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Subject: MLA statement on significance of original materials

MLA statement on significance of original materials

From: Gary Frost <70703.104>
Date: Tuesday, November 8, 1994
Comment on Peter Graham's review of the MLA statement

The reckless millennium of eye reading, hand manipulation and general
living among originals must be coming to a close. It has happened on the
planet, and it will probably happen in libraries. However, we have
arrived at the reckless era of face-down photocopying.

If the preservation field can swing with the times it will now focus on
the role of paper based collections as sources for access technologies.
We should shift focus from the conservation of objects to a wider
concern for the conservation of content. The text delivery system of
patron operated photocopying has changed the use of the paper
collections as will the next generation of scanner copiers.

The role of the original is simply to persist, as an unmodified source,
just as the fringe element of bibliographers and curators suggest. But
as originals are withdrawn from the open shelves, we must provide
surrogates. This is the point where preservation can help. Physical
condition is not important...anything can be copied using only basic
conservation skills.

The answer is not conservation treatment of the original. For the
end-user copies are better than the originals, or if they are not, the
conservation field using techniques of electronic treatment of the
copies can make them so. It is not a good idea to "restore" an original.
That's an oxymoron, and it results in destruction of content, and it
costs a lot.

Gary Frost

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:36
                Distributed: Thursday, November 10, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-8-36-004
Received on Tuesday, 8 November, 1994

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