Re: preservation vs. Preservation

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2006 16:02:04 -0500

On 6-Mar-06, at 3:02 PM, wrote:

> Stevan, I self-archive to ensure my articles are widely read now
> FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE. The former without the latter is just
> nonsensical.

Charles, we are talking at cross-purposes. The small-p preservation
that I said OA Archives of course provide already is what ensures
that the OA continues into the foreseeable future. The problem, to
repeat, is not preservation, but presence (or rather absence) of 85%
of the target content. That 85% will not be deposited if the
ostensible reason for depositing is Preservation! Nor will it be
deposited if we complicate the deposit process with needless extra
steps (like the permission/licensing stuff you recommended). Remember
that when depositing is *not* being done, the way to induce it is not
with spurious rationales for doing it ("Preservation"); nor with
increasing (rather than decreasing) the weight of what actually needs
to be done.

But of course the best inducement will be institutional and research
funder mandates; once those are in place, all this palaver about
archiving for Preservation will be mercifully moot (and all will be
safely preserved, migrated, etc.).


> Charles
> Quoting Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>:
>>> it... seems to make little sense to go to the effort of making
>>> information accessible NOW when it could theoretically be
>>> inaccessible
>>> 24 hours from NOW or even 3 years from NOW...
>> Please refer to Steve Hitchcock's posting about PRESERV.
> scientist-open-access-forum&D=1&O=D&F=l&P=14808
>> As I said from the outset, Eprints and OA are of course (quite
>> naturally
>> and without fanfare) attending to small-p preservation (as has Arxiv,
>> since its inception in 1991, and CogPrints since its inception in
>> 1997
>> -- note that all their contents are still here, with us, in 2006, in
>> continuous use, again without any fanfare about large-P
>> Preservation).
>> But Preservation is not why they were self-archived!
>> The point is simple: Preservation is *not* the reason researchers
>> self-archive their postprints, which are final, refereed drafts of
>> their published articles. Maximising their accessibility and their
>> impact is the reason researchers self-archive their postprints. It
>> is not those self-archived supplements that require the large-P
>> Preservation, it is the published originals.
>> If researchers self-archive at all, they do not do it in order to
>> Preserve
>> their articles; they do it in order to increase their article's usage
>> and impact. And only 15% of researchers as yet self-archive. The goal
>> of OA is to raise that to 15% to 100%. Neither the silly
>> suggestion that
>> authors should self-archive in order to Preserve their articles --
>> nor
>> any
>> extra work or complications anyone foolishly adds to the self-
>> archiving
>> procedure (such as it is, for example, in Eprints IRs today) in the
>> interests of Preservation -- will do anything to help raise that 15%
>> to 100%: On the contrary, a bad reason for self-archiving and
>> needless
>> extra work in self-archiving will only deter self-archiving. And
>> neglect
>> of OA for other archiving priorities (e.g., Digital Preservation) are
>> the worst.
>> At the same time, articles in OA IRs *are* being small-p
>> preserved, as
>> noted. So that's not a substantive issue either.
>> The only substantive issue is how to fill OA IRs with 100% of
>> institutional OA article output, as soon as possible. (It's already
>> vastly overdue and substantial research impact and progress continue
>> to be needlessly lost till it happens.)
>> I have listed many heroic librarians who understand this fully, and
>> have been at the forefront of OA efforts and success (e.g., Paula
>> Callan, Helene Bosc, Eloy Rodrigues, Derek Law, Susanna Mornati,
>> and many, many others). But there are also many in the library
>> community
>> who are ignorant of or indifferent to OA, and have other ideas about
>> what to do with IRs. Several are discussed in Richard Poynder's
>> insightful analysis. And it is a parting of ways with them that
