For the past half-century, CRL and the Library of Congress have played important roles in preserving newspapers for scholarly research. The combined CRL and LC holdings of U.S. and foreign newspapers represent the world’s largest archive of news reporting. With the current ascent of digital media as the locus of news reporting and distribution, however, preserving newspapers will no longer ensure future access to a comprehensive journalistic record.
Devising effective strategies for preserving news in the electronic environment requires an understanding of the “lifecycle” of news content. The 2011 CRL report, Preserving News in the Digital Environment: Mapping the Newspaper Industry in Transition, supported by the Library of Congress Office of Strategic Initiatives, outlines the “lifecycle” of news content. It examines information that is published in newspapers and online, providing an overview of news workflow and production systems. This analysis offers the basis for a rational and effective strategy for libraries to preserve news in electronic formats, whether the contents of newspaper websites or news distributed on the growing number of mobile and personal device platforms and services.
CRL will continue to expand the report and to support its constituent libraries’ development of appropriate preservation and collection strategies, to ensure that researchers continue to have access to what has been called “the first rough draft of history.”