RE: e-books and heritage

Subject: RE: e-books and heritage
From: Emru Townsend <etownsen -at- Softimage -dot- com>
To: "'techwrl'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 13:47:26 -0500

Funny, I see it the other way. E-books will make it *easier* for me to have
*more*. As a packra-- er, archivist, space is my biggest enemy when it
comes to reading material and its accessibility. (This said a month after I
moved the bookshelves from one room in the house to another and discovered
that I'll be running out of shelf space before summer).

As for heritage -- heritage is only preserved by those who want to preserve
it, as you point out (in the bit I snipped out for space). Think of the
many people who preserved their heritage with little more than an oral
history -- the story is the essential element, not what it's bound in.

To attempt to steer this toward some relevance to this forum, I don't know
if data migration is really such an obstacle. As someone who has moved a
formidable graphics & document archive from 5.25" floppies to 3.5" floppies
(double, then high density) to EZ-135 to Zip to SparQ to CD-RW across four
or five different platforms, I can testify that it's not really that hard,
especially since interoperability and backward-compatibility are seen as
assets when these new media come out.

In fact, I'd say that digital media makes passing things down easier, rather
than harder. My kids might not be able to read my old comic books, because
the pages are yellow and brittle. But they'll be able to flip through my
archive of scanned comic strips, because I can always convert them to the
latest and greatest media and/or graphics format. If it's especially
valuable, I can just back up the backup.

Emru Townsend, Information Developer | etownsen -at- softimage -dot- com
Softimage, Inc.
Personal Web site:
Recent musings:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: PHILA -at- Mail -dot- VIPS -dot- com [mailto:PHILA -at- Mail -dot- VIPS -dot- com]
> The idea of an evolving paperless library raises a number of troubling
> considerations in my mind...
> --Data degradation
> --Archival requirements
> --Technological obsolescence
> --Cost of conversion or upgrade
> **Books *not* made available in this format
> As an ex-librarian, I'll confess: my personal library could
> use a reduction
> in size. But I'm not willing to trade my groaning bookshelves
> for technology
> that my grandchildren might not be able to use. Nor am I
> willing to deprive
> them of the feeling of continuity gained by reading, for
> example, the same
> well-thumbed poetry book that their mother, grandmother, and
> great-great-aunt, spidery marginal scribbles,
> yellowing
> bookplate and all.

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