>> Richard was proposing to the OA movement (and he may well be right).
> little.html
>> Stevan Harnad
>>> Hi John,
>>>> All this has nothing to do with making
>>>> information accessible NOW. You have failed to distinguish between
>> present
>>>> and future accessibility.
>>> The point I was making is that the differentiation between 'present'
>> and
>>> 'future' accessibility is bogus - there no longer is any real
>> difference.
>>> And if there is no longer a difference, then the proponents of
>>> present
>>> accessibility should probably be considering future accessibility
>>> as a
>>> matter of course.
>>> I'm sure most will continue to treat such matters as 'a horses for
>> courses'
>>> situation, like you say. However, it just seems to make little
>>> sense
>> to go
>>> to the effort of making information accessible NOW when it could
>>> theoretically be inaccessible 24 hours from NOW or even 3 years from
>> NOW -
>>> and when some simple technical and administrative measures could
>>> have
>> been
>>> taken to prevent any consequent inaccessibility. It is also
>>> appears to
>> be
>>> inconsistent with Stevan Harnad's definition of 'immediate access',
>> which
>>> suggests that information be accessible "today, tomorrow and into
>>> the
>>> future".
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: J.W.T.Smith []
>>>> Sent: 03 March 2006 17:29
>>>> Subject: Re: preservation vs. Preservation
>>>> Comments below.
>>>>> John,
>>>>>> Preservation and access are two different things.
>>>>> I have to disagree. Preservation is inextricably linked with
>> access.
>>>>> To state that 'preservation and access are two totally different
>> things'
>>>> is
>>>>> - I find - a common misconception.
>>>> I don't suffer from common misconceptions, but I am sometimes
>>>> misunderstood.
>>>>> Preservation (with a capital P) is not
>>>>> merely about preserving digital objects for posterity as an end in
>>>> itself
>>>>> (which is, of course, important); it is about preserving the
>> digital
>>>>> integrity of the object(s) so as to ensure it remains *accessible*
>> ad
>>>>> infinitum.
>>>>> Robust Preservation strategies always ensure sufficient
>> administrative
>>>>> metadata (technical metadata, rights metadata, etc.) is recorded
>> because
>>>>> without it, user access can theoretically be jeopardised at *any*
>> point
>>>> in
>>>>> the future. The rate of technical and software obsolesce is such
>> that
>>>>> deposits made to IRs today could - theoretically - be inaccessible
>> in
>>>> five
>>>>> years. Preservation is no longer some triviality that can be
>> addressed
>>>> far,
>>>>> far in the future my 'someone else'. IR administrators /
>>>>> libraries
>> have
>>>> to
>>>>> be in a position to regularly migrate or refresh materials to
>> preserve
>>>>> continued user access. Their ability to do so is predicated on
>>>> preparing
>>>>> suitable Preservation strategies.
>>>>> Thus, to suggest that Preservation entails 'limiting' or
>> 'screening'
>>>> access
>>>>> is - in my opinion - to entirely misinterpret the purpose of
>> digital
>>>>> preservation. If efforts at attaining '100% OA via 100%
>> self-archiving'
>>>> are
>>>>> not to be in vain, the need for Preservation (with a capital P!)
>> should
>>>> not
>>>>> be pooh-poohed.
>>>> I did not "pooh-pooh" anything. What you say is true but it is not
>>>> relevant to what I wrote. All this has nothing to do with making
>>>> information accessible NOW. You have failed to distinguish between
>> present
>>>> and future accessibility.
>>>> To clarify, for the here and now, I believe Preservation is not the
>> same
>>>> thing as making accessible and those whose main interest is
>> accessibility
>>>> NOW should not spend too much time on worrying about Preservation.
>> Now [at
>>>> this time, currently] PDF is an excellent way of making information
>>>> available, but I would not suggest it as a preservation format.
>>>> Since
>>>> there has been a prevalence for poor quality metaphors/analogies in
>> this
>>>> discussion I could say this is a horses for courses situation.
>>>> Regards,
>>>> John Smith.
Received on Mon Mar 06 2006 - 22:09:32 GMT

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