The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 20, Number 6
Nov 1996


CPA Preservation Science Council Draws up New Research Agenda

From The Commission on Preservation and Access Newsletter, No. 92, Sept. 1996, p. 1-2.

The economics of information preservation and the management of storage environments received top attention in a new research agenda outlined by the Commission's Preservation Science Council (PSC). In a meeting July 31 - August 2 at Belmont Conference Center, MD, the Council reached unanimous agreement on six projects to advance the understanding and practice of preservation in libraries, archives, and other institutions responsible for collections of scholarly and cultural value. Preservation administrators from 15 major university libraries, research centers, and archives, together with five scientists, selected the new agenda from a number of suggested projects that would either further advance previous PSC work or introduce new, needed research.

In developing a research agenda for preservation of existing collections-paper, film, magnetic, and other formats-the PSC links scientific research with preservation administration concerns in order to produce final products that are grounded in scientific validity, meaningful in preservation practice, and useful as management tools.

This year's work was considered in a new light: the redefinition of the PSC's role within a broad context of larger digital and economic issues. Each recommended project addresses a different aspect of preservation and access concerns. However, each project also was chosen for its ability to contribute to a growing body of knowledge that enable preservation administrators to serve as managers of information resources. The PSC's objective was to frame a research agenda that will help institutions to cost-effectively preserve information in all formats.

Other filters in deciding projects for the agenda were:

The identified projects address:

Work groups composed of at least one scientist and several preservation administrators will develop full project descriptions over the next several weeks. The projects and other results will be announced later this year. PSC work is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Preservation Science Research initiative began in 1989, and a first research agenda was announced in 1993.

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