The Great Newspaper Caper: Backlash in the Digital Age

Richard J. Cox

Abstract


Novelist and literary essayist Nicholson Baker once again has caused a stir in the library world, this time attacking the sale and/or destruction of original newspapers once they have been microfilmed. Ably and eloquently arguing his case, Baker is still wrong while succeeding in raising public awareness about the care of basic documentary sources and in forcing librarians and archivists alike to re-think basic assumptions and practices. My essay responds to what I discern as Baker's four main points - a lie foisted upon the public about the care of the newspapers, the insidious destruction of original newspapers, the resultant loss of trust by the public in libraries and archives, and a set of wrong priorities leading to the misguided microfilming and destruction of the newspapers. My essay also suggests that we should expect more such public debates as the developing Digital Age brings more intense concerns for original books, archives, and other documents.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v5i12.822



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