Boundaries evolved to identify Special Collections. These were confining boundaries that managed accessions as well as migrations from more general collections. Now these determinants are receding as a wider distinction between all physical media emerges for collection management in a context of non-local on-line resources.
Such reconfiguration is apparent across disciplines. While humanists reflect on the screen simulation of their general print collections, the scientists de-accession analog media as they develop fully screen based libraries. The overall trend is toward recognition of physical media as a determinate of a separate, special collection type.
Such a distinction may be overdue. Little recognition of the material features of newspapers, for example, resulted in their discard following microfilming. Other default neglects caused loss of scientific records as is evident in census data or analog telemetry.
Perhaps other faulty outcomes lurk in collections transmission going forward. A “special” designation does accord well with the physicality of media but the wholesale functionalities of residual physical collections in their back-up, mastering, and authentication roles remains volatile.
A persuasive research interdependence of physical and screen resources is needed to confirm the library service of their mediation.
Deletion, erasure, and cancellation of faulty previous states of digital archives can be positive. Such events occurring prior to emergence of a certified and trusted digital source are already apparent. Curious implications for authentication arise.
Screen archives (either derivative from other media or “born” digital) and physical archives each fulfill distinctive roles within archival transmission. This premise is confirmed in common experience and research method. The physical items feature enriched self-authentication and the screen items feature enriched self-indexing and automated searching. As distinctive archival entities neither can be a simulation of the other and both act as distinctive research sources.
Advancing to authenticate original and surrogate states of each it can be acknowledged that copies are propagated from a physical exemplar but it can also be conjectured that digital copies propagate before recognition of their exemplar source. Such a bizarre conjecture is based on the inadequacy of previous screen displays and the greater authority of screen displays yet to come. As copies propagate the emergence of the exemplar can be delayed continuously. Surprisingly, common experience and research method supports such an illogic
Archival screen display undergoes version supersessions, augmented navigation and links, metadata modification, certification review, and conversion to open access formats. Such change displaces previous states and expedites their deletion. In this context the subsequent screen source supplants its faulty previous states and a surprising implication is reversal of the process of authentication from faulty copy states to a subsequent, awaited exemplar source. An interdependence of physical and screen display as well as an exercise of comparative media studies is suggested.
Jessica Pressman offered a talk on page space. The FotB take-home was triggered when she mentioned that distinctions dissipate between media and literary studies. If so we can consider how books and reading relate.
Reading behaviors slide effortlessly between print and screen and between classical and futurist enclaves. Books, on the other hand, are a bouncing Karaoke cursor, popping up here and then there. The codex metaphor of a printed laminate pops with the digital 3D printing or a digital physicality can be discerned in laser incised calligraphy.
This distinction remains, the fluidity of reading behaviors and the Itsy pop-ups of material objects.