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Re: Libraries and archiving

It was commented "If the primary function of a library is to maintain a
durable collection for its patrons,...."  I think this is our wish and
hope, but we have never actually demonstrated its accomplishment on a
large-scale in our most common medium, paper books.  It is a good goal,
even an homily, but rarely accomplished for as often as our literature
repeats it.  Most of our paper stacks are 'on fire' because of the intense
overhead related to deacidification or reformatting.

I am much more sanguine that we will actually be successful in
archiving/preservation of electronic journals because licenses are
malleable human constructions and digital manipulations of data continue
to be faster and cheaper.  I think the question is leadership in formating
and storage.  Publisher produced solutions run the risk of the VHS/Beta
shake-out.  There is an urgent and unique role here for librarian-based
solutions and a need for organizations such as NLM, CLR, and OCLC to
cooperate to identify a durable standard storage format and data migration
path which publishers can adopt and we can specify in licensing.  If this
can be accomplished, where or by whom it is stored will be less important
other than it may be held hostage.

John P. Abbott
  Coordinator, Collection Development		
  ASU Libraries                           
  Appalachian State University            
  Boone, NC  28608-2026                   

phone:  828-262-2821  
fax:    828-262-3001  
email:  abbottjp@appstate.edu