Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, in announcing the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, said in an address: “For over 25 centuries, the great universities of the world have always had three fundamental missions:
- the creation of knowledge (that is, research and innovation),
- the dissemination of knowledge (that is, education and learning), and
- the preservation of knowledge.
The advent of the digital age is giving importance of the third mission "the preservation of knowledge". Previously, the preservation of knowledge was the almost exclusive mission of libraries and museums. Digital material is vital to fully realizing the promise of online education. The digital collections are a large investment over many years. The digital collections will continue to grow, as will the scholarly dialog concerning them, which "defines the character, values and heritage of an institution." Preserving the collections in perpetuity fully maximizes the value of all these collections to the university and the community. The transformation of the third mission of universities from the physical to the virtual world of digitization is both essential and irreversible.
Also announced was an initiative would draw all digitization efforts together into a true university-wide strategy. The goal of this Digitization Master Plan is to digitize and store in some form all the existing collections of lasting importance to research and scholarship, and to ensure the preservation of all new research and scholarship that is born digital. This will support research, education and the preservation of knowledge.