Number 23
September/October 2001

Contents

Building a Library Service Network
by Daniel Greenstein and Jerry George

Course Management Software: The Case for Integrating Libraries
by David Cohen

Special Collections: A Need for New Strategies
by Abby Smith

CLIR Partners with LC on National Program for Digital Preservation
by Deanna B. Marcum

On Becoming Stewards of the Present: Report from Cuba
by Anne R. Kenney


Building a Library Service Network

by Daniel Greenstein and Jerry George

LIBRARIES TYPICALLY THINK of themselves as individual entities, housed in buildings, that provide books, periodicals, and special collections to a patron community within a university or some other organization, or within a state, county, or town. The digital collections that libraries are creating often seem to be add-on services that are valuable, but not integral, to the library’s patrons.

A different perspective is emerging, however, out of developments in digital technology. Through the Internet, library catalogs and finding aids, as well as digital collections, are now serving patrons throughout the nation. In fact, a world library now exists, not in a building or computer center but in the aggregate of digitized information that any Internet-connected computer can bring into a user’s personal space. Each library is becoming less a walled entity serving a defined community than a co-contributor to a service network for the world.

Participating in this network requires no surrender of the traditional library’s autonomy. No central grand planner is imposing it; no sinister technologist locks it in. New services are being built by, not apart from, traditional libraries as they recognize the service gains—and the financial savings—that new technologies make possible.

These possibilities are not limited to access improvements. New approaches to collections management, preservation, and storage also are emerging. In fact, the growth of electronic network services is encouraging librarians to think differently about how they manage traditional materials, including print holdings. Digital libraries are not separate institutions paralleling traditional libraries; instead, they are collections that apply new technologies to the historical role of libraries as stewards of our cultural heritage.

The emerging network is an infrastructure for extending and managing the cultural resources of repositories that are physically apart. This infrastructure is so full of possibilities that new elements are sure to emerge as the network develops. Some elements already are in view, however, within the network’s three basic requirements: repositories, services, and tools.

Requirement One: Repositories

The network begins with repositories. This, however, does not mean simply linking Library A with Libraries B and C. To realize cost savings from the application of digital technologies, libraries must distribute among themselves, rather than duplicate, responsibilities for ensuring ongoing access to certain kinds of material. As digital copies of particular books become universally accessible, for example, why should every library continue to sink money into preserving and storing all printed copies?

Libraries can realize cost savings without obliterating originals by establishing designated print repositories. A few research libraries with strong collections in a particular field might agree to provide perpetual care for that field’s original but little-used books after they have been made digitally accessible. This would relieve other libraries of the expense of preserving duplicates. (On such possibilities, see the draft report of the Task Force on the Artifact in Library Collections at https://www.clir.org/activities/details/artifact-docs.html.)

Requirement Two: Services

On the foundation of repositories, the emerging network will build a variety of shared services that many libraries require but cannot easily supply on their own. Some shared services support the work of libraries directly and are already in place. For example, libraries have long benefited from the online bibliographic services provided by the Research Libraries Group (RLG) and OCLC. Interlibrary loan is another familiar service.

A new shared library service is already in sight: an electronic registry of digitized collections. In such a registry, libraries would describe specific books, periodicals, and special collections they are digitizing; the location of these digitized materials; and the specifications followed in digitization. Other libraries then could consult the registry. If the material they sought had already been digitized, they could use it and invest their resources in material not yet digitized, thereby expanding the digital library available to all. The Digital Library Federation (DLF) recently developed functional specifications for building a digital registry, and, if the specifications are approved, will seek a developer. (See http://www.diglib.org/collections/reg/reg.htm.)

Other services of potential use to libraries may supply print on demand, copyright clearance, name resolution for digital objects, and authentication of authorized users. Some shared services may help library patrons, as well as libraries, by providing specialized searching across repositories. The need for this kind of service comes from the limitations of commercial Internet search engines and the uneven quality of the results they provide. The DLF is working toward the development of Internet gateways through which users will be able to access holdings from multiple libraries as if they were a single collection. These gateway services would respond to inquiries about a particular subject, such as Americana; identify resources in a particular format, such as visual documents; or enable a user to search across available metadata, regardless of the subject, format, or location of the resources that the metadata describe.

