Preserving news is an important CRL activity. Researchers at North American universities rely heavily on CRL’s vast collections of newspapers from all parts of the world for information on important events, viewpoints, trends, and accomplishments. CRL is now exploring ways to continue to ensure scholarly access to the news record as news reporting “migrates” from paper to electronic form. This may entail working with aggregators to extend the life of electronic news that they maintain, rather than independently creating archives specifically for historical purposes. Although their products are designed primarily for users in the legal and information fields, NewsBank and LexisNexis add useful functionality and value to the news they assemble.
To evaluate the potential for exploiting the aggregators’ work for preservation purposes, CRL commissioned Victoria McCargar to undertake analyses of NewsBank and LexisNexis. McCargar has written extensively on the challenges of preserving electronic news and news archives, on the basis of considerable experience and original research in the news business. Her profiles of the two organizations are available as PDF files in the Preservation section of CRL’s Web site.
In her analysis McCargar drew upon the criteria for the certification of trusted digital repositories developed by the RLG-NARA Digital Repository Certification Task Force. The profiles provide the organizational and financial context for the NewsBank and LexisNexis aggregating activities, and identify areas in which each organization fulfills archiving functions and areas in which they fall short of meeting preservation needs.
It must be stressed that neither of the two organizations considers itself to be in the business of preservation. Nonetheless McCargar’s analysis suggests that library preservation efforts may well be able to benefit from these organizations.