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Library of Congress Features Papers by Cline, Merrill-Oldham in To Preserve and Protect

Papers by Nancy M. Cline, the Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, and Jan Merrill-Oldham, Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian in the University and College, are featured in To Preserve and Protect: The Strategic Stewardship of Cultural Resources, which was published recently by the Library of Congress. The 300-page volume contains papers by 22 recognized scholars, experts, and professionals in the fields of preservation and security who participated in a Library of Congress symposium in October 2000 in conjunction with the Library's bicentennial.

Cline's paper, "Stewardship: The Janus Factor," opens the book. Cline explores the connection between physical security and preservation of collections. She notes, "The challenge is to balance conflicting goals, to make materials as open and accessible as possible, and at the same time, to ensure that they will last for future generations." Cline uses the metaphor of Janus—the god in Roman mythology represented by two faces—to draw the parallel to stewardship, which looks back upon all that has been gleaned from experience over generations, and which looks forward by anticipating, planning, preparing, and thinking strategically.

Jan Merrill-Oldham's paper, entitled "Taking Care: An Informed Approach to Library Preservation," considers the challenges of building and sustaining a preservation program in today's volatile information arena. Merrill-Oldham explores issues, obstacles, and avenues to success in strategic planning for the long-term preservation of collections.

Other topics addressed in the book include:

  • developing strategies for a security program;
  • building a national preservation program;
  • coping with theft, vandalism, deterioration, and bad press;
  • promoting programs, meeting funding demands, and measuring effectiveness of preservation and security programs; and
  • challenges posed by electronic information and digitization; and
  • innovations in preservation and security.

In the introduction of To Preserve and Protect, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington states, "We hope that these essays might shed light on how to build bridges between preservation and security in our various institutions, and help all of us join hands in working cooperatively to preserve the record of human knowledge and creativity."

Cover images, clockwise from the upper left: Ages of Man, from Bartolomeus Angelicus, De proprietatibus rerun (Lyons, 1486); opening page of Book 2 from Pliny the Elder, Naturalis historia (Rome, 1470); Trojan Joprse from L'Ene´de de Virgile (Lyons, 1560); earth and its divisions, Bartolomeus Angelicus, De proprietatibus rerun. Rare and Special Collections, Library of Congress. The coin bridging the four images shows the Roman god Janus, as cited in Nancy Cline's essay.

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Last modified on Thursday, January 16, 2003.