Requirement Three: Tools

To create a network of repository services we need three kinds of tools. First, we need tools to ensure that information about repository holdings (catalog data) can be freely exchanged and interpreted. When the holdings are themselves digital (for example, electronic texts and digital images) and intended for network delivery, we need tools to ensure that they can be freely exchanged and interpreted; that is, the recipient’s computer (with its software) must be able to interpret the catalog record, digital image, and other machine-readable information provided by the computer at a participating repository. This kind of exchange will require a common or agreed-upon means of representing information (data) as well as information about information (metadata).

The DLF’s work in this area has included helping develop mechanisms for describing technical, structural, and administrative characteristics of digital objects. Initial recommendations about such metadata have been refined and extended into a Metadata Encoding and Transmission Scheme (METS). Work on METS is documented on a Web site maintained by the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/mets/).

Tools needed for common use in representing information digitally also include benchmarks for quality control and uniform interaction. The DLF has developed a benchmark set of minimum specifications needed to ensure adequate digital reproductions of printed books and serial publications. If accepted by libraries, this benchmark will increase user confidence in the fidelity of digital reproductions. It will give libraries confidence that digital copies they make in conformance with the benchmark will not require expensive redigitization. Reproductions meeting the minimum specifications would remain viable even as reproduction techniques improved. (For details, see http://www.diglib.org/standards/draftbmark.htm.)

The second type of tool needed to create a network of repository services is common or agreed-upon protocols that enable repositories, services, and end users to use computer automation to communicate with each other. For example, to create services providing wide and deep access to resources for topical and other research specialties, the DLF worked with the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) to devise a technical framework for searching across collections (metadata harvesting). An OAI protocol is being evaluated. (See http://www.diglib.org/architectures.htm.)

Finally, if information is to flow freely among widespread repositories using common protocols, we need agreement about what core or minimum functions a repository or service must be able to perform. One of those functions will be maintaining accessible repositories of preserved digital material. In a program developed by the DLF and financed by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seven major research libraries are working with publishers to identify and test ways to preserve electronic journals for long-term access.

The DLF and others are working on some of the elements needed to develop the network of library services now technologically feasible. But many gaps and questions remain. For example, we need to know how to organize and support the services. Can libraries develop enough demand for network services to stimulate investments in their creation? How large must such services be to save libraries more money than the services cost? And can we change a curatorial culture that associates physical possession of collections, however duplicative and expensive to maintain, with institutional status and identity?

Libraries already are pioneering with imagination and skill in the use of today’s technologies to cut costs, improve existing services, and develop new ones. Even greater possibilities lie ahead for libraries willing to explore new developments as potentially enhancing elements in a growing service network for the world.


CLIR Publishes 100th. Report

CLIR is pleased to announce the publication of its 100th. report, Building and Sustaining Digital Collections: Models for Libraries and Museums. See www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub100abst.html.


Course Management Software: The Case for Integrating Libraries

by David Cohen, Chairman, Academic Library Advisory Committee and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, College of Charleston

OPEN ANY ISSUE of The Chronicle of Higher Education and you cannot miss the full-page ads from course management software providers—WebCT, Blackboard.com, and eCollege. No longer targeting just continuing education or distance education programs, these companies are aggressively marketing their software to faculty and administrators at traditional institutions of higher learning. Technology, especially Web-assisted instruction, they maintain, should be an integral component in any classroom. Moreover, course management software has become a key asset in the campus-wide, or “enterprise,” solutions proposed by the giants of higher education’s administrative software business, PeopleSoft and SCT. At the same time, the course management software companies have developed strategic relationships with portal companies such as Campus Pipeline and with content providers such as Questia.

What is course management software, and why do some believe it likely to be the “killer” application in the educational market? Course management software usually has capabilities in three areas: (1) design interface and content assembly; (2) the facilitation of communication and collaboration; and (3) course management support. Course management software packages may become every bit as important to teachers as are chalk and textbooks. Why? Because they make classroom communication and administration more efficient while they improve learning.

It is important to bear in mind that these packages are part of campus-wide solutions. Since computing technology revolutionized “back-office” administrative functions in the late 1960s, payroll, student records, registration, library circulation, and library catalogs became automated functions, one by one. Vendors then began developing integrated administrative packages that brought together many of these functions. Now, students can register for classes, pay bills, get loan vouchers, and obtain their grades from a single Web-based system.

Over the last two years, these systems have become easier to use and more personal as the administrative software companies have provided portal software. With a single log-on, portals facilitate the use of administrative information by allowing self-service transactions. In addition, portals have the capability to aggregate content from many outside sources and even link to commercial activities. Portals also support traditional in-class instruction. Students can click on their courses, see what textbooks to buy, find assignments, view messages from instructors, or enter threaded discussions about course work.

