The Steward of Book History in the Digital Age: The Struggles and Rewards of Collecting eBooks and eReaders for Special Collections Institutions

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Bigelow, Jessica
Special collections libraries have long been repositories for collecting and preserving the history of the book. However, general collecting parameters have not yet encompassed what is, arguably, the most recent manifestation of the book: eBooks. Although scholars of book history have spent the last decade or so including eBooks in their historical overviews, their importance in the overall timeline of book evolution has not yet made an impact beyond historical contemplation. However, there might be a reason institutions are not overly eager to be the first to create a collection of early eBooks. Not only do eBook files come with the same long-term preservation problems as any born-digital materials, they also have added complications such as a lack of standardized file format, a lack of permanence in licensing agreements, and the constant threat of content changes from the seller, just to name a few. Therefore, while this presentation aims to develop an awareness of the need for special collections libraries to begin collecting eBooks, it also seeks to lay out the complications that currently stand in the way of a successful eBook collection to start a conversation around possible solutions for long-term preservation and patron use.
Indiana University Digital Collections Services
Wednesday Noon Digital Scholarship Series
IUScholarWorks Repository
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IUScholarWorks Record 

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