ERIC Number: ED458887
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Evidence in Hand: Report of the Task Force on the Artifact in Library Collections. Optimizing Collections and Services for Scholarly Use.
Nichols, Stephen G.; Smith, Abby
This report discusses the ways in which artifacts and their physical frailties affect their research value--originality, faithfulness, fixity, and stability--over time and how libraries can minimize the risk of unacceptable loss of that value. It investigates the specific issues around selected media, such as paper-based printed matter, moving image and recorded sound materials, and objects that exist in digital form, and points to two key strategies currently in use in libraries that can be scaled up to deal with a problem of this magnitude. The first strategy is preventive maintenance, which most often entails storing items under optimal conditions to retard rates of natural decay. Prevention also includes such techniques as deacidifying items printed on wood-pulp paper, stabilizing bindings and encasing fragile items, and improving care and handling techniques for all library materials. The second strategy is the use of surrogates to reduce the stress of handling. For research purposes, digital surrogates in particular were found to be quite acceptable and were even preferable to the originals in a number of cases. Surrogates, especially when networked, have the added benefit of increasing access to an item and of providing convenience of access to items housed at distant or disparate locations. (Contains 68 references.) (MES)
Descriptors: Access to Information, Audiovisual Aids, Higher Education, Information Technology, Library Materials, Library Services, Preservation, Printed Materials, Research Libraries
Council on Library and Information Resources, 1755 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036 ($20). Web site: http://www.clir.org. For full text: http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub103/contents.html.
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC.