If the government invested a mere $100 million of our stimulus package (we've already spent over $72.6 billion), that means 2 billion pages of paper or microfiche would get scanned. For $500 million, we're talking a huge chunk of our national backlog being digitized, a task that would result in an enduring digitial public work for our modern era, something that would prove immense use to future generations, and would also save the government tremendous amounts of money in storage costs and other facilities expenses.
What would it take to get the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Government Printing Office, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the National Technical Information Service all singing off the same page and working together? There is a tremendous opportunity for White House leadership here, bringing the parties together and creating a compelling case on why we should launch and fund a 5-year $500 million effort to create a National Scan Center. Both the CIO and the CTO in the Executive Office of the President have talked about the tremendous "moral authority and convening power" of the White House, and I believe that this issue is of sufficient importance that it would be worthwhile to pursue.