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A scholarly archive, in bits and bytes

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2001 - Spring


As more journals move to electronic format and more scholars access information using these online databases, serious questions have arisen about how to preserve knowledge that in some cases may exist only in digital form. To address the dilemmas of digital preservation, the Yale University Library and Elsevier Science are collaborating to create the infrastructure for a model archive for the 1,100 journals published electronically by Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific, technical and medical information provider. Their goal is to have the model infrastructure developed within two years. They have already begun studying how people use digital collections and are investigating formats for encoding content in digital form; one challenge is predicting which formats are likely to remain stable over time. The planners hope that the archive will serve as a model for other publishers.