RE: [-empyre-] Thank you to our archiving guests

Dear Empyreans 

Thank you to all, and especially to Melinda, for the opportunity to
participate in this robust discussion about the many issues surrounding
the acquisition and preservation of digital heritage.  The task we have
set ourselves at the National Library to collect and preserve Asutralian
online publications and web sites is complex enough, but the messages to
this list in the past month have indicated that in some ways it is even
more complex than we had thought.  

A couple of years ago, we had discussions in a series of meetings here
at the National Library of Australia about the 'sigificant properties'
of digital works.  To understand these fully it was apparent, especially
in the case of a creative work, that the creator's intentions and wants
in relation to the work are an essential component of the significant
properties.  We had no understanding what the creator's position might
be and therefore lacked crucial information about what was important in
rendering the work in the future when the hardware and software used to
create it is no longer available.

The discussion we have had here in the past month has been important for
me in opening up some understanding of the creator's perspective, not in
relation to individual works that we have in PANDORA, but in general.
For instance, working in a profession which values highly the notion of
preserving for future generations, it was illuminating for me to read
that some creators might not want their works preserved at all, because
they are intentionally transient and ephemeral. They are not meant to be
solidified by being captured in a moment of time and kept in an archive.
Since we seek the permission of the creator/publisher before we archive
titles in PANDORA, this presumably does not apply to any of the works in

This discussion then has been very valuable in facilitating the exchange
of ideas and opinions between creators and librarians/archivists,
between pragmatic practitioners and theorists and academics.

Many thanks again, Melinda, and best wishes to all


Margaret E Phillips
Director Digital Archiving
National Library of Australia
phone: + 61 2 6262 1140
fax: + 61 2 6273 4322 

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