There is an interesting piece by Katie Hafner in today's NYT arguing that materials left undigitized may be overlooked as the digital record becomes primary.

These Steinbeck artifacts are not the only important pieces of history that are at risk of disappearing or being ignored in the digital age. As more museums and archives become digital domains, and as electronic resources become the main tool for gathering information, items left behind in nondigital form, scholars and archivists say, are in danger of disappearing from the collective cultural memory, potentially leaving our historical fabric riddled with holes. [History, Digitized (and Abridged) - New York Times]

Comments: 3

Mar 12, 2007
Eric Lease Morgan

'Sounds a bit like the microfiche thing. Search. Search. Search. Discover items of interest. Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize. Oops! That one is in microfiche. Ick. I'll pass that one over. Similarly, opps, that one is not digital. I will pass that one over.

Mar 12, 2007
Roy Tennant

I actually sounded this particular warning bell over five years ago. I called it the "Convenience Catastrophe" (the disaster of having our print collections overlooked for the more convenient digital material). But then, I'm no Katie Hafner. ;-)

Mar 16, 2007

Will we liken this to the "rediscovery" one day of print - Indiana Jones type adventurers unearthing ancient artifacts covered in illegible and untranslatable markings? One would hope that for the distance technology has catapulted us in answering unanswered or previously "unanswerable" questions it wouldn't abandon the answers that have already been provided. Surely we've at least learned that.