hardware vendors. It has a staff of approximately 200 people (see Figure 8.1).

The ITS Directorate also manages many small to medium-size development projects involving 1 to 10 people for between 3 months and 2 years. Projects generally start with a request from a service organization. ITS works with the client organization to scope the project and to write a requirements document. The project then gets approved in a fairly informal way by consultation among the senior ITS staff and the client organization. Once the project is approved, ITS staff work with the client using a spiral development methodology to manage their work. When the projects are deployed, ITS administers and evolves the applications.

ITS produces substantial and serviceable high-level architectural documents on topics such as storage and retrieval of digital content, centrally supported systems infrastructure, and telecommunications.1 Its server and storage architectures meet its customers’ needs.

Although it is not what in industry would be seen as an exceptionally responsive or cutting-edge technical organization, given the many con-

1  

See “Technology Architecture for Storage and Retrieval of Digital Content at the Library of Congress” (ITS, February 1999); “Technology Architecture for the Centrally Supported Systems Infrastructure at the Library of Congress (ITS, February 1999); and “Telecommunications Architecture at the Library of Congress” (ITS, January 1999). All of these are unpublished, internal planning documents.



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