Re-Tooling Academic Libraries for the Digital Age:
Missions, Collections, Staffing

California Academic & Research Libraries
Third Annual Conference


A handout for "Preservation in the Digital Age: Whether To, What To, How To", A Session of the Third Annual Conference of CARL, California Academic and Research Libraries, San Francisco, October 20 - 21, 1995

by Jack Kessler,

What follows is a personal selection of references and readings, recommended to anyone having an interest in preservation. It is designed to broaden rather than to narrow debate. Technology seems to dominate most current preservation discussions, as it dominates so many discussions about so many things now. Long ago, though, Lewis Mumford made the point that the pyramids didn't create the Egyptians but the Egyptians the pyramids: general society, with its history, its politics, its pressures, and its choices to be made, will solve or fail to solve the problems which we face in preservation, whatever the current technics are.

So this is an "annotated 'bibliography'", containing references to more than just books, of interest hopefully to anyone interested in the preservation of library and digitized materials. It lists, incompletely -- these are personal preferences only -- interesting discussions of the history, political context, current technique and looming choices to be made in preservation. I would be grateful to receive observations on these resources and suggestions of others, via email.

"We are confronted by a fundamental choice of civilization... methods of conservation... it will cost a fortune... But who, what authority will decide which books to retain? Plato and Dante have known their periods of disgrace..."

-- Umberto Eco

1.00 Antecedents

Preservation is an old problem. The choices being faced with so many fears today have been faced before. What to save from floods and fires and revolutions -- whether to store books in Paris or en province -- to whom to entrust the task of selection, what to preserve, and how to preserve it.

Reynolds, L. D. (Leighton Durham). Scribes and scholars : a guide to the transmission of Greek and Latin literature (Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1991) 3rd ed.

See also generally LCSH "Transmission of texts" -- 330 entries in RLIN -- all of these deal with many of the most difficult problems now faced by print, digital, and other media, problems which arose long before the "bit" was invented.

2.00 Not Just the Censors

One much - maligned but perhaps over - emphasized threat in the past has been censorship. Even then, this might not have been the real threat it once was deemed: ironically censorship may have been the greatest thing which ever happened to some texts -- think of today's movie - rating system. Today, though, clearly it's physical deterioration and market forces, threats far more powerful than any modern censor:

McKenzie, D. F. (Donald Francis): anyone in need of inspiration on the subject of bibliographic history and the preservation of texts ought to read this man's books and, particularly, attend one of his informative and animated lectures --

McKenzie, D. F.. Bibliography and the sociology of texts (London : British Library, c1986) Series title: The Panizzi lectures ; 1985.

McKenzie, D. F.. The London book trade in the later seventeenth century (Cambridge : D.F. McKenzie, 1977) Series title: Sandars lectures ; 1976.

3.00 What to Preserve -- the problem

Threatened collections -- information stored in different media, all of it deteriorating, disappearing, changing:

Child, Margaret S., Directory of information sources on scientific research related to the preservation of sound recordings, still and moving images, and magnetic tape (Washington, DC : Commission on Preservation and Access, c1993)

Miller, J. Hillis (Joseph Hillis). Preserving the literary heritage : the final report of the Scholarly Advisory Committee on Modern Language and Literature of the Commission on Preservation and Access (Washington, D.C. : Commission non Preservation and Access, [1991])

Preserving knowledge : the case for alkaline paper / Association of Research Libraries ; in collaboration with American Library Association, Commission on Preservation and Access, National Humanities Alliance (Washington, D.C. : Association of Research Libraries, [1990])

Rutimann, Hans. Computerization project of the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain : a report to the Commission on Preservation and Access, 1992 (Washington, D.C. : The Commission on Preservation and Access, 1992)

Rutimann, Hans. The International Project 1992 update : including "microfilming projects abroad" (Washington, D.C. : Commission on Preservation and Access, c1993)

Scholarly resources in art history : issues in preservation : report of the seminar, Spring Hill, Wayzata, Minnesota, September 29-October 1, 1988 (Washington, D.C. : Commission on Preservation and Access, 1989)

The Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources combined forces in 1995. The former's papers are being stored on the CoOL Webpage (please see below). The CPA Web page is at There is also an excellent Webpage offered by the National Archives. .

Preserve/Net Webpage offers 1) Preserve/Net Law Service and 2) Preserve/Net Information Service, the former a work - in - progress but the latter a work - accomplished. P/NIS self - advertises as "the site you've come to rely on for all things preservation", and offers very nice graphics, a "Preservation Education Directory" listing US and Canadian programs, conference announcements, and employment offerings in the field.

Jean - Paul Oddos, in Bulletin des Bibliothques de France (t.36, no.4, 1991), summarizes the problem faced by the Bibliothque Nationale de France as part of their grand project to transfer 10+ million books across Paris to their new building in 1996: 1.6 million volumes "in need of deacidification and reinforcement", 1 million "in need of rebinding", and 1 million (and 260 million journal pages) "in need of immediate reproduction". (As reported in PACS-L on January 16, 1992: telnet , login brsuser , PACS archive, search on ODDOS .)

