Creating copies of library materials as a preservation strategy
Library materials are reproduced for several reasons: to provide back-up copies of items showing obvious signs of deterioration, to replace those that have become too fragile to use, to reduce wear and tear on items that are rare or unique, and to extend access to Harvard's collections beyond the University. Since the beginning of recorded history, copying has been vital to the survival of information.
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The Shelf blog highlights rare and remarkable items discovered by Harvard Library users during the course of their research. Harvard Library Preservation routinely reviews books returned through circulation, knowing that these returns include a surprising numbers of works that are too deteriorated to survive continued use, and are that too rare and interesting not to share online with the Harvard community, and beyond.
Blog entries feature titles that have been selected for digitization through various criteria such as rarity, condition, use, research relevance, and/or visual content.