Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Report on Digital Collections and Weeding Print Journals from Library Collections

ITHAKA S+R, the research arm of the not-for-profit organization ITHAKA that helps the academic community on issues of digital preservation, has issued a new report entitled What to Withdraw? Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization (PDF):

"The large-scale digitization of print journal collections has led to most access needs being met via digital surrogates. Numerous libraries would therefore like to reassign the space occupied by print collections towards higher-value uses. To aid their planning, this report addresses two key questions: which types of print journals can libraries withdraw responsibly today, and how can that set of materials be expanded to allow libraries the maximum possible flexibility?"

"For those journals where print no longer serves an important access role, preservation is the format’s principal remaining role. The study therefore undertakes a system-wide analysis of the purpose of retaining print for preservation purposes, looking at the needs of all libraries and their users collectively. "

"This analysis finds several rationales for retaining some copies of the print version: the need to fix scanning errors; insufficient reliability of the digital provider; inadequate preservation of the digitized versions; the presence of significant quantities of important non-textual material that may be poorly represented in digital form; and campus political considerations. The appropriate disposition of print copies of a given journal should vary depending on the characteristics of the print original and its digitized version in each of these categories. "

"Because many of the rationales for retaining print are likely to decline over the course of time, this report introduces time horizons for print preservation. Librarians have often discussed preservation responsibilities as if it were possible to undertake perpetual commitments, but specified time commitments coupled with regular reassessment of priorities and responsibilities permit better decisionmaking. The model we propose therefore examines the minimum period of time that access will be needed to at least one copy of the print original."

ITHAKA's most well-known digital service is probably the trusted digital journal archive JSTOR.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:35 pm


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