What Are We To Keep? (FAQ)
This document is meant to accompany the article, “What are we to Keep?” by James R. Jacobs, Documents to the People (Spring 2015) p 13-19.
- What is a Preservation Copy?
Research that was prompted by JSTOR’s desire to determine how to guarantee that all of the printed material within its journals would remain available defined preservation copies as “clean copies that retain full information accuracy from the vantage point of the researcher” (Yano). Thus when we think about “preservation copies” we are looking to be able to ensure that copies are available for the long-term and that those copies are complete and accurate. “Informational Accuracy” a “perfect copy” — a copy that is as good as new. A preservation copy is, therefore, a “clean” copy that is quality-checked and repaired, if necessary, on a page by page basis.
- Why do we need Preservation Copies?
Even if we had perfect digital copies of paper documents, we still need preservation paper copies for two reasons. First, there is evidence that digital documents degrade more rapidly than print material (Rosenthal), so it is necessary to have a paper copy that could be used to re-digitize. Second, Digitization does not magically preserve paper; or, to put it another way, digital copies are not the same as print copies and may inherently lose information by the very dint of reformatting to a new presentation.
- Why do we need Access-Copies?
- Why do we need re-digitization copies?
Unless we create perfect copies that adequately anticipate the future needs of users, we will need to create new digitizations in order to meet those future needs. (See “An alarmingly casual indifference to accuracy and authenticity” What we know about digital surrogates.)
Unless we have perfect, page-verified digitizations that are as complete, as accurate, and as easily usable as the original paper copies (Jacobs and Jacobs), users will inevitably need to go back to the original paper copy in order to get either the complete and accurate content or the functional usability of the original paper medium. Some libraries have already reported that digitization of paper copies has increased the demand for access to the paper copies. Additionally, some users/uses will require access to physical copies via Interlibrary Borrowing. ILL can only happen if there is a surplus of copies. As the # of copies goes toward 0 (scarcity), libraries will no longer be willing to lend to ILL. Therefore, it is imperative that there not be a dearth of geographically distributed copies.
What should I think about before discarding government documents?
1. In General
- Does the document have long-term historical value? and if it is a recently published document, *will* it have historic value?
- Does the document include tabular data and statistics?
- Does the document include maps, fold-outs, color illustrations, and other non-textual content?
- Does the library have adequate metadata representation in the library’s catalog for the document?
- Is the document discoverable and accessible?
- How many other libraries are listed in the OCLC record as having a copy?
- Are there other copies in nearby FDLs?
- Are there MOU’s for shared collections with nearby libraries/consortia in place?
- Does the digitization meet the requirements of the Digital Surrogate Seal of Approval (DSSOA)?
- Is the digital copy adequately cataloged?
- Does the digitization include digital full-text (aka OCR)?
- Is the full-text searchable for item-level discovery?
- Is the full-text searchable within an item?
- Can the digital text be accurately copied or extracted?
- How accurate is the digital text — particularly with regard to tabular numeric data, dates, and named people places and things?
- Does the digitized text preserve the original layout of the print text — particularly with regard to tables, footnotes, sidebars, and headers and footers?
- Is the document freely and publicly available in a trusted digital repository?
- Does your community have complete access and use rights to the digital copy?
- Has anyone checked the digital document page-by-page to assure it’s accuracy, legibility, usability, and searchability?
- Does your library have any control over the long-term availability of the document?
2. About Paper Copies
3. About Digital Copies
Ames, Eric. “So We Can Throw These Out Now, Right?”: What We Learned From Microfilming Newspapers and How It Shapes Our Digitization Strategy. The Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections Blog (August 23, 2012).
Center for Research Libraries. 2011. Certification Report on the HathiTrust Digital Repository (March 2011).
Jacobs, James A., and James R. Jacobs. 2013. “The Digital-Surrogate Seal of Approval: A Consumer-Oriented Standard.” D-Lib Magazine 19, no. 3/4 (March 2013). doi:10.1045/march2013-jacobs.
Kichuk, Diana. 2015. “Loose, Falling Characters and Sentences: The Persistence of the OCR Problem in Digital Repository E-Books.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy 15, no. 1 (2015): 59–91. doi:10.1353/pla.2015.0005.
Ladd, Ken. 2010. An Examination of the Failure Rate and Content Equivalency of Electronic Surrogates and the Implications for Print Equivalent Preservation. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (2010) 5.4.
McEathron, Scott R. An Assessment of Image Quality in Geology Works from the HathiTrust Digital Library. Proceedings, Geoscience Information Society, Volume 41, October 27, 2011.
Nadal, Jacob, and Annie Peterson. 2009. Scarce and Endangered Works: Using Network-Level Holdings Data in Preservation Decision Making and Stewardship of the Printed Record. Preprint, accepted for publication in ALCTS Monographs.
Schonfeld, Roger C., and Ross Housewright. 2009. Documents for a Digital Democracy: A Model for the Federal Depository Library Program in the 21st Century. Ithaka S+R (December 17, 2009).
Schonfeld, Roger C., and Ross Housewright. 2009. What to Withdraw: Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization. Ithaka S+R, (September 29, 2009).
Yano, Candace Arai, Z.J. Max Shen, and Stephen Chan. 2008. Optimizing the Number of Copies for Print Preservation of Research Journals Berkeley, CA: University of California Berkeley, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, (October 2008). [originally published at http://www.ieor.berkeley.edu/~shen/webpapers/V.8.pdf]