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Subject: Publication on preservation in digital environment

Publication on preservation in digital environment

From: Maxine K. Sitts <mksitts>
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 1996
A new report from the Commission on Preservation and Access provides
an intellectual rationale for maintaining the centrality of
preservation concepts and ethics in an increasingly digital
environment. Preservation in the Digital World, by Paul Conway,
suggests that many of the basic tenets of preservation management
can be applied in a highly technological environment, but that some
long-held principles may no longer apply.  The report considers
where the accumulated knowledge and experience of preservation
management may be most effective, and where it may be more difficult
to affect change.

Today, the abundance of digital information is accompanied by an
assumption that the ability to produce and preserve high-quality
images will improve as the technology matures.  However, those
involved in digital imaging projects have learned that the
technology, in and of itself, provides no simple solutions. Conway
urges that preservation planning, management, and action be carried
out at the highest level, since information in digital form is far
more fragile than the clay and papyrus that have survived through

In making the case for a heightened role for preservation
management, Conway argues that digital imaging technology is more
than another reformatting option.  Imaging, he states, involves
transforming the very concept of format, rather than creating an
accurate picture of a book, photograph, or map on a different
medium.  Thus, a digital world transforms traditional preservation
concepts from protecting the physical integrity of the object to
specifying the creation and maintenance of the object whose
intellectual integrity is its primary characteristic.

During its development, the report has prompted a number of in-depth
discussions among preservation managers and technical specialists.
The Commission trusts that with its dissemination, Preservation in
the Digital World will stimulate even broader involvement as we
explore together how to maintain the safety and accessibility of the
world's historical and cultural heritage as far into the future as

Preservation in the Digital World (24 pages, March 1996) is
available for $15.00 from The Commission on Preservation and Access,
1400 16th Street NW, Suite 740, Washington, DC 20036-2117.
Prepayment is required, with checks made payable to"Commission on
Preservation and Access." Commission sponsors receive publications
at no charge.

Maxine K. Sitts
Communication Program Officer
Commission on Preservation and Access
1400 16th St.NW, Ste. 740
Washington, DC  20036-2217
Fax: 202-939-3499

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:70
                 Distributed: Wednesday, April 10, 1996
                        Message Id: cdl-9-70-006
Received on Wednesday, 10 April, 1996

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