2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 192-10
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


MUSSER, Linda R., Fletcher L. Byrom Earth & Mineral Sciences Library, Pennsylvania State Univ, 105 Deike Building, University Park, PA 16802

We live in a digital age, where most of our communications occur via electronic means such as email, web documents, digital photos, videos and other electronic streams. Even the copy of record for most research journals is the electronic form. Preserving access to digital materials is a huge challenge, however. A 2013 study by Zittrain, Albert and Lessig titled “Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations” ((http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2329161) found that more than 70% of the URLs in journals no longer worked, a syndrome commonly known as link rot. Many solutions have been proposed to combat link rot for the scholarly literature but what about the vast information universe contained in online newsletters, blogs and social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest? Some well-known attempts to capture such materials include the Internet Archive and tools such as Google’s option to display cached versions of webpages. These efforts are not only limited in scope, their criteria for inclusion if often unclear. Mostly absent from the preservation process are librarians and other information professions with expertise in selecting materials to preserve and with organizing collections for later use. This paper will discuss the role of the information professional in facilitating the preservation of these ever evolving, ephemeral resources for future generations, with specifics drawn from an endeavor to capture and preserve resources related to the Marcellus shale play in Pennsylvania. Examples of other thematic archives of digital materials and the tools available to build them will also be provided.