It is in this environment that the Blackboard.coms and the WebCTs flourish. They provide software for higher education’s last frontier—the classroom or learning experience. The teaching and learning environment certainly presents a great challenge for information technologists. The model of Web-assisted instruction is increasingly sustainable, however, and there is mounting evidence that it can enhance learning. For example, professors who opt for testing their students outside of class over the Web or who hold review sessions for a final exam in a chat room can make a convincing case that they are saving class time for other, more valuable, activities. In the 2000 Campus Computing Report, almost three-fifths of the survey respondents indicated that their campuses had established a single course management product as a campus standard. For students, faculty, and administrators, the reality is fast becoming a seamless, personalized, campus-wide computing experience driven not only by administrative or support activities but also by activities in the classroom.

Where are the Libraries?

But something is missing. Librarians—with their educational computing applications, local library automation systems, and aggregated databases, electronic journals, and books—have not been players in the developments just outlined. This is the view of members of CLIR’s Academic Library Advisory Committee. Course management companies, many librarians believe, ignore or circumvent the role that librarians have in matching the local institution’s teaching and research needs with its collections. The companies have organized supplemental material or resources, usually arranged by discipline, for students and faculty. They have set up alternatives to help students and faculty with research. Blackboard, for example, has a resource center with “high-quality educational content and information.” Generally, these resource pages point to free electronic journal collections and other Web sites. They may have links to sites such as XanEdu, which provide content for a fee.

The quality of the information available through these sites may be questionable. For example, a recent search on one of the course management software site’s resources page for the discipline of architecture turned up nothing under “Frank Gehry”! Who organized these course packs? Who selected these e-journals or Web sites? Certainly not the local reference or collection development librarian, and not the faculty member who teaches the course. Much is lost in this approach. Librarians have invested heavily in their electronic collections and have invested much, much more in their print collections. Course management software that points to free journals and Web sites ignores more useful information. Course management software that does not facilitate access to local collections or, even worse, points students in opposite directions, could lead to the demise of local collections. Local librarians know their student and faculty users. Years of experience often go into their recommendations. Today, this expertise is being lost.

Where does the academic library fit into the emerging enterprise framework for higher education? What are the implications for academic libraries? To answer these questions, the Academic Library Advisory Committee commissioned a report from Outsell, Inc., a California-based market research company. As a first step, Outsell has explored the strategic alliances that the higher education software companies are forming with other technology and content players. This initial exploration confirmed committee members’ impressions; namely, these alliances largely leave the libraries and their software vendors out. According to Outsell’s Leigh Watson Healy, “Although libraries have been leaders in adopting advanced information access technologies, it appears that [producers of] CMS are taking a path that does not include planning for interfaces with the library.” Healy added that “there appears to be little development around linking with and leveraging library resources and systems” (Report to CLIR President Deanna Marcum, May 29, 2001).

Whether the fact that libraries are not included in these strategic alliances is the result of oversight or a conscious decision, the implications of this phenomenon could be disastrous for academic libraries. They may find their role as bibliographers, selectors, and collection builders diminished. Collections will less likely be reflections of local needs. Perhaps even more important, academic librarians may be losing new opportunities to contribute to improving student learning and faculty research on their campuses.

How might librarians integrate course management software more effectively with library software and databases? What roles could libraries and librarians play to facilitate the use of course management software? What follows are some general areas where this enhancement could take place.

Course management software should facilitate access to the rich array of full-text and other library materials and ease their inclusion as “content” in Web-assisted courses. In other words, instead of bypassing the local content collections that librarians have developed, this software should intensify its use. This could be accomplished by having icons for searching online catalogs and other library databases that faculty members could add to the Web pages they create. The pages that course management software programs use to link to resources should, first and foremost, highlight the local library’s print and electronic resources. The course management software should then be embedded with links that allow access to these resources. Imagine a threaded discussion in the field of education where, at a critical juncture, a student could search the database of ERIC reports for additional insight. Imagine an application that helps a historian identify relevant databases of electronic journals in the local library and incorporate them into an exercise that requires his or her students to build a critical bibliography—the first step in writing a research paper. In this example, the student would be guided toward an authoritative resource such as JSTOR, rather than to a list of free Web sites and electronic journals. This example requires software that searches the library catalog and its full-text databases and then creates bibliographies.

