Review: Conserving for the Future by Archiving our Past

Review: Conserving for the Future by Archiving our Past; A Story about Technology and Digitization Informed by a Vintage Paperback Book Collection
By Cybèle Werts

Ideas cannot by definition become an object that actually smells like it was read long ago by a girl on a porch swing one late autumn evening. ~Cybele Werts

In the article, Conserving for the Future by Archiving our Past, author Cybèle Werts discusses the digitization process in a clear and simple language that has reinforced my understanding of the processes and the class. This essay is a well rounded explanation of the digitization process, but takes direct note to question what the loss is when a specific piece of ephemera or artifact  gets scanned and processed.

The author details the entire digitization process using vintage magazines and paperback books as an example– his own collection. Dealing with issues such authenticity and provenance and that which is lost in the process. The essay is exemplar for those working with a small collection or their own personal collection.

He continues on into detail about the collection and its worth as project, and one would determine that. Werts give concrete basic examples on how to care and conserve a collection. He also provides a look at various options one could take when attempting a digitization project, showing how options and exceptions will need to made due to a variety constraints, such as budget, time, technology, copyright.

One example is that of The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) attempt to establish provenance and authenticity by recommending 1) a digital signature, 2) the use of validation icons, and 3) the implementation of the “National Institute of Standards and Technology Electronic Authentication Guidelines.”

Though, in the end Werts makes full circle– coming back to the idea of the book. It is not just the visual, it is the experience, the feel, the smell, the way the page feels between your fingers that is getting lost within the digitization process.

References

Werts, C. (2010). Conserving for the Future by Archiving our Past; A Story about Technology and Digitization Informed by a Vintage Paperback Book Collection. Education Libraries, 33(2), 47-58. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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