This paper aims to use two case studies of digital archives designed by library and information professionals and historians to highlight the twin issues of academic authenticity and accuracy of digital representations.
Using secondary literature, the author established a hypothesis about the way in which academic researchers engage with electronic texts. It is argued that academics are often distrustful of the authenticity of much that appears in digital form and doubtful as to its accuracy. The case studies are used as a means to demonstrate the measures that library and information professionals can take to assuage these concerns.
Given reasonable financial resources and staff, it is relatively easy to adopt a transparently academic approach. Accuracy is much more problematic, and is often compromised by the unwieldy nature of these types of projects.
Most evaluations of digitisation projects have not focused on the issues of academic authenticity and textual accuracy; indeed, the latter is difficult to gauge when the ASCII text is hidden and where there is little incentive for designers to be honest about the potential flaws in their search engines. Also, there has been little discussion in academic literature on the distribution of staff and financial resources within projects.
White, A. (2005), "The development of digital resources by library and information professionals and historians: Two case studies from Northern Ireland", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 324-336. https://doi.org/10.1108/00330330510627944Download as .RIS
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