This is just the beginning. Imagine, in the near future, links between content and course management software that use artificial intelligence and data-mining applications. Profiles based on specific courses, or even specific assignments or lectures, could easily become the basis for “bots” that search the Web or the subset of library databases of full text.

Course management software should be integrated with virtual reference desk software. The chat room function could be used to link a librarian with a specific exercise in the course. There is sophisticated software, now used by operators of computer help desks to perform diagnostics, that librarians could use to “co-browse” catalogs and databases. Imagine a student doing a search, failing to find what he or she wants, and contacting a librarian online. That librarian could take over the search on the student’s PC and locate appropriate databases, subject headings, or whatever the student needed to successfully complete the search.

Course management software should integrate with electronic reserves software. Scanning, check-in and check-out, and copyright management functions are part of most electronic reserves systems and therefore should be integrated into course management software. Similarly, course management software should provide links with interlibrary loan and other document-delivery software. As appropriate, this software should permit unmediated borrowing for faculty and students.

Course management software should facilitate the use of metadata. Librarians have always had responsibility for organizing information, and the developments with projects like OCLC’s Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) should eventually have a great impact on course management software. A faculty member could use the CORC feature that allows for the creation of a pathfinder of Web pages from the CORC database.

Librarians will need to provide training to students and faculty who use course management software. Learning to use this software requires time and appropriate guidance. Some schools have begun offering special presentations or workshops to acquaint students with basics (the equivalent of bibliographic instruction sessions). This activity will expand over time.

Course management software providers are closely tied to other providers of higher education software. The use of course management software is growing, and it has the potential to reach enormous audiences. The intent of the product developers to do so can be seen in the partnerships that they have formed. The need to integrate libraries and their vast content resources into these partnerships is largely being overlooked. Academic libraries need to take steps not only to ensure their presence in course management software platforms but also to influence emerging standards. Academic libraries should determine the ways in which these products may be used to direct students to their own physical collections, electronic resources, and skilled professionals.


Special Collections: A Need for New Strategies

by Abby Smith

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, INCLUDING rare books, manuscripts, and a variety of audio and visual formats, are essential to the research agendas of humanities scholars, social scientists, and, increasingly, physical scientists as well. Mostly primary source materials, these collections provide direct, even tangible, access to the past. Precisely because they are unmediated, however, they require different analytical skills on the part of researchers than do general collections. They present daunting collection management and access challenges to libraries. What makes these sources most valuable—uniqueness, or comprehensiveness, or the multiple perspectives offered by a mix of format and genre—is easily lost or compromised if they are poorly processed and cataloged, broken into parts by format and housed separately, or described in idiosyncratic ways.

The costs of organizing, preserving, and describing special collections are perceived to be high in return for the value given to researchers. Smaller or less financially robust institutions, including those without preservation departments or special endowments to support their collections, are seldom in a position to manage their primary source holdings in the ways they wish to. These chronic problems, widely supported by anecdotal evidence, have now been documented and analyzed by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in a new publication, Special Collections in ARL Libraries: Results of the 1998 Survey Sponsored by the ARL Research Collections Committee, by Judy Panitch. Panitch found that a high percentage of visual and sound resources (35 to 46 percent) remain unprocessed. Of the 99 libraries that responded to the survey, 87 percent reported inadequate space for expected growth. Many expressed the need for improved preservation management, as well as for more conservation work, even as they reported that their treatment programs had become stronger. While these problems are shared by all libraries with primary source collections, this report documents the substantial difference between the 18 percent of research libraries with very large collections, usually supported by endowments and cared for by in-house preservation experts, and the large majority of ARL libraries, which may share the larger libraries’ problems but not the resources to address them. Among those academic libraries with special collections that are not in a research institution, the problems are no doubt quite similar.

These facts would argue for libraries to pool resources to solve problems that they cannot solve individually. Libraries could start by creating common storage facilities with optimal climate control for little-used collections. Some libraries have already done this with general collections. One such model is described in a report recently published by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and entitled A Collaborative Approach to Collection Storage: The Five-College Library Depository. In-house preservation and scanning facilities in these secondary storage units would serve specific preservation and access needs. Although these services might seem unaffordable for a single library, they could be possible if the costs were shared. Many libraries that are digitizing their special collections are wondering how to make digitization sustainable over time. Again, a service bureau that would provide scanning of materials and archiving of the files would solve the problems of the numerous libraries that want to maintain a vital but small-scale digitization program.

