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Report Examines Issues of Preserving Collections Created by Mass Digitization

subject: CLIR
Preserving Collections
Mass Digitization
Oya Rieger

CLIR Press Releases

For Immediate Release: February 15, 2008

Kathlin Smith

Report Examines Issues of Preserving Collections Created by Mass Digitization

Washington, D.C.—The digitization of millions of books under programs such as Google Book Search and Microsoft Live Search Books is greatly expanding our ability to search and find information. While much attention has focused on the unprecedented access these projects afford, less has focused on the future of the digital content created through such initiatives. Who will ensure that it is fit for use and accessible over time, and what steps should be taken now to improve the usability of these resources into the future?

A new report by Oya Y. Rieger, Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization: A White Paper, examines large-scale digitization initiatives (LSDIs) to identify issues that will influence the availability and usability, over time, of the digital books these projects create. Ms. Rieger is interim assistant university librarian for digital library and information technologies at the Cornell University Library.

The paper describes four large-scale projects—Google Book Search, Microsoft Live Search Books, Open Content Alliance, and the Million Book Project—and their digitization strategies. It then discusses a range of issues affecting the stewardship of the digital collections they create: selection, quality in content creation, technical infrastructure, and organizational infrastructure. The paper also attempts to foresee the likely impacts of large-scale digitization on book collections. The author offers a series of recommendations for how participating libraries and digitizing partners can secure, or improve, a long-term return on the LSDI investment.

The study and publication were funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization: A White Paper is available electronically at Print copies will soon be available for ordering through CLIR’s Web site, for $20 per copy plus shipping and handling.

The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the management of information for research, teaching, and learning. CLIR works to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, as a public good.

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