Linux to help the Library of Congress save American history The Library of Congress, where thousands of rare public domain documents relating to America’s history are stored and slowly decaying, is about to begin an ambitious project to digitize these fragile documents using Linux-based systems and publish the results online in multiple formats.

Thanks to a $2 million grant from the Sloan Foundation, “Digitizing American Imprints at the Library of Congress” will begin the task of digitizing these rare materials — including Civil War and genealogical documents, technical and artistic works concerning photography, scores of books, and the 850 titles written, printed, edited, or published by Benjamin Franklin. According to Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive, which developed the digitizing technology, open source software will play an “absolutely critical” role in getting the job done.