> On Tue, 30 Jan 2001, Judith Edminster (ENG) wrote:
> Here is one doctoral student's view of the
> preservation/access issue:
Judith thank you for your views on the issue.
> > The purpose of preservation is to enable access. Preservation which
> > constrains access subverts its own purpose.
I must disagree. It's more than that. It's to enable access now and
for many years to come. Plus, the price of easy access today might
be the lack of access to future generations. You seem to believe having it
for the now is important, while keeping it for tomorrow to be unimportant.
> Two print copies of a single dissertation filed in a single university
> library--one to loan (to ONE researcher at a time) and one to
> retain--do not constitute reasonable access. ETDs can and have been
> accessed thousands of times by researchers who can do so SIMULTANEOUSLY
> from anywhere in the world.
Here we have two printed copies, one in the deparmental library and the
other in the archives. I agree that ETDs will help improve access and
that thousands can access it SIMULTANEOUSLY. To keep E/Ts in an
electronic format is a good thing. Many seem to promote the strawman
argument that I oppose ETD as a fallacious technique of argumentation. My
problem is with having _only_ in Electronic Format with mircofilm back up.
> What is the point of preserving a document which will not be read
> precisely BECAUSE of the constraints of the medium in which we require
> it to be preserved? Where is the logic in this?
I do not know if your dissertation will be read now or not. I do not know
if your dissertation will ever be read. That will be determined by the
quality, not the format of your thesis as valued by the academic free
market not by me as an archivist. I assume that you have something worth
saying that people today want to read it and that many years from now
someone else might want to read it. In just accepting your thesis in
Electronic Format, I cannot ensure that your dissertation will be around
to be read at that future date.
> Knowledge does not have a medium in which it prefers to be
> described. Requiring students to present research as text IN ADDITION to
> any other form of representation they have chosen to use is prohibitive.
> Why should we as innovators be compelled to do twice the amount of work
> as those who choose the traditional method of representation? Even if
> those who continue to argue for preservation for its own sake were to
> carry the
> day, shouldn't we as the creators and producers of the research have the
> right to choose the medium for its preservation? It's OUR work.
A Ph.D. is not just your work. It is what you are presenting under
University guidelines for them to give you a degree. Thus it is the
University's right to decide the format it requires. The whole process
(years of work, cost, and more) is burdensome but one freely accepted by
the student. The Archivist, must make the best DECISION within
University guidelines to promote the University's goals of free access to
the work produced under its auspices. The archivist will take into account
time, money, efforts to migrate, preservation, ease of access. It is
also untenable that some automated process also put out a hardcopy version
of a thesis would account for "twice" the effort.
> My dissertation is planned as a native hypertext. Transferring native
> hypertext to print does not preserve it--it DESTROYS it. Such a
> cannot even be read, let alone made sense of.
And you're certain that your representation of 'native hypertext' will be
forever popular, easily accessed and decoded? Just like Betamax video
> he ways in which we represent what we know are changing--changing
> knowledge itself.
> Those of us experimenting with the representation of academic research
> in new forms will shape this change, despite resistance.
I hope that all the concepts of ETD that people are sending to the list
are true. That all the information over the next 100 years will be
migrated at every advancement in technology easily and cheaply.
That said, Yyu are rushing in without really knowing the ramifications.
Had librarians/archivists had these beliefs toward information
much more would have been lost over the centuries. And had
that been the case, it is my belief that you would be complaining
vociferously about not hving access to the tools and information you need.
Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated to ETDs.
> The future is on OUR side.
Maybe. Then again, future researchers just might be cursing your name
Librarian Assistant V
Special Collections, Archives and Thesis Deposit