Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

The Preservation Evolution: A Review of Preservation Literature, 1999-2001

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

The Preservation Evolution: A Review of Preservation Literature, 1999-2001

Article excerpt

The literature representing 1999 to 2001 reveals that the preservation field is absorbed in an evolution. The literature demonstrates that trusted practices are changing to improve outcomes and further advance the preservation field. Simultaneously, in the wake of the digital revolution, preservation professionals dream about merging traditional and digital technologies in the hope that both long-term preservation and enhanced access will be achieved. This article attempts to relate the values of the discipline in order to inspire further research and persuade more work in formulating hypotheses to integrate preservation theory and practice. Finally, this overview of the literature will communicate the scope of the preservation problem, clarify misconceptions in the field, and document areas that warrant further investigation and refinement.

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The literature representing 1999 to 2001 reveals that the preservation field is continually absorbed in an evolution. This literature review examines the trends and customs of the preservation field as documented in the literature, and attempts to relate the values of the discipline in order to inspire further research and persuade more work in formulating hypotheses to integrate preservation theory and practice. Finally, this depiction of the literature will communicate the scope of the preservation problem, clarify misconceptions in the field, and document areas that warrant further investigation and refinement. Following up the preceding preservation literature reviews that have been published in this journal, this work provides a sampling of the preservation literature and will not include book reviews, annual reports, preservation project announcements, technical leaflets, and strictly specialized conservation literature. Exclusion of these works does not indicate any censorship, but is necessary to keep on target with the goals of this article and ensure a succinct and concise overview of the preservation literature.

Preservation-Related Literature Reviews

There have been several preservation literature reviews describing trends, convictions, and practices during their respective time periods. Coinciding with the observations that Drewes made in a previous review of preservation literature, current articles from 1999 to 2001 continue to integrate preservation management into the overall organizational structure of a library or archive (Drewes 1993). However, there is an attempt to take this assimilation a step further by incorporating secondary storage facilities and including digital technologies. Publishing case studies, presenting an overview of projects, and providing examples of how a procedure and practice are developed at a specific institution also remain constituents of the corpus of preservation literature as during the time of Drewes's review. Sophia Jordan conducted a review of preservation literature covering 1993 to 1998 and observed that the preservation field experienced a "refinement" and "maturation" (2000). The author reviewed a multitude of works and categorized them into subgroups including: Review of the Literature; Binding and Bindings; Physical Treatment, Reformatting (Microfilming and Photoduplication); Audio-Video, Film, and Photographic Materials; The Digital Arena; Environment Control; Disaster Planning; and Management. Jordan's examination concluded that "preservation librarians have reflected upon themselves and have developed an historical perspective of themselves" (2000, 10).

Consistent with both Drewes's and Jordan's literature reviews, preservation literature continues to thrive at this time (Drewes 1993; Jordan 2000). The fact that literature reviews are being conducted on digital documents and music collections, focusing specifically on the preservation issues relating to these mediums, is evidence of a blossoming of literature. These reviews testify to both Drewes's observation of a "widening circle" (1993, 315) and Jordan's noting "refinements in established preservation concerns (2000, 5). …

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