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Perpetual Access--costs and consortia

From:  Peter Graham, Rutgers University Libraries

Martin Runkle and Sara Randall both raise the important question of how
long-term access to paid-for electronic information will be managed,
assuming the fee and intellectual property issues are worked out.  They
are right that it is unlikely smaller libraries will be able to store the
data, continue to access it, and the like.  I don't think larger libraries
will typically be able to either as the volume of this sort of information

This seems to me classically the consortial role, the role of (to
paraphrase the founding RLG documents) helping libraries to achieve as a
group what they could not achieve individually.  The difficulties are
real, but the requirement remains--preserving the intellectual content. 
It's certainly true that every library doesn't need to do it; but some do,
and those "some"  probably can't do it all by themselves. 

Bernie Sloan asks for a cost-effectiveness analysis of preserving such
data as opposed to print.  Among other things, he seems to be saying that
the bound volumes already on the shelves don't cost us anything, or at
least incur "relatively little overhead."  As our existing buildings get
fuller this is demonstrably not the case, and if we are looking at costs
we have to go beyond library costs to institutional costs (library
managers don't have to pay for their buildings but someone does).  I've
often thought that the cost of continuing maintenance of electronic
information will roughly approximate building costs for paper files of
similar size, but that's intuitive and not based on fact. 

A few years ago Ann Kenney and others at Yale did some work on comparative
costs of space vs. electronic storage; I wonder if someone familiar with
that work could summarize it here?  --pg

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