I have to disagree. I have worked as a librarian for 10 years,
including a couple at the Minnesota Historical Society, which is the
newspaper archive for Minnesota. Although the American Newspaper
project, and microfilm in general have many positive features (as I
mentioned in my original post) the wholesale destruction of newspaper
originals that Baker mourned is absolutely true- as is the fact that
many of the newspapers and books destroyed were in readable
condition. To this list, it would be akin to copying a 78 onto a CD
with a high loss rate, then throwing out the 78 because it is
>If you want some real answers about newspaper preservation, the last
>place you should look for guidance is in the work of a hack fiction
>writer like Baker. Check out the work that's been done by the
>United States Newspaper Program. If you are good at research and
>check out Baker's "extensive" bibliography, you will find yourself
>wondering why he left out significant information simply because
>what others said did not support his crackpot argument. Baker is in
>microfilm denial and seems to think that one page that will not
>break when folded somehow magically represents millions of pages of
>newspapers and books that broke when handled. Double Fooled is not
>a work of scholarship to be relied on. He's probably got you
>believing every reel of microfilm is a deteriorating compilation of
>mistakes. Nothing could be further from the truth.
>- Walter Cybulski
>>>> [log in to unmask] 07/19/03 03:12PM >>>
>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
>>> 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]
Tony Greiner/Mary Grant [log in to unmask]