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Ellysa Stern Cahoy - Education & Behavioral Sciences Librarian, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Personal Archives and a New Archival Calling

Author: Richard J. Cox

Book Description:

We are in a time of rapid technological transformation, the likes of which the world has never witnessed.  Storage technologies, such as DVDs, floppy disks, and flash drives appear, are adopted, and within a few years, are rendered obsolete by newer, better, and bigger means of storage.  Our online culture is currently in the process of moving much of our content creation and saved information into the ‘cloud’ (web-based storage) such as Dropbox and Google Docs.  Indeed, we are creating and storing more information than ever before---documents, photos, videos, and more.  Yet how much of this information will be accessible in 25, 50, 100, or even 500 years?  The subject of Cox’s book is also the emerging focus of my librarianship---tackling the challenge of helping users learn how to preserve and mine their own information collections (and important personal works) so that they may be available and accessible for generations to come.

While some might say that we are currently living in a ‘digital dark age’ where little information created at the dawn of the Internet will survive, I prefer to think that we exist in an age of incredible opportunity.  The creation and curation of knowledge has been democratized, and we are all our own librarians and collection builders.  Cox’s book is an introduction to the centrality of this issue to our own rapidly growing nformation collections and the future of our personal, intellectual online content.

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