This issue of FOCUS is a report on the recent Global Resources Roundtable “Beyond the Fold: Access to News in the Digital Era.” Digital technology has profoundly altered the way news is produced and distributed, rendering traditional library strategies for ensuring the survival of this critical form of historical evidence obsolete. As mobile and web technologies become the primary channels for news distribution, and electronic databases supplant print and microfilm, the role that libraries play in supporting scholarly access to news is changing.
On Thursday, June 27, in conjunction with the ALA Annual Meeting in Chicago, CRL provided an opportunity for collection development and subject specialists from CRL libraries to explore current publishing practices and new scholarly uses of news content and to help formulate cooperative library strategies to support those uses. This report provides a capsule summary of the day’s discussions and presentations, and the outline of a new agenda for carrying CRL’s news preservation work forward.
The research library sector is uniquely positioned to play an impartial and informed role in ensuring the survival of critical documentation. Historically, CRL has taken a leading role in North America to preserve news for advanced research. Today, with the decline in government support for national libraries and funding agencies, it is incumbent upon the research libraries to step into the breach. Over the past three years CRL has concentrated major new resources on this challenge. The discussions and presentations at the roundtable produced a new blueprint for CRL’s activity in this realm in the years ahead.