9.754 Durability of Texts

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Wed, 24 Apr 1996 11:49:11 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 754.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: "Peter Graham, RUL" <psgraham@gandalf.rutgers.edu> (21)
Subject: Re: 9.746 Medieval Texts thread on durability of "the
printed word"

Kevin Keane of Colorado State is on the right track in worrying about the
migration of information forward in time through technologies. The major
research libraries of the world are jointly addressing this issue, slowly but
surely (see the recent draft report of the joint task force on archiving of
the Research Libraries Group and the Commission on Preservation and Access).

It is also correct to step over the technology of cd-roms and move
immediately to the network. CD-Roms have not guaranteed physical stability
beyond a decade or two, regardless of manufacturer claims (which is why the
major research libraries are still microfilming rather than moving to
CD-Rom's, as extensive testing has demonstrated a 300-year life for this
low-technology-to-read mechanism).

It will not be more expensive to network dissertations than to CD-Rom them.
It will take institutional organization, which libraries are beginning to
move toward. It may not happen as soon as the first cd-rom can be produced,
but it will happen.

(Perhaps this could be sent back to the medieval list that generated this
interesting discussion?)

Peter Graham, Associate University Librarian

Peter Graham psgraham@gandalf.rutgers.edu Rutgers University Libraries
169 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08903 (908)445-5908; fax (908)445-5888