#LawRepositories - Is Digitization Preservation?


Sharon Bradley:

As a librarian interested in preservation, people are the enemy. They eat, they have dirty hands, they lose things. (Tone was sarcastic, folks!)

LLMC / Jerry Dupont - Use means digital use. Content is what folks are interested in.

Digitization Myths:
  • We’re too small, it’s only me.
    • Do what you can, and then you’ve done it. Your own small part.
  • We can’t afford it.
    • Student labor, equipment not too expensive. Fuji ScanSnap worthy of lust!
  • We don’t have the technical skills.
  • Not a priority.
    • It can’t wait. The books are falling apart.

Beth Williams:
Agrees with Sharon more than disagrees.

Digitization Myths from the managerial perspective:
  • It’s (primarily) about (open) access
    • “Intellectual output" = call for new term needed!!
    • Editorial input might be the sine qua non of publishing, but are publishers doing it?
    • Digitization means creating something new.
    • Digitization is about both access and preservation.
      • Need to be considered independently.
  • Preservation is backup and recovery
    • Backup and recovery is a disaster-planning mechanism, not for access or preservation necessarily.
    • Bit rot is probably the most dangerous thing.
  • Acquisition of a turnkey repository is enough
    • We need to be doing more with repositories.

  • What’s the goal?
    • Maintain the object for as long as needed that is authentic and accessible.
    • Reduce handling.
  • Ensuring authenticity
    • When you digitize, you’re the custodian.
  • Trusted Digital Repositories (TDRs)
    • Most have decided that bepress meets the needs, but it’s not open-and-shut.
  • Control and Structure
    • It’s a constant process of evaluation.


  • No single preservation strategy
    • We’re talking about tools but also where things will be in the future.
  • Migration
    • 3 to 5 years. Seems like a lot. But keep it in mind.
  • Structure
  • Processing
    • Less process, more product.
    • We can get caught up in the details, leading to delay.

Guidelines from OCLC
  • Do no harm
  • Don’t preclude future use
  • Don’t let the first two be obstacles to action
  • Document what you do

Final point is that the data is your data.

“Digital information lasts forever — or five years, whichever comes first."
- Jeff Rothenberg

Q&A from Carol and Audience
Have you chosen not to digitize something at all?
  • Not volitionally, but because the things have not been identified.
  • Materials not significant. Intellectual value.

Interesting question → Work of an archivist as opposed to the work of a digitizer.
  • But, leave the organization of the creator in place if you can.
  • Archival students can be helpful. Box-level content organization can be done rather easily.

Grants for preservation or digitization?
  • St. Mary’s (TX) has received grant, but had a bad experience with a particular set of papers through DPLA Hub.
  • Have been several grants recently, Univ. of Utah (IMLS)
  • LYRASIS (mass digitization), Sharon has worked with them.
    • Margie Maes mentions it’s a challenge with smaller law collections
  • Duke has its own digitization center university-wide, can do small projects.