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Re: Lending, reserves, archives definitions

From:  Peter Graham, Rutgers University Libraries

Chris Zielinski asked for definitions of a few things.  I will reply only on 
>---electronic archives
>---electronic backup (Is there any difference between the two?)   <

There is considerable difference between the two.  Backup and restore
typically assume a known, specific medium as the original and target
of the process and intends only to guard against its failure.  The
backups will typically be at timed intervals and the assumption is
that the software and hardware necessary to use the restored objects
is readily to hand, even backed up/restored with the data.  

Archiving assumes preservation of information over periods of time.
Medium preservation (the focus of backup) is not the prime concern,
for as Michael Lesk has said, electronic preservation means copying.
At the very least such copying means "refreshing," i.e. copying from
one instance of a medium (a tape, or a disk) to another instance of
the same kind.  More typical will be "migration" in order to overcome
technological obsolescence, whether of the medium (disks change size
and format) or of the technology that uses it (from DisplayWrite to
Word 4.0 to WordPerfect 6).  This is technological preservation, and
will be extremely difficult over long periods of time as technology
continues to change so rapidly.  

Finally there is the matter of integrity, or authenticity, which can
be called intellectual preservation.  This is the assurance that
easily-changed electronic information has not in fact been changed, so
that a user following a citation will find in fact what was cited.
Change can occur by accident or by design, and be well-intentioned
(directory updates) or fraudulent.  

There is more to be said on all of this.  See, i.a., 

Graham, Peter S., Intellectual Preservation: Electronic Preservation
of the Third Kind (Washington, DC: Commission on Preservation and
Access, March, 1994), 8 pp. 

Graham, Peter S., "Requirements for the Digital Research Library,"
College & Research Libraries (July, 1995, p. 331-339). 

Lesk, Michael, Preservation of New Technology: A Report of the
Technology Assessment Advisory Committee to the Commission on Preservation
and Access (Washington, DC: CPA, 1992; available from the Commission at
$5: 1400 16th S. NW, Suite 740, Washington, DC 20036-2217). 

Long Term Preservation of Electronic Materials, British Library R&D
Report 6238. A report of "a  JISC/British Library workshop as part of
the Electronic Libraries Programme organized by UKOLN 27th-28th November
1995 at the University of Warwick."
Available in print and also on the Web at
Papers by Peter Graham (on preserving the digital library), Denise
Lievesley (on managing digital archives), Daniel Greenstein, Sir Anthony
Kenny (on legal deposit), Margaret Hedstrom (on preserving digital
information), Mirjam Foot (on preservation policies), Tony Hendley (on
practical implications).

Lynch, Clifford, Accessibility and Integrity of Networked Information
Collections (Office of Technology Assessment, Congress of the United
States, July 5, 1993; 107 pp.). 


Peter Graham     Rutgers University Libraries
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