Digital technology has revolutionized the very nature of scientific and historical evidence. Today’s research data exist in many electronic forms, such as news Web sites, computer models of chemical compounds, and public opinion data sets. These new types of evidence defy the traditional ways libraries and archives have preserved information--putting much historical and scientific evidence at risk.

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is engaged in a series of case studies, funded by the National Science Foundation, to examine the longevity of digital resources. The case studies investigate the conditions that help digital content last for substantial periods of time, as well as the factors that threaten the survival of digital knowledge.

To obtain scholarly input on these studies, CRL will hold a series of brief online forums for researchers in the fields of history, social sciences, and chemistry. CRL seeks forum participation from scholars who depend on traditional or electronic source materials. The forums will focus on three major types of research materials: electronic news, social science data, and chemical information.

Each Webcast will:

  • survey new and emerging forms of evidence and documentation
  • profile major organizations that produce and maintain this evidence, and
  • outline the challenges for preservation.

CRL will then survey scholarly participants on how well its findings reflect and address their own concerns and research needs.

The brief (22.5-minute) online forums will run three times.