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December 2000


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Don Rittner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 5 Dec 2000 10:46:12 -0500
text/plain (134 lines)
> From: Phil Lord <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: "A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State
> history." <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 09:17:13 -0500
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Cross post from a hard-copy discarder
> This discussion thread is dancing around a central issue of why save anything
> original if the ultimate purpose is to preserve information and there are new
> technologically sophisticated alternatives? (I admit I am throwing gasoline on
> the fire on purpose.)
> There are two issues: preservation and access. Microfilming was originally
> designed to accomplish improvements in both areas. What was it that
> researchers needed from the original unstable paper that could not be had on
> microfilm (leaving aside manuscripts that could not be accurately copied due
> to color, etc.)?

good quality repro of images?
> And this applies not only to paper goods. Archeologists often record and
> discard materials that can provide no more data than the report already
> captures. With modern 3-D renderings and full color scanners, and CD-ROMS we
> seem sometime to be able to capture more data than the item originally had!

Part of that reason is the lack of storage space and preservation techniques
too Phil - just like the newspapers.  Didn't Ritchie and Funk keep

> And when it comes to mass produced materials (newspapers, coins, nails), so
> long as someone has a sample, does everyone need them all? (I am definitely
> being a devil's advocate here.)

Then why save more than one representative of a greek revival building, or,
to continue, why dig up more than one archaic site?  I think part of the
argument that as in coins, a mis-strike is considered more valuable and can
explain elements of the equipment that made them. Could you not make a wrong
assumption of when a building was built by not looking at all the nails of a
site rather than a small sample?  If you saved one round nail but there were
millions of hand forged, would you not come to the wrong conclusion about
the construction date of the site?  (all just for arguments sake of course
:)  If you were studying the evolution of newspaper, the actual paper, seems
like it might be nice to have samples of paper to analyze?

> A few years ago I was part of a debate with a treasure salvor who argued that
> if the State kept one of each type of the thousands of coins on this
> shipwreck, which all were minted at the same time, was that not good enough,
> since we could photograph and record in the finest detail each of the
> identical coins we would later turn over to the salvor and the marketplace.
> (Of course we never considered that a valid argument and concluded the entire
> collection was valuable and needed to be kept intact for future research
> purposes, at which point the treasure hunters lost interest.)
> While the stories of how repositories are dealing with surplus newspapers is
> interesting, I would love to see a down and dirty debate about the values and
> norms that lie behind the urge to preserve these collections, even when
> "virtual" versions of them are readily available.
> It may get metaphysical, but do we dare take off the blinders and examine our
> own culture of collections management, just to see where it goes?
> Philip Lord, Jr.
> Director, Division of Museum Services
> New York State Museum
> Albany, NY
> E-mail: [log in to unmask]
> Website: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/services.html
>>>> [log in to unmask] 11/30/00 10:31AM >>>
> I only wish other public libraries were as on the ball as Bob's.  They
> really do have a great collection and knowledge of what needs to be done.
> But maybe that really is what it comes down to in reality - the staff?  If
> you have a good group of people who really understand the needs of the
> material and don't look at their weekly tenure just as a "job," the
> situation would be quite different.
> In one situation at a local library I am familiar with, there was really no
> need to dump the newspapers.  They did not have a large collection and it
> wasn't taking up that much room.  They just felt that it was time to get rid
> of those dusty old crumbling newspapers that were making some of the staff
> sneeze!
> I wonder if this is the kind of project that corporate donors could get
> involved in?  I can see IBM or GE financing a historic newspaper repository,
> no? They could use some good PR :)
> On the other hand I am not comfortable with some old wareshouse being the
> repository unless it was up to code, had the latest environmental regulation
> system, and a great sprinkler system.
> dr
>> From: Robert Sullivan <[log in to unmask]>
>> Reply-To: "A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State
>> history." <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 19:38:01 -0500
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: Cross post from a hard-copy discarder
>>> Maybe this was discussed already, but has anyone or could a group send out a
>>> notice to local libraries and holding institutions as to the importance of
>>> holding printed volumes, even if they are microfilmed, and that some other
>>> repository would take them?
>> This is what it all comes down to, isn't it?
>> I'm happy to say that my library has a good collection of newspaper volumes
>> (inherited from another library, I believe) and other historical material.
>> When we had a roof leak this past summer, I rescued them from the flood.
>> Don's
>> seen some of my digitizing projects and we share an interest in saving this
>> sort of thing and making it available online.
>> On the other hand, we're in a space crunch and everything is being examined
>> with a critical eye as we prepare for a major reorganization of our building.
>> There's no way we could absorb someone else's collection.  The local
>> historical
>> society has a wonderful library, but they also have space constraints.
>> It's probably safe to say that this would apply to most public libraries....
>> maybe the new Broome County Public Library would be an exception, as they
>> will
>> be allied with the local historian and possibly another office.
>> So - if I know of a large collection of documents which will be discarded
>> after
>> microfilming and I'd like to preserve them, what are my options?
>> Bob Sullivan                               [log in to unmask]
>> Schenectady County Public Library (NY)     http://www.scpl.org