Preservation of Historical Records 1986

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frames it through information overload: previously historians had little information but what documents they had were "durable" -- "REsisting detorioration, they came down through the centuries intact, many being almost as legible as when written or printed." -- preserving was "comparatively simple task" -- but 20th-century conditions "reverse those of the past"; many more records but "the materials themselves are fragile"

first image is picture of sculpture at National Archives, "What's past is prologue"; then image of building entrance

recommendations: use archival-quality paper; use standards where they exist, develop standards where they don't (magnetic tape or optical disks); recomends against mass deacidification program

National Archives and Records Service holds over "3 billion pieces of paper" -- half a billion at "very high risk of being lost", especially stencil, Mimeograph, and Thermofax reproductions from 40s, 50s, 60s

about 75% of documents don't need to be preserved in originals -- no loss of information

case study in how books are material; how they age differently in different environmental conditions -- chemicals in paper, textile, leather respond differently to different pollutants, humidity

problem of hardware changing every 10-20 years for digital formats; "The inescapable conclusion is that, if a long-term archive presserves records in machine-readable form, it will be committed eternally to file conversiaon (i.e. rerecording the old obsolte versions into the new current format) approximately every 10-20 years."

data might still exist but way of accessing data disappears