Do We Want to Keep Our Newspapers?

Mark Shelton (Brown University)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 1 June 2004




Shelton, M. (2004), "Do We Want to Keep Our Newspapers?", Collection Building, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 102-102.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Do We Want to Keep Our Newspapers? contains a collection of core talks given at a conference of the same name in 2001, but it is significantly different from other conference proceedings. The conference came about in the aftermath of an article written by Nicholson Baker about some of the newspaper archiving policies and practices of the British Library. The first paper gives a broad overview of the issue and provides extensive background on historical newspapers, archival practices in libraries, and indicates why the archiving of newspapers has become a significant topic.

The remaining papers cover a variety of topics surrounding newspapers, and are given by many recognizable people. Nicholson Baker is given the opportunity to express his views on what is happening to historical newspapers, and how and why he reacted to the situation. Karin Wittenborg of the University of Virginia speaks about newspapers in libraries, who should preserve them, and what projects are underway to preserve them. In other papers, one will find out how the Leuven University Library benefited from the British Library giving up runs of various titles, and how the American Antiquarian Society has been successful in building and preserving its own collection of newspapers. Several researchers also speak about how they have used the newspaper collection at Colindale, their feelings for the collection, and their experiences with using microfilmed resources. Finally, the reader is given the chance to hear from the British Library in a paper that responds to the concerns expressed, the Library's stance on newspapers, and the reasoning for the policies in place.

It becomes clear from the papers that the issue of newspapers and microfilming is a passionate topic for many of the speakers. The vast majority of the authors express strong views in their different opinions, often backing them up with personal experiences. Often the talks are very passionate, and the reader will have a feeling of being at the conference as one talk leads into the subject of the next. Since the book does not contain all of the talks given, it makes the reader wonder about the topics covered in the excluded papers. It is an excellent book that will be of interest to all librarians, especially those who have wondered about what to do with those newspapers.

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