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The State of Digital Preservation: An International Perspective

report cover

July 2002

Copyright 2002 by the Council on Library and Information Resources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transcribed in any form without permission of the publisher. Requests for reproduction should be submitted to the Director of Communications at the Council on Library and Information Resources.


Documentation Abstracts, Inc. Institutes for Information Science

About the Authors

Introduction: The Changing Preservation Landscape, Deanna Marcum

Overview of Technological Approaches to Digital Preservation and Challenges in Coming Years, Kenneth Thibodeau

Work Being Done to Understand Digital Preservation: Project Reports

The Digital Preservation Research Agenda, Margaret Hedstrom
Understanding Digital Preservation: A Report from OCLC, Meg Bellinger
Update on the National Digital Infrastructure Initiative, Laura Campbell

International Initiatives

Experience of the National Library of the Netherlands, Titia van der Werf
Digital Preservation: A Many-Layered Thing: Experience at the National Library of Australia, Colin Webb

Good Archives Make Good Scholars: Reflections on Recent Steps Toward the Archiving of Digital Information, Donald Waters

CLIR regrets that this volume of proceedings omits the presentation entitled “How Warner Brothers is Approaching the Preservation of its Digital Content,” which Warner Brothers did not approve for publication.

Documentation Abstracts, Inc. Institutes for Information Science

“The State of Digital Preservation: An International Perspective” is the first in a series of international symposiums that are supported by a grant from Documentation Abstracts, Inc. (DAI). The institutes, presented by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) will address key issues in information science relating to digital libraries, economics of information, or resources for scholarship.

Documentation Abstracts, Inc. was established in 1966 as a nonprofit organization comprising representatives from eight societies in the field of library and information science: American Chemical Society­Division of Chemical Information, American Library Association, American Society of Indexers, American Society for Information Science and Technology, Association of Information and Dissemination Centers, Association for Library and Information Science Education, Medical Library Association, and Special Libraries Association.

DAI was established to organize, evaluate, and disseminate information and knowledge concerning the various aspects of information science. It did this through publishing Information Science Abstracts (ISA), a bimonthly abstracting and indexing publication covering the literature of information science worldwide. In June 1998, this periodical was acquired by Information Today, Inc., which continues its publication to date.

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.

CLIR’s agenda is framed by a single question: What is a library in the digital age? Rapid changes in technology, evolving intellectual property legislation, new modes of scholarly communication, and new economic models for information provision have all contributed to a new information environment for libraries. In partnership with other organizations, CLIR helps create services that expand the concept of “library” and supports the providers and preservers of information.

About the Authors

Meg Bellinger joined Preservation Resources, then an OCLC subsidiary, as president in 1993. She was promoted to vice president of OCLC Digital and Preservation Resources in 2001. Ms. Bellinger came to OCLC from Research Publications International in Woodbridge, Connecticut, where she held management positions in the company’s product development and editorial departments before being promoted to vice president of editorial development and preservation in 1991. She is a member of the board of the UK Digital Preservation Coalition and of the Digital Library Federation Steering Committee.

Laura Campbell is associate librarian for strategic initiatives at the Library of Congress (LC). She is responsible for strategic planning for LC, a task that currently includes the development of a national strategy, in cooperation with other institutions, for the collection, access, and preservation of digital materials. Ms. Campbell also oversees LC’s Information Technology Services directorate. Before joining LC in 1992, she worked several years in the private sector, serving as vice president at QueTel Corp., and as manager and principal for Arthur Young & Co. (currently Ernst & Young).

Margaret Hedstrom is associate professor at the School of Information, University of Michigan, where she teaches in the areas of archives, electronic records management, and digital preservation. Her chief research interests at present are record keeping in collaborative work environments and methods for long-term preservation of complex digital objects. She is project director for the CAMiLEON Project, an international research project to investigate the feasibility of emulation as a digital preservation strategy. She was a member of the National Research Council study committee that prepared LC21, a report on the digital future of the Library of Congress. She is a member of its National Digital Strategy Advisory Board.

Deanna Marcum is president of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), formed in 1997 by the merger of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources. From 1995 to 1997, she served as president of both organizations simultaneously. Her career has included tenure as director of public service and collection management at the Library of Congress and dean of the School of Library and Information Service at The Catholic University of America. From 1980 to 1989, she was first a program officer and then vice president of the Council on Library Resources.

Kenneth Thibodeau is director of the Electronic Records Archives Program at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). He has more than 25 years’ experience in archives and records management and is an internationally recognized expert in electronic records. He organized and directed the Center for Electronic Records at the NARA from 1988 to 1998. In 1996, he was detailed from NARA to serve as the director of the Department of Defense Records Management Task Force, a group established to implement business processing reengineering of records management.

Donald Waters is the program officer for scholarly communications at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Before joining the Foundation, he served as the first director of the Digital Library Federation, as associate university librarian at Yale University, and in a variety of other positions at the Computer Center, the School of Management, and the University Library at Yale. In 1995-1996, he cochaired the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information, and was the editor and a principal author of the Task Force Report. He is the author of numerous articles and presentations on libraries, digital libraries, digital preservation, and scholarly communications.

Titia van der Werf was project manager at the Library Research and Development Department of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands, from 1993 to 2002. She initiated new Internet-based library products and services that have grown into full operational services, such as the library Web site, the Dutch academic subject gateway DutchESS, and the Web-guide NL-menu. Since 1996, she was involved primarily in digital archiving and long-term preservation. She coordinated the NEDLIB project and contributed to the implementation of the library’s deposit system with IBM Netherlands. In July 2002, she left the National Library of the Netherlands to become head of the library at the African Studies Centre in Leiden.

Colin Webb is director of preservation services at the National Library of Australia, where he has worked since 1993. After professional training as a bookbinder and as a book, paper, and photographic conservator, he worked for the National Archives of Australia as a preservation manager for more than a decade before moving to the National Library to set up a program in information preservation. He created the firstand still the onlyspecialist positions in digital preservation in Australia, and he has sought to bring a strong preservation perspective to the National Library’s digital initiatives.

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