Preservation at the Network Level: Challenges, Opportunities


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Presentation to Preservation Administrators Interest Group at ALA MW 2009 on infrastructure requirements for cooperative print preservation efforts. Part of session organized by Jake Nadal (UCLA) that also included presentation by Roger Schonfeld (Ithaka) and commentary from Cathy Martyniak (University of Florida).

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Preservation at the Network Level: Challenges, Opportunities

  1. 1. Preservation at the Network Level: Challenges, Opportunities Constance Malpas Program Officer PAIG ALA Midwinter, Denver CO 24 January 2009
  2. 2. Context <ul><li>Institutional value of print collections is being reassessed as scholarly workflows move to the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Uncertainties about accessibility and utility of digitized books (in copyright) have increased concerns about disposition of print collections </li></ul><ul><li>Digital preservation infrastructure addresses ontological objective (the content will ‘exist’) but doesn’t fundamentally alter value of print as distribution medium </li></ul><ul><li>Duplicative investments in print/electronic acquisitions and management are not sustainable; difficult choices must be made </li></ul>
  3. 3. Challenges <ul><li>Limited aggregate preservation capacity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A handful of fully-staffed preservation centers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Diminishing print preservation mandate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As value of print to scholarly workflows declines, so does institutional commitment to retention and conservation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Imbalance in collective investments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large institutions shifting resources to digital preservation, while smaller institutions continue to rely on tacit agreements for print preservation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Limited infrastructure to support collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult to pool expertise and data; incentives are few </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organizational obstacles to integrating preservation within larger operational workflows </li></ul>
  4. 4. Opportunities <ul><li>Cross-domain partnerships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic / IRLA collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rich information environment, new sources of data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disparate, dissipated, but still expanding evidence base </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evolving risk management models </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities to target investment strategically based on changing perceptions of need and value </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increasing awareness that condition assessment of physical conditions is an information asset </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Value of local collections in larger system-wide economy is determined (in part) by the quality of its condition </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Case Study: Cooperative Preservation of At-Risk Journals <ul><li>Goal </li></ul><ul><li>Develop shared methodology for identifying and managing at-risk serial holdings </li></ul><ul><li>Support research libraries in making strategic investments in print collection-building </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate value of cooperative effort as cost-efficient strategy for managing acquisitions </li></ul><ul><li>Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence-based risk assessment: Yano report </li></ul><ul><li>System-wide vantage point: aggregate holdings, peer review </li></ul><ul><li>Network-aware model: ISSN, OCLC numbers </li></ul>
  6. 6. Case Study: Cooperative Preservation of At-Risk Journals <ul><li>Scope </li></ul><ul><li>Active, scholarly journals in the humanities with print-only distribution channels </li></ul><ul><li>A distinctive class of risk: specialized publications with limited audience; low visibility in online environment </li></ul><ul><li>Method </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage existing collection strengths to secure prospective commitment to ongoing acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>Assign at-risk titles to participating libraries based on holdings and collection profile </li></ul><ul><li>Assess condition, coverage and willingness to retain </li></ul>
  7. 7. Preliminary Findings: Implications for Network Level Preservation <ul><li>40% of titles reviewed are held in their entirety by at least one institution; condition is good; institutions are prepared to retain and acquire in perpetuity </li></ul><ul><li> feasible to make assignments based on collection strengths and obtain significant impact; opportunities for re-formatting </li></ul><ul><li>30% of titles are held in part (>50% of content); uncertainties about cost-effectiveness of retrospective commitment </li></ul><ul><li> value of these titles to scholarly workflows should be assessed before investments in gap-filling are made </li></ul><ul><li>30% of titles will require re-assignment based on scant local holdings (<50% complete) </li></ul><ul><li> cooperative archiving efforts are essential if comprehensive back files are to be preserved </li></ul><ul><li>Lightweight validation is not overly burdensome; 15 min. per title </li></ul><ul><li> Approach is scalable </li></ul>
  8. 8. What’s Missing: Social & Technical Infrastructure <ul><li>Institutional retention commitments remain ‘latent’ and produce no beneficial network effects </li></ul><ul><li>MARC 583 tag (Preservation Action Note) under consideration as disclosure mechanism </li></ul><ul><li>Untapped potential as source of ‘business intelligence’ for preservation administrators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>400,000 MARC 583 tags in WorldCat, representing 1 million library holdings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Titles for which a microfilming, digitization, Web archiving, condition assessment, repair, re-housing, mass de-acidification action is scheduled or has already been performed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Greatest challenge may be workflow integration between preservation and technical services </li></ul>
  9. 9. For Discussion <ul><li>Are you disclosing local conservation / preservation actions to network partners? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you making use of existing 583 data in local decision-making? </li></ul><ul><li>How might local preservation workflows be integrated into metadata creation and collection management operations? </li></ul><ul><li>Which preservation action data are most critical to local operations? Has been, will be, will not be? </li></ul>
  10. 10. More Information <ul><li>RLG Shared Print program description: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Journals Preservation Project title list: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation & Digitization Actions: MARC 583 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Constance Malpas </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tel: +1-650-287-2131 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>