On the philosophy of preservation:
Newspapers could be preserved if one library in each area decided to
save one newspaper. Here is Portland, one could save the "Oregonian"
another the "Tribune" another "WIllamette Week" etc. Thus, no
institution would take on too great a burden. The same sort of thing
could be done with sound and video records- if some sort of voluntary
organization was set up to coordinate things.
Nicholson Baker's "Double Fold" is an astounding look at what
libraries threw away- but the simple principles of preservation he
lays out could be applied to many fields.
> > The problem is that in most cases newspaper articles are
>researched to trace
>> either trends or series of events...so that having every third (or whatever)
>> day would be worse than useless in research! For example, suppose you were
>> tracing the history of WWII, and your arbitrary selection left out June 6,
>> 1944! Or stock market trends, and omitted "Black Thursday!"
>> Or, worse yet, were culling an archive of the Chicago Tribune, and kept only
>> a copy headlining "DEWEY WINS!"...
>> Steven C. Barr
>Then it wouldn't be a problem -- because SIGNIFICANT news stories have
>follow-up stories. Thus, June 7, 8, 9... would cover the events of June
>6th; "Black Thursday" would continue to be commented on; and it would
>become clear from archival analyses that "Dewey Wins" was inaccurate. :)
>Plus, you would have a cross-section of OTHER newspapers, where you
>**did** have data for those specific dates -- just from different cities.
>That being said: A professor here did a study on lynchings in the U.S.
>South, and studied newspaper accounts to attempt a complete list of ALL
>events. During certain periods, lynchings (unfortunately) were such
>mundane events that they only received a two-paragraph write-up, with no
>It depends on the specific research question being asked -- in which case,
>those who would USE the archives -- historians, historical sociologists,
>and the like -- would have VERY specific instructions on what degree of
>archival retention would be in the "nice, but not necessary" realm, vs.
Tony Greiner/Mary Grant [log in to unmask]