Table of contents(15 chapters)
© 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
As I make my last contribution as editor of Advances in Librarianship, I would like to say a few words about my twelve years’ experience with this annual. My tenure has greatly enriched my life both professionally and personally. My first association with Advances goes back to 1980 when I was asked to submit an article on library materials budgeting for volume 10. Later, in 1992 I joined Advances as a member of its editorial advisory board. At that time, Irene Godden (Colorado State) edited the volume. I owe her a great debt for her counseling and guidance. After Godden resigned in 1998, I took over as co-editor of Advances and from 2001 (volume 25) I have been its sole editor. Through all these years, I truly enjoyed working with my colleagues on the editorial board and with the many prominent librarians whose papers appeared in Advances. I am especially grateful to Nancy Allen (University of Denver), G. Edward Evans (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles), and Mary Jean Pavelsek (NYU), longtime editorial board members, who constantly provided encouragement and support. As editor I worked closely with the publishing staff, first at Academic and later Elsevier. I would like to single out both Marvin Yelles (Academic) and Christopher Pringle (Elsevier) and their assistants, Naomi Henning and Julie Neden, for their excellent work in turning manuscripts into the fine finished books that the reader sees.
RLG is a not-for-profit international alliance of about 160 members, including universities and colleges, national and public research libraries, archives, historical societies, museums, and independent research collections devoted to improving access to information that supports research and learning. Founded in 1974 as the Research Libraries Group by four visionary library directors from Columbia, Harvard and Yale universities and the New York Public Library, the consortium formed to allow research institutions to tackle tough challenges via collaborative action. Key issues were managing the transition from locally self-sufficient and independently comprehensive collections to a system of interdependencies that would preserve and enhance the capacity for research in all fields of knowledge and improving the ability to locate and retrieve relevant research resources (RLG, 1986). At its inception, four activity areas were identified for collaborative action: cooperative bibliographic control and access; effective mechanisms for sharing information and resources among member institutions; expanded and coordinated collection development efforts; and preservation of the collections, either in the original or surrogate format.
On August 26, 1971, OCLC introduced the online union catalog and shared cataloging system. During the 1970s, OCLC focused its efforts on creating and expanding the online cataloging system and telecommunications network. It added an online interlibrary loan system in 1979. In the 1980s, OCLC began adapting distributed computing and microcomputing technologies as its product and service lines expanded to some 60 offerings. The organization also began looking at ways to move beyond bibliography by furnishing information not only to library staffs, but also to library patrons. In the 1990s, OCLC launched a new core business in reference services. (Smith, 1998, pp. 251–252). Now, in the 21st century, OCLC is introducing tools, services and infrastructure to manage the life cycle of digital content in libraries.
Moving images represent a category of material which has historically received short shrift in most libraries and archives. Film, video, and now digital images form a significant part of many library and archival collections, however, and can be found in many formats and genres. Despite the ubiquity of such media in cultural institutions, the majority of libraries and archives owning collections of moving images have neglected these holdings—with the specific exception of those few archives devoted primarily to the care and preservation of moving images.
The simplest part of sound preservation involves technology and its application. The real complexities lie in a mix of social legal, and financial issues. The social issues include how archivists, curators, librarians, historians, or anyone with limited engineering, computing, and other technical training can evaluate competing claims and risks. The legal issues include copyright and the risks that an institution may choose to take about what constitutes fair use and preservation copying. The financial issues include how much of what quality of preservation an institution can afford, and for how many of the items in its collection.
Preservation activities have existed in libraries since the early days of librarianship, but these efforts were mostly decentralized and buried in the work of many different departments. Not until the 1970s did library organizations begin to add preservation to organizational charts on a departmental or middle management level, along with its new administrative costs. At that time, libraries were struggling with early efforts at automation and the many changes it would bring to their organizations. Preservation department functions, formerly decentralized from an administrative and budgetary standpoint under the headings of commercial binding, book repair, special collections, or circulation, were now identified as a budget line forced to compete for funds with newly formed library systems departments as well as other traditional library functions. This was particularly difficult given that a large portion of the costs of a comprehensive preservation department were new and additive (Fasana and Baker, 1992, p. 132), yet provided few immediately evident benefits. A burgeoning library systems unit could place libraries on the cutting edge of technology; automated card catalogs could improve productivity and efficiency for staff, and also provide for better patron access to collections. Needless to say, systems departments were much better funded than preservation units at this time.
Library storage is traditionally viewed as a space management strategy, a way of dealing with overcrowded buildings and growing collections. Storage also is implicitly a preservation strategy: an alternative to weeding, cramming books tightly on shelves, stacking them on the floor, or not purchasing them in the first place. Among its obvious preservation benefits, storage provides security from theft and vandalism, and protection from spills and pests caused by increasingly prevalent food and drink in library buildings. Although transfer to storage may be risky for fragile materials, leaving them in stacks that are constantly being shifted is likely to be more damaging. Many storage facilities provide better environmental conditions for collections than old or poorly maintained modern library buildings.
The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is a very significant program and is worth defending. Unique in its purpose to keep citizens informed of the workings of government, the Government Printing Office (GPO), along with the network of Federal Depository Libraries, provides access to information that helps keep our democracy open and accountable. Threats to this program have surfaced over the years, with political justifications ranging from budget woes to separation of powers to technology.
Founded by Peter the Great in 1714, the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences (BAN—Biblioteka Akademii Nauk) is the first library of Russia open to the public. At present it is the main scientific library of the Russian Academy of Sciences and due to the size and value of its collections, BAN is among the greatest libraries of the world including the Library of Congress (USA), the Russian State Library and the Russian National Library. Since 1783, it has received depository copies of all published works in the country.
Come, Madam But I don't have my shoes on. Come, Madam.