the long-term availability of the digital copy. And although the availability
of a digital surrogate may relieve some pressure on the use of the original,
it does not set aside the continuing responsibility for the conservation of
originals of rare and special materials… I believe the library community
needs to develop a more systematic and standards-based national strategy
for last copies print repositories. The Cloud Library project among NYU,
HathiTrust, and ReCAP with the support of OCLC/RLG and CLIR will
begin to test some of these models.
Lars Meyer: Digitization, or digital conversion, can be an effective
reformatting strategy. Digital surrogates and the metadata that describe and
provide context for those surrogates requires an institution to have in place
polices and infrastructure to manage these as digital assets. Ideally, concern
for digital assets, irrespective of whether they are created or acquired by the
library, should be incorporated into collection development policies that
might pose questions unique to this class of information resource. For
example, we might ask: Why do we create or acquire these materials?
What does it cost to manage them? Who is responsible for managing
them? What kind of access do we provide to these resources?
In terms of whether to keep the original items or not requires
preservation staff and collection development staff to discuss not only the
possibilities and limitations of digitization and digital surrogates but also
expectations, options, and costs for managing digital assets. Most libraries
have been determining the costs and benefits of keeping print copies with
regard to their own user (however defined) requirements and expectations.
Community-level strategies are certainly needed and there is evidence that
work has begun; see for example the work being done by OCLC
(http://www.oclc.org/programs/ourwork/collectivecoll/default.htm).
Deborah Jakubs: One should be reminded of the broader scope of our
responsibility and the importance of the continued availability of the original,
for uses to which the digital version cannot be put. I also emphasize that
digitization often results in more (not less) interest in seeing/examining the
original.
RLI 266
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Evolving Preservation Roles and Responsibilities of Research Libraries
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C O N T I N U E D
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OCTOBER 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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