materials in our collections in their original formats, even as we expand investment
in digital preservation and as we begin to collect and archive Web content. We need
to maintain and develop new expertise across these arenas, led by preservation
directors who can see, advocate for, and work across them. Institution-based
preservation programs may need to be set aside in favor of expanded outsourcing
and new combinations of libraries to get the work done collectively.
Deborah Jakubs: The expansion of the definition or scope of preservation means
that it will involve a wide variety of skill sets. I’d suggest that we be active in
inviting interns and students to work in our preservation operations, and that
we consider teaching on-the-job skills to some promising individuals who are
interested. The preservation professional will need (and already needs!) to
understand and manage a much wider array of domains than before.
Lars Meyer: We will see continued need for expertise in the areas of sound
recording and moving image preservation, as well as still-image digitization.
For libraries with significant book and paper special collections, trained and
experienced conservators are essential. Needed expertise will differ from library
to library. Does a library expect to hire someone to oversee the work in house or
to manage work that is outsourced? When we expect to complete complex,
technical work in house, we will need high level, appropriately compensated,
technical positions that likely cannot be filled by library science degree holders
or typical library paraprofessional staff. Today’s preservation librarian or
administrator should be integrated with collection development staff to better
understand and contribute to decisions that affect users of information resources,
be they historical or legacy collections or new, born-digital content. We need to
close the gap that’s grown between collection development and preservation.
Collaboration to Address
the Preservation Challenge
Q: How do you see these new challenges changing the
methods of setting priorities for preservation, with regard
to cross-department collaboration? Are we beginning to see
more collaboration or convergence between libraries and
archives in addressing preservation challenges?
Deborah Jakubs: If we view preservation and the preservation mandate as of a
Evolving Preservation Roles and Responsibilities of Research Libraries
C O N T I N U E D
OCTOBER 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC