by Dick Kaser
This issue of Computers in Libraries magazine is dedicated to two topics that, while not necessarily synonymous, have come to be spoken in the same breath, as twin concepts: digitization and preservation.
These twins are not identical, but they do go hand in hand. For, on the one hand, librarians’ efforts to digitize books and other artifacts are, in themselves, acts of preservation. On the other hand, the truth is that digital books, digital media files, digital data files, and anything else born digital or digitized will eventually become artifacts that need to be preserved themselves. And, as some of our authors and columnists point out this month, “eventually” may be sooner than you think.
We are proud to feature this month National Public Radio’s (NPR) story of a very special collection of audio files that has been not only preserved through digitization but has been put to work in the broadcasting network’s daily programming cycles. The effort by NPR librarians to get the archives into the workflow won the ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award in 2012.
If you’re thinking of digitizing a special collection of your own, don’t proceed without reading the excellent article in this issue from Columbia University’s director of preservation and digital conversion, Janet Gertz, who encourages you to start by asking the question, “Why?”
The issue also features an update on the CLOCKSS dark archive project and some words of wisdom from Marshall Breeding on whether or not the cloud will save you from losing your digital stuff.
Speaking at an information industry conference in January, Brewster Kahle, director and founder of the Internet Archive, observed, “The ability to archive everything is in our grasp, but how do you preserve it?” The answer, he said, begins with, “Don’t just have one copy.”
As the cover suggests, keep this issue alive.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor
P.S. Hope to see you at Computers in Libraries 2013 next month! Check out the preview in this issue.