Pick of the week: ATF 9 March 2010

Basking in the afterglow of Undue Diligence, I’ve been at leisure to catch up on blog postings and email, which both include the always-informative Above the Fold. Here’s my pick for this week.

Publishing: The Revolutionary Future (full article here)

The New York Review of Books   •  March 11, 2010

Crisis at the crossroads. Veteran publisher Jason Epstein offers a wide-ranging discussion of the pros and cons of digitization that draws on his extensive experience in both the hard copy and digital publishing businesses. One tidbit: “That the contents of the world’s great libraries will eventually be accessed practically anywhere at the click of a mouse is not an unmixed blessing. Another click might obliterate these same contents and bring civilization to an end: an overwhelming argument, if one is needed, for physical books in the digital age.”

I have enormous admiration for Mr. Epstein and think his essays always worth attention. In this essay he takes on not only the tumult and change in publishing but worries sensibly about what we call “digital preservation.” In that regard I commend to you the recently-released final report of the NSF Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access titled “Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information.” My colleague, Brian Lavoie, was co-chair of the panel. They’ve delivered a much-needed and incredibly useful report that may unify our expectations and our vocabulary in managing this important responsibility. (Michalko)

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