Now and Into the Future
Libraries, at least those of primary interest to the readers of this magazine, provide access to the scholarly record, both now and into the future. The 'into the future' part means that the proper study of libraries must include methods of preservation as well as providing users with ways to discover, obtain, understand, and analyze that record. The articles in the current issue touch on all of these topics, one way or another, and we hope that they will contribute to the conversations and agreements that will be needed for libraries to continue to provide access to the scholarly record going forward.
The first article, by Li and Banach, reports on a national survey they conducted of Association of Research Libraries (ARL) members addressing preservation policies and practices in the context of Institutional Repositories (IR). They find many problems and much progress. Any discussion of this issue going forward will need to reference this survey.
Our second article, by Wolski, Richardson, and Rebollo, describes an Australian initiative to build a virtual research collection at the institutional level and expose the metadata to discovery layers at both the local and national levels. The core of this architecture is a metadata exchange hub, which is described in detail and shows a way forward to more useful and more visible library services.
The third article, by Robert Allen, moves us further down the path from current practices to future possibilities by looking at a new approach to research reports. He proposes the model-oriented research report that would add more structure to the original source material and would open up a great number of interesting possibilities in connecting and presenting the underlying research activities. D-Lib generally prefers to publish articles on existing projects and activities, but happily we can break our own rules when it is useful to do so. While this is a much more theoretical article than we would normally run, the topic and its implications for library work in the future are thought provoking and we believe you will find it of interest.
Finally, we snap back to the present and dive down into details with an article, by Johan van der Knijff, on the use of JPEG 2000 Part 1 (JP2) as an archival format. This is a detailed and practical look at ambiguities in the current standard and the risks that they may pose for long-term preservation of image data. The author provides recommendations and, as importantly, an example of the kind of careful analysis that is needed in the very difficult task of planning for the future.
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