Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jake Nalder & Preservation

Jake Naldal is the new preservation Officer at UCLA. Introduction: a new voice at the shared collections table, and a new person in the UC system. Exciting that we are having this conversation.

Rough transcription of Naldal's presentation:

"when people with a preservation background look at the world, they see something rather different and more horrifying than the world you see."

Preservation is really a small part of what we do. Libraries excel at preservation as a happenstance of our activities -- when you collect materials under one room and hire people to look after them, they tend to survive. But libraries do next to nothing on active preservation (environmental management, etc).

Most of the preservation successes have already been from networked individual institutions, because preservation professionals have been used to work together. It behooves us to push preservation to the networked level.

Certainly when I look at the UCLA collection and 5-8% of the colelction has problems to the extent that I don't want them to be used -- that already keeps me employed for a century. So individually we can only really preserve the most special of the special collections. For the bulk of the scholarly record -- we must work as a consortium.

Another useful note is the reality of digitization. Most of our collections are on track to have a digital surrogate of an item. There's a big difference between a digital version of a common book and a rare manuscript; one thing we are working out in the preservation community is how we articulate these values.

In presevation, up until this digital era, our only option was to make a physical surrogate; now we can make a digital object.

In preservation, we often look to the museum community; they look back to us as people engaged in intellectual preservation rather than object preservation. We have a larger connection to the wider world.

Jake Nalder laughs.. at the thought that we are spending enough on preservation activities? With Emily Stambaugh. Photo by Dana Peterman.

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