The First Decade of the New Millennium - Preservation Roadmaps for the 21st Century
The Library of Congress hosted a special multi-part Future Directions Symposia series to frame and address preservation and access quandaries currently facing libraries, archives, and other collecting institutions as they transition to the fiscal and stewardship realities of the 21st century. The series intended to aid decision-making for managers at such institutions, faced with the dual challenges of restrained resources and expanding demands in the digital age. The questions: What tools have we to tackle storage and access needs of legacy, converted and born-digital collections, which often have parallel but different requirements? What are the factors of life cycle management and infrastructure costs that must be considered? How do we balance limited resources and account for complex relationships of sustainability, relevance and added value, that characterize increasingly diverse collections in this new millennium?
Senior managers of nationally respected institutions, senior conservation scientists, and experts in digital collection development generated the seeds of high-level consensus about the the role and relationship of traditional and new collection formats ranging from analog audiovisual to time based, electronic and digital media. They suggested the most useful and pressing short- to medium-term directions for preservation, recognizing the impossibility of a one-size-fits-all solution.
Each symposium included time for plenary discussion and all sessions were accessible by live webcast and also recorded for streaming video.
(or How Did We Get to This Point?): Understanding the Physical Environment
October 20, 2010
Preservation leader James Reilly and others reviewed 25 years of research by the Image Permanence Institute that have produced resources and recommendations now widely used to preserve a broad range of media. Application and findings in pilot projects at the Library of Congress pilot (as well as others) were discussed. Achievements include characterization of deterioration mechanisms in photographic, magnetic, and optical media; tools for assessing the condition and needs of these media; and environmental remediations both modeled and tested. This set the context of the current state of knowledge for type collections across a variety of institutions.
(or Just Where Are We?): Assessing Options for Large Collections
March 15, 2011
Senior preservation administrators, scientists, digital collection experts, and conservators described current options for managing large collections, in the context of environmentally controlled remote cold storage; mass deacidification bulk treatments; and digitization. Discussion centered on realities of needs, estimates, cost:benefit estimates, collection size and types, institutional resources, and competing priorities. Factors of value, use and risk were framed in comparison to relative costs of lifecycle management requirements for selection, ingest, quality assurance, and monitoring, and of infrastructure of facilities, maintenance, equipment, security and expertise.
The Road Ahead
(or Where Do We Go Next?): Transitioning to a Digital Future
October 20, 2011
Senior managers of the National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, National Park Service, and Library of Congress described their perspectives on the preservation needs, priorities, and challenges in managing the core collections of the federal government in the 21st century. A critical focus was the challenge of balancing the needs of historic "legacy collections" with the increasingly complex and ever-growing demands presented by digital resources. Managers described their institution’s major challenges, discuss strategies for addressing their most at-risk collections, and identified what tools, guidance, and assistance they need to move forward. Attention was given to the question of how to leverage the collaborative opportunities these challenges offer and touch upon how such solutions could be scaled down to benefit smaller collections and institutions. A key panel of foundation heads addressed how funding for such collaborative solutions may be coordinated to help resolve some of these crucial issues facing America’s national repositories.