In 2016 the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the Center for Research Libraries funding to develop an “integrated, self-sustaining, international cooperative framework to support area and international studies (AIS) in the humanities and social sciences.” The chief goal of the Global Collections Initiative was to expand electronic access to primary source documentation and data for scholarly research on major world regions like the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia, where the information landscape differs from that in the U.S. and Western Europe. The initial phase of the project focused on one region: Latin America and the Caribbean.
In this issue we report what we learned about the challenges of provisioning scholars in academia and public policy with documentation and data available only in digital form. Jeffrey Garrett shares the findings from his evaluation of the state of web archiving. The third essay discusses persistent threats to the survival and accessibility of digital data and evidence, and suggests some solutions.