Preservation Pending: The Future of E-book Access in the Digital Age

Goertzen, Melissa J.; Wolven, Robert Arnold; Carroll, Jeffrey D.

For a very long time human knowledge has been recorded on print media and passed down, or preserved, for future generations. Since the latter half of the Twentieth Century however this human knowledge has been increasingly recorded in digital media. Whether we will be as successful as our predecessors at preserving human knowledge will depend on the steps we take now to identify and address the risks and threats when knowledge is stored in digital form. This report will focus specifically on e-books as a subset of all digital media. In some respects we are lucky in that the conversation surrounding the risks and threats to journal literature as it passed from print to digital has been going on for more than two decades, and some promising models and ideas have emerged. On the other hand e-books present problems that differ from those on the journal side and which will need to be addressed from scratch, as it were, with no prior models on which to build. Nor will this report provide ready answers. Rather, by bringing the conversation here we are throwing down the gauntlet and challenging all members of the information ecosystem to think seriously about the issues and to take the steps necessary to work toward a solution that is of mutual benefit to us all.


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Library and Book Trade Almanac
Information Today, Inc.

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April 18, 2019