Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Looking to the future?

My first blog isn't directly related to tech services, but nevertheless very important issue for libraries in the future. Having just graduated from library school and gaining awareness of the vast amount of information born online, I have been interested in how all this information will be preserved.

Several sessions I attended yesterday addressed this issue in different ways and demonstrated that librarians understand the importance of dealing with this and are taking steps to do so. The first -- Electronic Preservation: Does Losing the Past Challenge the Future? with Jerry Dupont, Victoria Reich, and Mark Evans -- raised the following key points:
  • assets are being concentrated in more vulnerable situations rather that being spread around (as in multiple print copies in many libraries).
  • risks to electronic information range from incompetence to malice
  • the need for the information may exceed the life of the technology
  • how do we insure the integrity of the "bits" over time?

Librarians are involved in the following initiatives which address these important issues in these organizations:

  • LOCKSS -- Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe
  • OAIS -- Open Archival Information System
  • LLMC -- Law Library Microform Consortium

It is important for libraries to become aware of these issues and to support efforts to work out solutions.

The second program -- AELIC's Survey on Authentication of Government Information: A Year Later and Still Challenging with Mary Alice Baish, Herbert Dixon, and Sarah Holterhoff -- reported on AALL's survey of states regarding authentication of information online. This is an important issue since a majority of states are providing information electronically instead of in print but there are currently few if any states which have developed guidelines to authenticate this information.

We can be proud that AALL has taken a strong leadership position on this very important issue, and will be working to get others on board with the issue in the future.

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