Area studies and policy research in the global North depend heavily upon access to manuscripts, newspapers, and other types of documentation from the various world regions. While much of this documentation is preserved and maintained by libraries and archives in the source communities, microfilming and digitization of those materials for scholars in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe often generate few benefits for those custodial institutions and their societies. Ironically, this approach creates little incentive for libraries and archives in the South to share and disclose their patrimony at a time when digital technology offers great potential for global accessibility.
On June 25, CRL Global Resources hosted a forum to focus the expertise of CRL cooperative program participants on this problem. The forum brought together the chairs of CRL area studies programs and Global Resources projects along with other invited participants to identify new approaches to surmount this challenge.
The meeting featured the following:
- Thoughts on the North-South exchange of cultural information and documentation (Peter Lor, Visiting Professor, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, former IFLA Secretary-General) Presentation slides
- Traditional models of archives and cultural evidence preservation (James Simon, CRL)
An overview of the issues and challenges that traditional microfilm preservation and digitization programs encounter.
- Some alternative models: some recent approaches adopted in the field of cultural heritage preservation, including (but not limited to):
- British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme
- eGranary Digital Library (Cliff Missen, Director of The WiderNet Project)
- Digital Library of the Caribbean (Gayle Williams, Latin American & Caribbean Information Services Librarian, Florida International University)
- University of Texas Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative (Fred Heath, Vice Provost and Director of the University of Texas Libraries)
- Relevant models from the fields of science and economic development (Bernie Reilly, CRL)
Approaches adopted by scientific consortia and international development efforts to create sustainable resources and infrastructure: incentive systems, barter, fair trade, microfinance, and social business development.
- Brainstorming on incentives and fair terms of exchange
- Summary and conclusions
Attendance at this event is limited to invited participants, due to space considerations. CRL members are encouraged to contact James Simon for more information.