Friday, October 09, 2009

Digital Preservation Matters - 9 October 2009

Preservation: Evolving Roles and Responsibilities of Research Libraries. ARL. September 15, 2009. Webcast, PDF.

This site has the webcast and a pdf of the original report. Some notes from the webcast:

There isn’t enough funding to meet all preservation needs

  • Need to align preservation activities with institutional concerns.
  • Can’t preserve without metadata. It is what connects preservation to the rest of the library.
  • Must maintain the context and address rights issues.Research libraries must determine what researchers will need in the future, then preserve the content so that it can be us
  • Need to balance print and digital collections
  • Our special collections are what differentiate us from other research libraries, and we need to make broad access available to these collections

Safeguarding Collections at the Dawn of the 21st Century: Describing Roles & Measuring Contemporary Preservation Activities in ARL Libraries. Lars Meyer. ARL. May 2009.

Notes: Preservation is a core function of the research library and a key element of the stewardship and access missions of research organizations. It is not just the responsibility of one department. Three perspectives for libraries:

  1. Reallocate priorities and resources in response to changing trends in publishing, research, and teaching activities.
  2. Expand practices related to preserving digital content though Web archiving, digital repositories, and efforts to preserve e-journals and other born digital content
  3. Build collaborative activities to effectively address digital preservation challenges

“Digital Preservation is a subset of library preservation.” A definition of data curation: ““is the active and on-going management of data through its lifecycle of interest and usefulness to scholarship, science, and education. Data curation activities enable data discovery and retrieval, maintain its quality, add value, and provide for re-use over time. [It] includes authentication, archiving, management, preservation, retrieval, and representation.” Preservation includes managing the relationship between content, context, and access. Rather than discussing analog vs. digital, or access vs. preservation, it is more important to ask if relevant preservation work is being done throughout the life of digital content, and how or when is it done.

Preservation of born digital content begins with:

  1. decisions about the form in which a library should acquire digital content;
  2. a clear understanding of the library’s rights to preserve such content;
  3. policies, technical infrastructure, and staff to realize the ongoing work;
  4. possibly joining or develop cooperative digital preservation networks.

Digital Repositories: It is “vitally important for all research libraries to be engaging with digital repository development projects in some fashion.” These are not the same as preservation repositories; both are needed. One example given is the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) is the institutional repository for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which has very well defined policies. Digitization, to be considered a preservation process, must include an institutional plan to preserve the digital content.

Web resources: many government documents which used to be printed are now available on online. Research libraries have a responsibility to determine how the community can best share the effort of identifying, describing, and preserving Web-based publications.

It is unlikely that all the needed preservation expertise will exist in one library so ARL members need to develop partnerships. Preservation is a continual learning process.

Some recommendations:

Institutions need well-developed policies, strategies, and practices.

  1. Preservation decisions to be made strategically throughout the life-cycle of the resources
  2. Community agreed-upon practices are needed for preserving digital surrogates.
  3. Digital curation: an active set of activities that requires active partnerships
  4. Digital preservation requires an understanding of rights, technical infrastructure, staffing
  5. Repositories: include preservation activities, work with faculty on continuing access.

Google lets you custom-print millions of books. Ryan Singel. Wired. September 18, 2009.

Out of print books can be printed individually with the Espresso Book Machine through a venture with Google Book Search and On Demand Books. The $100,000 printer can print a 300 page gray-scale book with a color cover in about 4 minutes; it then trims and binds the book. The materials cost about $3. The machine can print about 60,000 books a year. The books can be printed from pdf files. “Some 80 percent of the public-domain books are looked at in a given month.” “Neller said he'd love to see the day when Google Book Searchers can press a button next to a search result and find the closest local printer, but Google says that's a long way off.”

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