The Library of Congress in Washington has a broad-scale plan to preserve the nation's cultural heritage captured on sound recordings and to make more than a century's worth of recorded materials more widely available for educational purposes.The library's comprehensive National Recording Preservation Plan is its response to Congress' passing of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. That legislation charged the library with addressing the protection of a vast body of sound recordings that constitute significant cultural and historical documents. The plan contains 32 recommendations, short term and long term, to enhance preservation and access to millions of recordings in light of the deterioration or outright loss of millions more since they were made."Our collective energy in creating and consuming sound recordings has not been matched by an equal level of interest in preserving them for posterity," said James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, in a statement. "Radio broadcasts, music, interviews, historic speeches, field recordings, comedy records, author readings and other recordings have already been forever lost to the American people."Among examples of what has been lost: a wire recording made in the cockpit of the Enola Gay aircraft that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan near the end of World War II; recordings made by American composer and pianist George Gershwin; the entire recorded news and entertainment archive of one of radio's leading networks; important recordings by performers including Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.Additionally, the library's statement noted that "experts estimate that more than half of the titles recorded on cylinder records -- the dominant format used by the U.S. recording industry during its first 23 years -- have not survived.""Songs and music are one of the greatest expressions of a nation's culture," said singer and songwriter Paul Williams, who also is president of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the performance rights organization.Among the recommendations developed by the National Recording Preservation Board, which consists of musicians, composers, musicologists, librarians, archivists and members of the recording industry, is the application of current federal copyright law to all sound recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972, when the first federal law was enacted to protect sound recordings.