About a month ago, I read on my colleague’s blog that the Emory University Digital Library published a new book on sustaining digital libraries.  I’ve finally started reading it and figured I would post a note here.

The articles of this monograph provide resources for digital library stakeholders who seek to better understand how to effectively evolve such efforts from short-term projects to long-term sustainable programs. The monograph includes contributions from leaders in major digital libraries that have made such transitions or which are systematically considering the question of programmatic sustainability, including representatives from the National Digital Infrastructure and Information Preservation Program (NDIIPP) and the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).

I might also note that the book is available for free as a PDF.

So far I’ve read the introduction by the editors and the abstract from Leslie’s paper, and the book looks like a high-quality read from cover to cover, with articles based on actual digital library experience.  It’s a pragmatic approach for how to sustain digital library initiatives, looking beyond technical concerns towards the more challenging social and economic ones.  To some extent, we are getting pretty good at preserving bits and relationships between collections of bits – it is yet to be seen how good we will be at preserving the preservation systems themselves.