Preserving the artifact
AAllan at AOL.COM
AAllan at AOL.COM
Sat Dec 11 14:53:36 UTC 1999
Artifacts (field records, tapes, etc) abound in dialect investigations. Below
is a message that just arrived from a task force on artifacts. Should ADS pay
to have copies of this report sent to all members? Or should ADS buy perhaps
100 of them, and offer to any interested member? Or just make the fact of
publication known to members, and let them buy or download copies?
I incline toward the latter, but will be happy to go with the will of the
people. If it's the first or the second option, the expense would need
approval of the ADS executive council. - Allan Metcalf
This is a brief report on work in progress and a request for some
You may recall that a couple of years ago the Modern Language Association
(MLA), the American Historical Association (AHA), and the Association of
Research Libraries (ARL) formed a task force to examine the issues related
to the preservation of primary records or "the artifact". (The list of
organizations represented on the task force is included below.) These
discussions grew out of the Statement on the Significance of Primary
Records issued by MLA in 1995.
The task force met several times and concluded that while libraries had
developed a variety of effective mechanisms to preserve printed materials
there would never be enough money to save all physical objects or to
meet the all identified interests and needs of scholars. Moreover,
the advent of new formats (film, video, digital information) created new
technological and additional financial challenges for preservation
The task force concluded that informing scholars of the history of library
preservation activities and these new challenges would be the most
effective way of engaging them in a dialogue with librarians to ensure
that limited preservation funds were spent wisely. Thus, the task force
recommended the commissioning of a document that could be used with
scholars and, in addition, with major funding agencies.
We are pleased to report that the document "Ensuring the Preservation of
Knowledge" written by Jutta Reed-Scott, former Preservation Program
Officer with the Association of Research Libraries, is about to be
The initial plan is to print enough copies (@7,500) to send to the
following groups: the Provosts of 4 year institutions, key Congressional
staff, major funding agencies, the CAO's of ACLS organizations, the higher
education and library organizations, members of the task force, etc.
The MLA, AHA, and ARL will split the cost of printing this first 7,500.
We would like to ask all of the ACLS organizations, however, to help us in
reaching the broad intended audience of scholars by distributing the work
to your members.
To facilitate this mass distribution, we would like to offer these two
1. Print copies can be ordered for $1.15 per copy; or
2. We can make electronic files available which you can incorporate into
your organization's journal or newsletter (the document is approximately
6,600 words or 16 double-columned pages).
Could you please let me know if you would use either or both of these
options (see form below). We will use this information in deciding on the
initial print run and the formatting of electronic files.
If you would like to view the text of the document before deciding, it
is currently available at
The text is undergoing final copy-editing, so this is NOT the final
version and should not be distributed.
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