As a footnote, a number of organizations of the library/archive type are beginning to take this seriously, but they’re really 20 years too late, so while the effort is appreciated, it’s on the level of looking at a decimated ecosystem and going “now what was all that about?”.While I am not familiar enough with all the details to know how valid Scott's claim is, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that libraries have been late to take action to preserve the data on floppy disks and other digital media. Preservation seems to be relatively low on the priority list of most libraries, especially since fulfilling the preservation mandate would mean consuming resources (time, money, space) needed to fulfill higher priority responsibilities (i.e. service, access, etc).
Are libraries right to place a low priority on preservation? Are there other responsibilities that libraries and librarians are neglecting? I realize that it is always a case of making trade-offs and doing the best you can, but I worry that sometimes we are motivated to work on things that are new, exciting, publishable. (When was the last time someone published an article on correcting metadata records?) We place a higher priority on the needs of our communities today than the needs of our communities in the future. We are supposed to be institutions and professionals who take a long-term view on our work, but is seems that so much of our attention is focused on today.
I'd be interested in hearing from other librarians what you think of this issue, and what other areas that you think libraries are neglecting. While I'm writing this from the perspective of an academic librarian, I put the question to librarians of all sorts, as well as archivists who have also been painted by Scott with the same brush.
(I'm also interested in hearing from folks who feel that I'm totally off base with my comments on libraries neglecting preservation!)
Please feel free to post your thoughts as a comment below. Tks!