Stewardship of the Cultural Record: How do we approximate cultural “production”?
As I have outlined earlier, a prerequisite to an effective program of cultural stewardship is making some reasonable estimates about the incremental growth of the cultural record in various genres year by year, and then trying to measure the proportion of that material that is being taken care of by memory organizations. For many classes of material (e.g., books, recorded music, films) this was relatively easy in say 1970, because the means of production were heavily centralized; there were certainly various cases around the margins which were problematic, but they were around the margins. Today, this is not the case. In all of the genres mentioned, and many more, we face very hard problems even defining what represented the universe that might legitimately claim stewardship attention and resources. This session will be an outline of some of these dilemmas and a discussion of how they might be approached in the present day.
This is a bonus Friday Afternoon Information Access Seminar at an earlier time. It is the first of two back-to-back sessions on cultural preservation, and is immediately followed by Stephen Abrams’s presentation The Means Don’t Quantify the Ends: Criteria and Metrics for Evaluating Digital Preservation Success (at the usual time).
Clifford Lynch is the director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) and an adjunct professor at the School of Information. Prior to joining CNI in 1997, Lynch spent eighteen years at the University of California Office of the President, the last ten as director of Library Automation. Lynch is a past president of ASIS&T and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Information Standards Organization.