Public Library Users are Challenged by Digital Information Preservation

Robin E. Miller

Abstract


A review of: Copeland, A. J. (2011). Analysis of public library users’ digital preservation practices. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(7), 1288-1300. doi:10.1002/asi.21553

Objective – To discover the factors that influence digital information preservation practices and attitudes of adult public library users.

Design – Mixed methodology combining matrix questionnaires, interviews, and visual mapping.

Setting – Urban public library on the East Coast of the United States.

Subjects – 26 adult members of a public library’s Friends group.

Methods – The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with 26 participants. All participants drew maps to indicate the types of information they value and why, and their preferences for information storage and maintenance. Qualitative data were supplemented by a matrix questionnaire on which 22 participants identified the types of digital information they maintain, and modes of storage.

Main Results – Some public library users may store and organize information inconsistently, utilizing a variety of digital devices. Technical, social, and emotional context influences choices about organization, sharing of information, and short- and long-term preservation. Users reported placing a higher value on born digital information, and information that they had shared with others.

Conclusion – Public librarians may have a role in facilitating growth of patron knowledge about creation, storage, preservation, and sharing of personal digital information.

Keywords


digital preservation

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