Tuesday, November 21, 2006

By sharing we learn what has been lost

Today I felt a little delight and a little disappointment as I tried out some of the newest Refworks features.

I love love love RefGrabIt and the ability to create RSS feeds from RefWorks folders has made me giddy thinking of the possibilities of integrating RSS feeds into our library's website. In my eagerness to create an RSS feed of articles that I can't help but write about on my other blog, I started trolling my library's databases for some past gems. And that's when I noticed that Art Spiegelman's "Drawing Controversy" article was not available online. It's the article that reprints "the danish cartoons". I was horribly worried about this until I realized that at least the Leddy Library still subscribes to the microfilm version of the magazine so present and future researchers will not be shortchanged by the idiosyncrasies of online reprinting rights.

Anyway, this all got me thinking that library consortiums should start designating "library of last resort" status to our collective print serial collections because we can't assume that someone has a copy somewhere. Because sharing responsibility is just as important as sharing resources.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that is a great idea. I think that the idea that digitization is the be all and end all is a bit scary and may be burning our bridges. Many of the early databases didn't carry charts or all of the tables used in the print version of journals. Even more important : a number of articles were lost in the late 90's after a lawsuit by an author (can't remember specifics). Many journals pulled and disappeared articles from databases that hadn't been written by their staff writers or authors that they couldn't come to agreement with because publication in ALL formats hadn't been written into contracts (who knew at that time what a big business it would be), so unless this information has been re-entered, or a print version is out there somewhere, the information is just gone. Talk about the burning of Alexandria.