Thursday, April 12, 2012

40. ISL Report: The "No-Photocopying" Virus

    An increasing and vexing problem at the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library is the number of volumes marked as these books:

    All genealogy libraries have old books--it's the nature of the beast--but seldom do I encounter the number of books off limits as I do at ISL. It seems like every time I visit, the shelves get more loaded with books like these.
    It occurs to me that these books are an excellent opportunity for upgrading the collection. The ICPR management should come up with enough money and staff to, (a) Do a one-time photocopy of each volume, use the bound photocopy for researcher use, and restrict the original, or (b) Scan each volume and create a digital collection on the ISL website.
   Many researchers travel long distances to ISL and have limited time on-site, so it does them a disservice to require laborious hand copying. [And, yes, you can digitally photograph pages, but not everyone has a good camera or the skills to use one.]
   So, here is my creative suggestion; fix it now or soon the whole collection will be paper wrapped!

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