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D-Lib Magazine

March/April 2014
Volume 20, Number 3/4



Acquisition and Preservation

Laurence Lannom
Corporation for National Research Initiatives



The current issue of D-Lib Magazine addresses two major digital library challenges and the interaction between them: the increasing diversity of digital information and the acquisition and preservation of that information. Increasingly, a library is not defined by what it contains within its physical walls but by the coherent access to information that it provides to its patrons, regardless of where that information may originate.

We lead with Liew examining the use of social media to build a participatory culture at two New Zealand cultural heritage institutions. This is a significant issue and is well presented in this article. To what extent do these institutions incorporate user-generated content and what are the risks and drawbacks of so doing? The two case studies provide a snapshot of an evolving situation, the endpoint of which cannot yet be known.

This is followed by Rimkus, et al. reporting on the findings of a study of digital preservation file format policies at Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member institutions. The raw results are interesting in and of themselves (there would appear to be 18 file formats trusted by this group) but more interesting, I believe, are the considerations on the need for preservation policies to evolve beyond the relatively simple file format approach, both to accommodate new forms of information as well as the range of properties that are not defined by adherence to specified formats. Our third article, by Lawton and Manning, describes the creation of a successful national health repository in Ireland covering Irish health research and grey literature of all kinds. The project is described in such a way that it could serve as a model for the creation of other subject repositories of a similar size.

Our fourth article, by Nadasky, looks at the acquisition and preservation of art auction house catalogs at the Frick Art Reference Library (FARL). These catalogs represent yet another born-digital train that has not yet completely left the station but is certainly building up steam. To continue as a leading art scholarship institution, FARL must move from collecting print catalogs to harvesting digital catalogs that are now presented as web pages and the article describes the difficulties presented by that transition and the steps being taken to overcome them.

Finally we have an opinion piece and two conference reports. The opinion piece looks at the potential library applications of the peer-to-peer (P2P) BitTorrent protocol. Authors Markman and Zavras disassociate the file-sharing technology per se from its use in the practice of illegal file-sharing and present some intriguing and potentially game-changing possibilities for its use in libraries. The first conference report, by Becker and Cardoso, covers the first Capability Assessment and Improvement Workshop (CAIW) in Lisbon, on September 5, 2013, which was part of the 10th International Conference on Digital Preservation (iPres 2013). The second report, by Landon, covers the 2nd International Workshop on Historical Document Imaging and Processing (HIP'13).

The efficiency of networks and the accompanying relative ease of publishing and sharing information is having a significant effect on many aspects of society, in economics, culture, and science. Libraries are far from alone in finding both great opportunities and great challenges in these changes. The only certainty is that change is inevitable and the efforts reported in D-Lib and other chronicles are likely just the start of the needed response.


About the Editor

Photo of Laurence Lannom Laurence Lannom is Director of Information Services and Vice President at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), where he works with organizations in both the public and private sectors to develop experimental and pilot applications of advanced networking and information management technologies.
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