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Re: Permanence of duplicating paper (A major digresssion)

Digitization is becoming more and more accepted for preservation by such
organizations as RLG (Research Libraries Group). For truly archival storage
though Microfilm is still hard to beat with a shelf life under optimal
conditions of hundreds of years. It is also easily reproducible without
having to resort to complex technology and can be read with a magnifying
glass if need be.

Digital, while it offers great promise brings up a whole different set of
issues. CD's will not be acceptable for long term storage because of their
short life span, estimated at about 10+ years. That aside, for the
information to be viable over longer periods of time, you would ahve to
either use straight ASCII text or SGML, both of which are internationally
recognized standards and non-proprietary. If you make a CD-ROM using
Authorware or some other product, you need that product in some form to read
that disk. How many are using ancient word processors they can't export that
data to other machines from and which can't take data from anywhere else
anymore. DAT tapes are another great storage medium being able to hold up to
8GB (gigbytes) in some cases.

Then when the data is in digital form, it will need to be refreshed
regularily and the medium of storage transfered to a newer one. Think of
that as going from 5.25" floppies, to 3.5", to CD-ROM, to ??? This requires
REAL commitment on the part of libraries and depositories to do this, in
perpetutity if need be.

If you really want to know more, some good starting places on the web are
the Commission on Preservation and Access <http://www-cpa.stanford.edu/>,
IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations)
<http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/ifla/II/diglib.htm>, The University of Michigan
Digital Library <http://http2.sils.umich.edu/UMDL/HomePage.html>, Library of
Congresses American Memory Project
<http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ftpfiles.html> among others.


At 11:36 AM 10/30/96 -0500, you wrote:
>>To the best of my knowledge, digitization is not an accepted archival
>>preservation medium.  The only recognized archival medium for preservation is
>>still good old microfilm, archivally processed and stored.  Digitization is
>>however a good access medium and sometimes materials are both digitized and
>>microfilmed at the same time, one for access and one for long term
>>preservation.   Amy Doherty, retired university Archivist.
>Hi Amy:
>        A comment from a lurker on this list.Now that CD ROM disks may be
>made with a small investment (~$1000) at home so to speak,I bet you will
>give up microfilm down the road for a probably longer lasting medium.Both
>text and pictures,lots of them,will fit on 600mb.
>Good luck

>>>                    I love working in the library.                  <<<
>>There is something to be said for working in a place bound in leather.<<

Peter D. Verheyen                                        <wk> 315.443.9937
Conservation Librarian                                   <fax>315.443.9510
Syracuse University Library                 <email>pdverhey@dreamscape.com
Syracuse University                <www>http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey
Syracuse, NY 13244                 <Listowner>Book_Arts-L@listserv.syr.edu

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