by Dick Kaser
This month’s cover reminds me of the satellite photos of tropical storms, which is fitting. In so many respects, libraries today exist in the eye of a hurricane. Priorities are many. Money is still tight. And the imperative to transform special collections into a library’s unique value proposition is increasingly touted as the No. 1 survival strategy. In this month’s issue, we look at a variety of economical means to that end.
In the lead article, Richard P. Hulser reminds us that there can be strength in numbers as he describes the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP). It has brought more than 80 organizations together to build the California Light and Sound collection, comprising media recordings from California’s rich past. Using a shared workflow, the project has ended up costing participating libraries only hundreds—and not thousands—of dollars.
Of course, it’s one thing to pull off the digitization, but quite another to store digitized files over the long term. Both the CAVPP project and one described by Joe Marciniak (LaGrange College) make use of the Internet Archive to store and provide public access to digitized local history collections. Your current LibGuides arrangement might also provide a viable storage and access option.
These projects, and others detailed in this issue, are about capturing, preserving, and providing access to rare objects currently in physical form. But the bigger challenge ahead will no doubt be personal files. In the future, people aren’t going to be leaving you their papers; you’re going to get stuck with their digital files, often in proprietary formats. And what about the stuff in your own CMS? Our regular columnists share their insights on these and other challenges.
Taking on a digitization project may be just the ticket to elevating your library profile among local stakeholders and opinion leaders. It can also seem intimidating, but hopefully, the task will seem less daunting after you read this issue.
Don’t forget to join us later this month in Washington, D.C., for the 30th anniversary of our Computers in Libraries conference. Hope to see you there!
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor