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ERIC Number: EJ875983
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0024-2519
The Importance of Preserving Paper-Based Artifacts in a Digital Age
Bee, Robert
Library Quarterly, v78 n2 p179-194 Apr 2008
The preservation of paper-based artifacts is an essential issue for collection management in academic libraries. In recent years, the library science profession has often favored reformatting through microfilm or digitization, assuming too quickly that information matters, whereas an artifact's medium does not. However, much recent humanities scholarship has demonstrated the significance of physical artifacts per se. In fact, it is often the most cutting-edge scholarship on race, gender, and history that requires the physical artifact itself for research. Although librarians obviously cannot save every physical artifact, any decision on which artifacts to preserve, deaccession, or reformat (and, for that matter, on how to reformat) requires an understanding of the importance of the original physical format. Since texts acquire meaning through an intricate interplay between physical form and abstract information, the reduction of texts to abstract information alone evinces a misunderstanding of the artifacts in our care and an inadequate theory on which to base preservation decisions.
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-188; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Media Staff
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A