A Critique of “Recognizing Digitization as a Preservation Reformatting Method” Public Deposited
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Hart, Andrew S.
- ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3274-009X
- Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
- After reading successive drafts and the final version of Recognizing Digitization as a Preservation Reformatting Method, I am troubled by a dissonance between the title and the actual messages of this document. Much more than “recognizing,” the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Preservation of Library Materials Committee “endorses digitization as an accepted preservation reformatting option for a range of materials.” Yet, the Committee does not adequately address concerns about preservation implications inherent to digital reformatting – concerns that have been a frequent topic of discussion within the profession over the past decade. This is not to say that digitization has no role in preservation but rather to say its role is too easily misunderstood. I believe ARL would better serve its membership and the field in general by exploring more systematically the conditions under which digitization is a plausible preservation strategy, describing the ongoing costs and risks in greater detail, and articulating more clearly the relationships between digitization for the purpose of preservation and digitization for other reasons.
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