Digital Knowledge and Print Preservation: Future Possibilities for Remote Storage

J.P. McCarthy
InSITE 2003  •  Volume 3  •  2003
The aim of this paper is to consider some possible directions for the future development of our library cum remote storage facility at University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland and the impact of digital knowledge products on such a future. It is an exercise in crystal ball gazing. The paper attempts to explore an emerging intellectual landscape, one no longer bound by the implications of the physical storage of printed knowledge and it considers what the long term implications might be. It does this by seeking to frame questions about the unknown, about answers as yet to emerge out of what is known through past experience gained in a print technology culture. It questions possible futures for print collections. It questions what are the implications for the future storage of knowledge if we abandon print technology as a storage medium. The paper is in three parts beginning with a stage setting exercise which profiles what currently exists and which gestures towards a vision of what might be. This is followed by a questioning of the challenges and pathways which implementing change might imply. The paper concludes with some reflections. Its core theme is the possibilities remote storage could offer in the transition from print based to digital libraries. For the purposes of this paper the word digital is loosely defined to mean existence in electronic form and either created in that form or imaged from printed media. Knowledge is defined as information to which some form of intellectual modeling has been applied such as the added value of scholarship or wisdom. By print preservation, I mean preserving book collections not simply because they may carry texts which are not reproduced elsewhere in electronic from. But, because the libraries created from these collections, store and transmit knowledge to us in their own distinctive way and this is something which I believe should be preserved.
Storage facility, preservation, digital library, depository, special collections, digital knowledge environment, life cycle, intellectual landscape.
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