Librarians and archivists are well aware of the heightened status of original artifacts, both on campuses and in the public mind. While there is an increasing preference for delivery of information to the desktop (more convenient than a trip to the stacks), special collections are gaining increased attention from researchers, in part because of their growing presence on the Web and in part because teaching and research trends are finding new uses for primary sources. While libraries, historical societies, and archives anticipate more researchers in their reading rooms and online, the responsibility for meeting the demand for better access should not be borne solely by the stewards of the collections. Scholars must lay claim to the importance of special collections and voice their support for increased physical and intellectual access. It is often the scholars of previous generations who have created today’s collections, and as more special collections are created by researchers in audio, visual, and digital formats, libraries and archives should encourage today’s scholars to think ahead about the ultimate disposition of these materials and instruct them on their proper stewardship.

Forward-thinking learned societies are paying increased attention to the well being of the primary source base on which their disciplines depend, and libraries should partner with them when appropriate. Some foundations—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the prime example—are increasing support of research in original sources. This affords libraries another opportunity to help young professionals understand the value of these collections and their own roles in ensuring their long-term access. CLIR is initiating a Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources that will introduce the fellows to working with primary sources and, at the end of the fellowships, give them an opportunity to assess the barriers to access they encountered and what might be done to mitigate them.

Scholars in all fields report that their most intellectually and emotionally gratifying professional hours have been spent immersed in original sources. Given that there are inadequate sources to meet the challenges of special collections, we must forge creative partnerships with scholars and harness that passion for the shared task of making these materials more accessible.


Save the Date

CLIR’s third annual sponsors’ symposium will be held April 26, 2002.


CLIR Partners with LC on National Program for Digital Preservation

by Deanna B. Marcum

THE COUNCIL ON Library and Information Resources (CLIR) will soon begin work on a project led by the Library of Congress (LC) to develop and implement a national program for the preservation of digital materials. The initiative is supported by a $100-million congressional appropriation, made to the LC late last year, that called for the Library to create partnerships with other federal agencies and private organizations, including CLIR.

CLIR’s role in the project will be twofold: to help convene meetings of stakeholders and to work with a small group of experts to develop a conceptual framework for digital preservation.

LC has convened a National Digital Strategy Advisory Board (NDSAB) to guide the project. CLIR President Deanna Marcum is serving as an ex-officio consultant to the group and is working with LC to schedule six meetings of stakeholders by mid-fall. Each of these meetings will focus on a different format, including e-journals, e-books, large Web sites, digital television, digital music, and digital film and video disks. At these meetings, creators, distributors, and users of the particular format will share their views about the long-term preservation challenges for their materials. A team of professionals with cross-cutting expertise has been assembled to help frame the issues for the stakeholders’ meetings and to advise on their format and content. CLIR will produce reports on these meetings for the NDSAB.

Responsibility for developing a conceptual framework for digital preservation has been assigned to a small group of experts within the Digital Library Federation (DLF). This group will advance the technical, legal, organizational, and business issues that surround the development of sustainable digital archives and supply a national digital preservation framework that may help stimulate and give coherence to distributed digital preservation activities. Led by DLF Director Daniel Greenstein, the group will conduct environmental scans, including the following:

  • a survey of national preservation initiatives
  • a survey and synthesis of digital repository architectures
  • surveys of preservation practices in specific business (e.g., insurance, pharmaceutical, entertainment) and scientific (e.g., space, medicine, social science) communities
  • a survey of issues and opportunities in the preservation of electronic government publications

The group will also commission white papers on topics that will inform the national plan for preserving digital information. Topics for these papers may be identified by the NDSAB or may emerge from the stakeholders’ meetings. DLF’s group of experts will identify the appropriate individuals to write the papers and will integrate the results of their research into the conceptual framework.


On Becoming Stewards of the Present: Report from Cuba

by Anne R. Kenney

CUBA TODAY FACES a paradox: its documentation from the nineteenth century is more complete than is that from the twentieth century. Why is this so? As with other developing countries around the world—Vietnam and Cambodia, for example—war, political turmoil, revolution, and neglect have taken their toll on historical documentation. But this provides only part of the answer to Cuba’s problem.

