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Foreword–Digital Collections Inventory

Digital Collections Inventory Report

By Patricia A. McClung
February 1996


This report, the first to be commissioned jointly by the Commission on
Preservation and Access and Council on Library Resources, informs and supports
our digital library programs. Digital technology is central to both agendas,
and the new affiliation between the Commission and Council enables such
collaboration to investigate areas of common interest.

Each time librarians, or scholars, or technology experts meet–separately
or together to discuss digital projects, someone invariably raises the
question, “Are there any sorts of inventories of scanning projects?” There
are,it seems, several incomplete lists or promises to start such lists,
but no one could point to one authoritative source.

We concluded that a snapshot of scanning projects at a particular point
in time might serve as a beginning for a more comprehensive, authoritative
inventory to be maintained indefinitely into the future. To that end, we
engaged a reliable and careful researcher to do as much as possible to
collect information within a short time-frame and to provide a brief analysis
of some of the questions and needs related to the development of an inventory
tool. In discussions sparked by this report, we hope to determine ways
to build on this snapshot to create an inventory that librarians, archivists,
and scholars will turn to with confidence when seeking information about
digital collections.

This report is shared as a way of stimulating discussion and soliciting
further input on the potential usefulness, scope, and desired features
of an online digital collections inventory. The Commission and Council
welcome commends (in either paper or digital form) to Communication Program
Officer Maxine Sitts,, fax (202) 939-3499.

Deanna B. Marcum, President

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