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Re: [ARSCLIST] Tape baking question

On Tue, 10 Oct 2006, Tom Fine wrote:

> Wow, Karl, you're a real ray o' sunshine!

Well, I just try to call it the way I see it and how I read the

> I think that archives, libraries and collections stand a better chance of good
> results out-sourcing  transfer work than metadata and cataloguing. I figure, no
> organization does everything well

I agree completely. From my perspective libraries did an excellent job in
the past. The problem came when the information stream changed from the
linearity of paper to the digital environment. They seem hung up on trying
to adapt their linear methodologies to the digital information stream.

However, I believe that libraries should outsource only the more
problematic transfer work. Again, my perspective comes from the notion that the
reformatting process is integral to the preparation of metadata. Also, one
needs to consider security issues and the libary's need to be able to
monitor the quality of any work which is outsourced.

> You talk very pessimistically about preserving what "needs" to be preserved, and I
agree if one
> casts a very wide net of "needs." I think smarter is to have a more organized system
to decide
> what's "important" or "vital" -- judgement calls, all -- and make that material
> No room for endless debate and delay.

I am not just pessimistic, I am outraged at the situation as I see it. The
lack of concern for preservation is unforgiveable...and I don't accept the
notion that libraries don't have the money. I believe much could be done
to realign priorities.

The idea of some national priorities sounds wonderful, but I would think
that perhaps we might end up being just as well served if informed
curators were calling the shots. Great libraries and archives have been
built by great librarians and great archivists who bring their own
particular bias to the building of a collection.

If one were to attempt some prioritization on a national basis, I would
fear that politics would become a major consideration.

> This is all probably too much to hope for and many things that might be of great
> value to future generations will probably molder away before anyone even knows
> they're gone.

Sad to say, many treasures have already turned to mold, and much more has
been tossed in the trash. While I am most versed in the ways of our own
library, my experience with many others seems to  indicate to me a
dereliction of responsibility to future generations. On the other hand, I
am familiar with libraries that seem to share my concerns, but the vast majority I
have encountered do not.

For me, the simple numbers (like the ARL statistics) indicate that the
battle was lost years ago. Of course we can't save everything, but as you
suggest, and I try to suggest, there appears to be more intelligent ways
to maximize the efficacy of what we do, and how we assign resources.


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