Of equal—perhaps greater—importance is that the stewardship of recent historical resources has not been given high priority. In Cuba, as in other countries of the developing world, there may be insufficient appreciation for the fact that history is not only the past but also the present. Today’s written, aural, and pictorial evidence has as much historical relevance as does any nineteenth-century material. Nevertheless, while the volume of records produced to run Cuba’s government and economy continues to grow, much of this documentation has not found its way into the country’s national library or archives. Some of this material is in the United States; some remains in government offices or with individuals who have chosen not to place it in an official repository. Much of it, however, has vanished. Materials that have been transferred to the national library or archives are incomplete and suffer from physical threats and inadequate resources. Finally, Cuban librarians and archivists have yet to deal with the daunting task of preserving historically valuable records created only in electronic form.

The problem of insufficient historical documentation is beginning to receive more attention. On June 15–17, 2001, 40 scholars, librarians, archivists, and information technologists met in Havana to consider future priorities for preservation and access in Cuban libraries and archives. The meeting was sponsored by the Working Group on Cuba of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, in cooperation with the Academy of Sciences of Cuba. The National Library of Cuba and the National Archives of Cuba served as the local organizers, and many of their staff took part in the conference. Other Cuban participants included writers, academicians, and scholars from the University of Havana and the Museum of the History of Science, as well as archivists from several provincial archives. International participants came from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, and the United States.

During formal presentations, breakout sessions, and tours of the National Library and the National Archives, participants discussed the difficulties associated with preserving materials and enhancing access to them. In addition to describing their need for more modern equipment, training, and physical plant improvements, Cuban participants expressed a great deal of interest in the digitization of materials and in the development of systems that would allow online public access to their holdings.

Cuban librarians and archivists are understandably interested in digitizing the resources that do exist to make them more accessible. But as those who have embraced digitization know, the use of this technology does not eliminate existing preservation concerns—it simply adds new ones. How can Cuban librarians and archivists handle their old preservation challenges while acknowledging the power and responsibility that comes with the new? The following concrete steps could be taken:

  • Cultural stewards must find ways to ensure that historical materials are identified early and are transferred to the appropriate repository when they are no longer actively used. Government officials must be held accountable for creating and maintaining valuable documentation and for its safe transfer to the care of librarians, archivists, and preservation specialists. The National Library and National Archives must agree on a division of responsibility for this effort.
  • While there is a strong commitment to the physical protection of materials, new means must be used in cases where there are inadequate resources to adopt expensive solutions. For instance, in the absence of full heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, collection storage spaces should offer good air flow, window screening, and blinds to minimize the potential for mold growth, airborne pollutants, insect infestation, and light damage. Basic housekeeping procedures must not be forgotten in the rush to digitize.
  • The National Library and National Archives should investigate the establishment of a collaboratively managed cold-storage facility for materials such as photographic negatives and master microfilms. Other joint initiatives would enable the two organizations to share the costs of equipment, staff, supplies, and space.
  • Written policies should be developed for all aspects of the traditional preservation program. They should include procedures to protect material selected for digitization from damage resulting from improper handling or exposure to unnecessary light and heat during the scanning process.
  • Procedures for maintaining the resulting digital files must be developed. Because preservation techniques used in the physical realm do not fully apply in the digital realm, new methods must be developed and new costs will thereby be incurred. These costs should be built in from the beginning of any digitization project.
  • The library and archives must begin to prepare for handling historically valuable electronic records produced by the government and other entities. Education and training will be essential, as will be collaborative efforts with those who are creating such records.

A recent CLIR initiative will use digital technology to help support this training. CLIR is developing a series of Web-based tutorials on preservation that are geared to specific areas of the world. The series will include a version designed for use in Latin America and the Caribbean that introduces improved preservation techniques to address the particular needs of countries in that region.

With greater access to information, more can be done with the resources available; however, the preservation challenge must begin by engaging document creators in the process. Preservation for the modern world has as much to do with policy development and buy-in as it does with conservation techniques and technological know-how.


Council on Library and Information Resources
1755 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 939-4750
Fax: (202) 939-4765 · E-mail: info@clir.org
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grew out of the 1997 merger of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources. CLIR identifies the critical issues that affect the welfare and prospects of libraries and archives and the constituencies they serve, convenes individuals and organizations in the best position to engage these issues and respond to them, and encourages institutions to work collaboratively to achieve and manage change.


Gerald George
Special Projects Associate

Daniel Greenstein
Director
Digital Library Federation

Anne R. Kenney
Director of Programs

Deanna B. Marcum
President

Abby Smith
Director of Programs

Kathlin Smith
Editor and Director of Communications