Archives

Microfilm's trump card: it tends to last

Blake writes "'Archivists who stick with the old
`I'm a technology geek, but we have to be cautious' Microfilm's
trump card: it tends to last.
Simcoe County archivist Bruce Beacock sees digital technology as a
modern convenience with a limited shelf life.
"It's access technology, not preservation technology and we don't know how long the
machines will be around to read it," said Beacock, who heads up the oldest county
archives in Ontario.
Full Story."

Shanghai Museum pays 4.5 million dollars for 'lost' calligraphic collection

Charles Davis writes "More at
Yahoo News:

The Shanghai Museum has paid
4.5 million dollars to retrieve a calligraphic collection which experts termed the most significant event in cultural relics preservation since communist China was founded in 1949.
The four-volume "Chunhuage Tie' (Model Letters from the Imperial Archives in the Chunhua Reign) was bought from a US collector
after mysteriously disappearing in the 1940s, the China Daily said Monday."

What is Permanent in the Digital Age?

This is supposed to be a paperless society, but many of us still
like to hold a piece of paper in our hands.
To me, a piece of paper means permanence, whereas an e-mail does not.
Here’s proof: Yesterday, I accidentally deleted all the e-mail messages on my
computer. Everything was gone because I touched a wrong button.
And that wasn’t the first time it happened. I did the same thing a few months
ago.

The article raises some issues that we're all familiar with, but also poses an interesting point about the creation of content in the digital age. Because documents are generally replaced by new content when edited, will we see fewer drafts of important documents in the future?

There's no mention, though, of hidden data in the digital world. (e.g. hidden metadata in Tony Bliar's document or unstripped jpegs.)

Read the full story [from Kingstown Whig Standard]

History On The Chopping Block

Me writes "Christian Science Monitor 7/28/03
History on the chopping block
By Beth Joyner Waldron
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – How do you place a dollar value on history?
That's the daunting question faced by state-operated historic sites
nationwide as they get short shrift in the financial crisis slashing state
budgets.
How skillfully each state crafts an answer will determine the value our
society places on remembering the past.
Here's The Story."

MIT returns documents to state

News From Massachusetts where they say Kurt Hasselbalch, curator of the Hart Nautical Collections, stumbled upon a cache of late 18th-century state documents, many bearing the signature of John Hancock.

He believes the documents were loaned in 1941 to the Hart Nautical Museum to augment the inaugural exhibition of the Forbes Whaling Collection. Everything changed when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and MIT went into war emergency mode. The documents were put into a file and the loan was forgotten. Another war, 60 years later, delayed its return to the state last year.

Sacramento environmentalist's collection of slogans goes to Smithsonian

Bob Cox notes The Sacramento Bee Reports the Smithsonian owns tens of thousands of buttons, mainly from electoral campaigns, but has recently been working to broaden its collection of late-20th century memorabilia.
They just scored the nation's largest known collection of environmental political buttons -- 1,600 round metal disks that had been steadily collected over three decades by a Sacramento activist, Jerry Meral, who agreed to donate them to the museum last year.

Mr. PDF goes to Washington

One From PDFZone.com on managing and preserving electronic records on behalf of the federal government poses challenges, said Linda D. Koontz, director of information management issues for the General Accounting Office--the government watchdog agency that "follows the money"-- in recent testimony before the House Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and the Census, part of the House Committee on Government Reform.

Libraries warn of digital dark age as key websites lost

"The 21st century will be seen as a cultural dark age unless urgent action is taken to preserve Britain's electronically published heritage for future generations, Britain's national libraries have warned."

"They say the lack of any strategy for archiving the rapidly increasing amount of material published on the internet, on CD-Rom and on DVD means vital documents are being lost to the nation forever."

"More than 60,000 commercial items were published electronically in the UK last year, and that number is forecast to increase fivefold by 2005. Non-commercial items, such as the majority of the UK's 2.95 million websites, add enormously to this figure." (from The Sunday Herald)

Exposing Hidden Collections: A White Paper and Working Conference

"The ARL Special Collections Task Force is convening a conference September 8-9, 2003, at the Library of Congress to explore the challenges of providing access to uncataloged and unprocessed archival, manuscript, and rare book materials."

"Barbara Jones (Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) has compiled a white paper that lays out the problem, the opportunities, and some recommendations for how our communities might proceed to enhance access and use of these collections. The white paper will be the focus for the discussions at the conference. See "Hidden Collections, Scholarly Barriers: Creating Access to Unprocessed Special Collections Materials in North America's Research Libraries". (from ARL)

Digital citizens

Charles Davis writes: "Digital citizenship could soon be a fact of life if the government gets its way. Paper records of births, deaths and marriages - the
legal bedrock of individual identity - are to be phased out in England and Wales. Cradle-to-grave records will be stored on a new
database - and the only proof of who you are will be digital. Full Story"

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