4.00 How to Preserve

The malleability of media -- technique:

Cloonan, Michele Valerie, Global perspectives on preservation education (New Providence : K.G. Saur, 1994) Series title: IFLA publications 69.

Collection conservation treatment : a resource manual for program development and conservation technician training : including Report on training the trainers, a conference on training in collection... (Berkeley : Conservation Department, The Library, University of California, 1993)

Fox, Lisa L. A core collection in preservation (Chicago : Association for Library Collections & Technical Services ; Atlanta : Southeastern Library Network, 1993) 2nd ed. / by Don K. Thompson and Joan ten Hoor.

Oakley, Robert L. Copyright and preservation : a serious problem in need of a thoughtful solution (Washington, D.C.: Commission on Preservation and Access, 1990)

Kenney, Anne R.. A Testbed for advancing the role of digital technologies for library preservation and access : a final report by Cornell University to the Commission on Preservation and Access, October, 1993 ([Washington : The Commission], c1993)

Kenney, Anne R., and Stephen Chapman. Tutorial: digital - resolution requirements for replacing text - based materials: methods for benchmarking image quality (Washington DC : Commission on Preservation and Access, 1995) -- a fascinating functional approach to the too - often - academic debate over just how good is good in digital reproduction.

COOL, Conservation Online: Resources for Conservation Professionals -- "CoOL, a project of the Preservation Department of Stanford University Libraries, is a full text database of conservation information... " Walter Henry's remarkable treasury of online information, newsletters, reports, conference proceedings, econference archives, and much else.

5.00 Whether to Preserve -- the decision

Collection development -- the selection decision -- how to anticipate the horse's leaving the barn: Line, Joyce, Archival collections of non-book materials : a preliminary list indicating policies for preservation and access / Joyce Line. London : British Library, 1977.

Harvey, D. R. (Douglas Ross), Preservation in libraries : principles, strategies, and practices for librarians (London ; New York : Bowker-Saur, c1993)

Ogden, Sherelyn. Preservation of library & archival materials : a manual (Andover, Mass. : Northeast Document Conservation Center, 1994) Rev. and expanded.

Hamilton, Marsha J.. Guide to preservation in acquisition processing (Chicago : American Library Association, 1993) Series title: Acquisitions guidelines ; no. 8.

Computer files and the research library / by Margaret Johnson ... [et al.] ; edited by Constance C. Gould. (Mountain View, Calif., U.S.A. : Research Libraries Group, 1990)

Strauch, Katina and Bruce Strauch, eds.. Legal and ethical issues in acquisitions (New York : Haworth Press, c1990)

Penchansky, Mimi B.. Collection development survival tactics in an age of less : an annotated selective bibliography on the theme of the 1991 LACUNY institute ([New York, N.Y.] : The Library Association of the City University of New York, 1991)

Spiller, David.. Book selection : principles and practice / David Spiller ; with an introduction by Brian Baumfield. 5th ed. London : Library Association Pub., 1991 (1992 printing).

Spohrer, James H.. Guide to collection development and management at the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley : General Library, 1986)

The Getty Art History Information Program is doing a great deal, in imaging and in promoting general discussion of digital preservation.

6.00 Who Will / Might Pay

From the San Francisco Chronicle (New York Times service) Oct 11, pB3:
"Gates Buys Bettmann Archive: Huge photo collection chronicles 20th century.

"William Gates, the software billionaire and champion of 21st century technology, has purchased the Bettmann Archive, whose millions of historical photographs are a visual chronicle of the 20th century.

"For the last few years, Gates has been acquiring the electronic rights to thousands of images -- mainly works of art -- through Corbis Corp., a small company in Bellevue, Wash., that he owns. But the purchase of Bettmann from the Kraus Organization in New York, announced yesterday, is by far his biggest step toward building a huge library of digitally stored images that can someday be sampled and sold on computer disks or over computer networks, not only to professionals but to the public as well. "The terms of the Bettmann acquisition were not disclosed, though people involved in the deal said that it was a 'multimillion - dollar transaction'... "

There's also Adobe, and Elsevier, and CBS and Kodansha and even Walt Disney...

7.00 The Digital Promise

This final list -- one of resources in specifically - digital aspects of preservation, in fact the preservation of information itself digital -- is reprinted, with permission, from the leading and latest document on the subject:

Preserving Digital Information, Draft Report Of The Task Force On Archiving Digital Information, John Garrett & Donald Waters co - chairs, Commissioned By The Commission On Preservation And Access And The Research Libraries Group, Version 1.0 August 23, 1995,

The Draft Report presents the best and latest take on the promise -- problems / possibilities -- of digital information's being preserved itself, the thought now occuring to many preservationists being that there is no point in digitizing for preservation if the digital product itself can't be preserved. The excellent list of references contained in the Draft Report is reproduced here in full, with the permission of the Task Force co - chairs:

Ackerman, M. S., and R. T. Fielding 1995 "Collection Maintenance in the Digital Library." URL:

Barlow, John Perry 1994 "The economy of ideas." Wired, March, pp. 84-90, 126-129.

