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Knoxville – The University of Tennessee should benefit from a major foundation-s grant extending funding for a program of storing and managing academic material on the Internet.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has provided additional funding for the LOCKSS program, short for “Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe,” which makes electronic documents more secure, easier to store, and more accessible.

“Collaborative research initiatives such as LOCKSS help place Tennessee in the top rank of research universities in this country,” said Chris Hodge, of UT-s SunSITE Project. “Our participation advances UT President J. Wade Gilley-s vision for where UT should be.”

Participating in the consortium with UT are Stanford, Columbia, and Harvard universities, the University of California at Berkeley, as well as Sun Microsystems, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation.

“It-s very exciting that the Mellon Foundation is continuing the program through the testing phase,” Hodge said. “Although the money doesn-t come directly to the University of Tennessee, this grant from Mellon saves the consortium money that would otherwise have come out of the universities- operating budgets, or kept them from participating.”

LOCKSS works by placing digital copies of documents in library computers at several institutions. If data in one copy goes bad, the software automatically corrects it with information from a good copy.

“The project is a means by which universities can share digital information and ensure quality and permanence of that information,” Hodge said. “We think it has a lot of ramifications for other projects we-re involved in, relating to digital library initiatives, and multimedia storage and distribution.”

SunSITE is part of a program initiated by Sun Microsystems to promote the development and implementation of new and emerging technologies on campuses and in local communities. There are currently over 55 SunSITEs worldwide.