Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000 12:16:03 -0400

Steve, I think you misunderstand Greg's concern (and mine)
We do not disagree with what you want to do; we want to add to it. We are
assuming, I think,
that something similar to the plan you advocate will be the basic process.

I do not think it enough to say distributed=secure. It's only the first step
to security.
In addition to being distributed, there also needs to be a reliable
caretaker--not just to do the housekeeping, but to ensure that the archive is
kept compatible with changing technology.
I suggested that the archives be organized redundantly both by discipline and
by university (and possibly by geographic/political entity, as well as what
anyone wants to do).

There are undoubtedly well-organized academic departments that can do this.
There are also academic departments that cannot be relied on to do this right,
because of size, interest, or finances. The same goes for professional
societies. Certainly no individual can be relied on: all humans are mortal.
All of this goes as well for refereed as for unrefereed, preprint as for
reprint, officially published as for unpublished.

As a librarian, I do not assume it is good enough that
> our refereed papers are already, as they are,
> safely in the hands of journals and libraries, ...

There are very few library copies of many journals, and though there is
excellent backup from national libraries, even their collections are
incomplete. The literature published up to now will be much more secure when
it too has been digitized and placed on free publicly available mirrored
servers, with all the additional precautions. Besides security, this will also
make them generally available with all the additional advantages of plans such
as yours.
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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