Bearman, David 1989 Archival Methods. Technical Report, vol. 3, no. 1 (Pittsburgh: Archives and Museum Informatics).

Bearman, David, and Margaret Hedstrom 1993 "Reinventing Archives for Electronic Records: Alternative Service Delivery Options." In Margaret Hedstrom, ed. Electronic Records Management Program Strategies, Archives and Museum Informatics Technical Report, No. 18, pp. 82-98.

Conway, Paul 1994 "Digitizing Preservation." Library Journal (February 1, 1994): 42-45; 1995 "Selecting Microfilm for Digital Preservation: A Case Study from Project Open Book." Paper presented at the American Library Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, June 26, 1995.

Creque, Stuart A. 1995 "Why Johnny Can't Read His Data." Wall Street Journal, June 5: p. A14.

Garrett, John R., et. al. 1993 "Toward an Electronic Copyright Management System." Journal of the American Society for Information Science 44(8): 468-473.

Getz, Malcolm 1992 "Information Storage." Unpublished manuscript, Vanderbilt University, February 27.

Graham, Peter S. 1994 Intellectual Preservation: Electronic Preservation of the Third Kind. Washington, D.C.: Commission on Preservation and Access; 1995 "Requirements for the Digital Research Library." College and Research Libraries, July, 56(4): 331-339.

Hedstrom, Margaret 1991 "Understanding Electronic Incunabula: A Framework for Research on Electronic Records." American Archivist 54 (3): 334-354.

Lesk, Michael 1990 Image Formats for Preservation and Access: A Report of the Technology Assessment Advisory Committee to the Commission on Preservation and Access. Washington, D.C.: Commission on Preservation and Access; 1992 Preservation of New Technology: A Report of the Technology Assessment Advisory Committee to the Commission on Preservation and Access. Washington, D.C.: Commission on Preservation and Access.

Levy, David M. and Catherine C. Marshall 1995 "Going Digital: A Look at Assumptions Underlying Digital Libraries." Communications of the ACM 38(4): 77-83.

Lynch, Clifford 1993 Accessibility and Integrity of Networked Information Collections. Office of Technology Assessment, Congress of the United States, July 5, 1993.; 1994 "The Integrity of Digital Information: Mechanics and Definitional Issues." Journal of the American Society for Information Science 45(10): 737-744.

Moen, Bill 1995 "Metadata for Network Information Discovery and Retrieval." Information Standards Quarterly 7(2): 1-4.

Mohlhenrich, Janice, ed. 1993 Preservation of Electronic Formats: Electronic Formats for Preservation. Fort Atkinson, Wis.: Highsmith.

National Academy of Public Administration 1989 The Effects of Electronic Recordkeeping on the Historical Record of the U.S. Government: A report for the National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Public Administration.

National Institute of Standards and Technology 1995 "Intent to Develop a Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) for a Data Standard for Record Description Records--Request for Comments." Federal Register, 60 (39), February 28, 1995: 10832-10835.

Neavill, Gordon B. 1984 "Electronic Publishing, Libraries, and the Survival of Information." Library Resources & Technical Services, 28 (January): 76-89.

O'Toole, J. M. 1989 "On the Idea of Permanence." American Archivist 52(1): 10-25.

Rothenberg, Jeff 1995 "Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Documents." Scientific American, (January): 42-47.

The University of the State of New York, et al. 1988 A Strategic Plan for Managing and Preserving Electronic Records in New York State Government: Final Report of the Special Media Records Project. Albany: New York State Education Department.

Waters, Donald J. 1994 "Transforming Libraries Through Digital Preservation." In Nancy E. Elkington, ed. Digital Imaging Technology for Preservation: Proceedings from an RLG Symposium held March 17 & 18, 1994. Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group

Wiederhold, Gio 1995 "Digital Libraries, Value and Productivity." Communications of the ACM 38(4): 85- 96

The day has arrived, thanks to the Internet, when everyone's laptop may become a branch of everyone else's local library: text and video clips and sound bytes stored on a San Francisco server can be reached with increasing ease by users in Beijing and Bangladesh. The "data transmission protocols" which enable information bits to flow back and forth online are a common language, a minimal set of rules for communication.

But more rules are needed. Format rules, presentation rules, preservation rules -- tcp / ip, SGML, HTML, Unicode, USMARC, UNIMARC, JPEG, Z39.50 -- rules of lanuguage enabling people to express, to communicate -- one hopes that the process which establishes these rules will be cooperative and consensual. Participation in the standards process would be one of the most effective means of ensuring not only preservation but open access to and use of information for future generations.

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