Do More Than Just Scan This Issue
by Kathy Dempsey
Who among us isn't building some sort of digital collection
these days? Very few, I'll wager. That's why I think
this issue will be so useful. It really fulfills CIL's
mission of sharing knowledge so that each library doesn't
waste time reinventing the wheel. Witness the wealth
of coverage we deliver this month:
The "Athens of Indiana" article (p. 14) is a classic
story of a public library that had archives that
needed to be saved. What's unique about it, though,
is what the author had to go through to gather the
archival records, which were often handwritten, spread
all over, and completely disorganized. Also of interest
is the special face-up scanner he bought to avoid
damaging the fragile books.
Another in the category of "unique story that carries
lessons for many" is the feature that starts on page
30. It details how Australians at a government library
had to save vital information that was kept via proprietary
softwareand on floppy disks to boot! Their
migration was complicated, but successful.
As if that's not interesting enough, read about
the digital archive being created from old military
medical documents. Records of combat medicine and
treatment from past wars are growing too fragile
to last, yet the information is an important part
of medical history. Scanning to the rescue again!
Check it out, beginning on page 20.
OK, OK, enough scanning already, right? What about
maintaining collections that are already online?
You can't just post them to the Web and forgetabout
them, you know. Why not? Well, we've got that covered
too. Turn to page 26, because you'll want to know
what this group went through if you're adding up
staff and maintenance costs for the end of a digitization
And this leaves me with our cover story, which
is really our most forward-looking piece. You may
give a lot of thought to current document migrationscanning
papers, burning electronic files to CDs or DVDs,
porting to up-to-date software. But what about later?
How long will these formats last before you have
to upgrade the info again to continue its life? Bart
Ragon is already thinking aboutthat, and his cover
story, "Castles Made of Sand" (p. 10), shows you
one smart way to save information so it's easier
to manipulate in the future.
If you're not a digitizer, don't worry: We have
an extra treat for you this month. It's the third
installment of our quarterly ILS Marketplace series.
Go to page 35 to get comparative information on different
vendors and products for the school (K-12) library
segment. The time for schools to investigate new
products is the summer, when they're less busy, so
this report comes right in time. Make use of our
Kathleen L. Dempsey is the Editor
of Computers in Libraries. Her email address