IFLA Newspaper Conference: Maritza Failla - National Library of Chile

This is a country report by Maritza Failla from the National Library of Chile. Chilean law requires a deposit of 15 copies of each paper or book, along with two copies in a non-paper version, like on a CD. (Sweet! These kind of laws are so awesome at preserving the knowledge for the public good.)

They want to reduce the amount of handling of the physical copies in order to reduce damage for long-term preservation. With that said, they want to make it available as freely as possible. To that end, they focus on very deteriorated papers, as well as those with high cultural value.

Their strategy for preservation is to maintain a reserve collection, microfilm them, and then digitize them. Filming has been the primary preservation scheme. They currently have 8 million pages filmed. Some challenges are the lack of expertise among Chilean companies and library officials in filming historical periodicals. Creating copies is more difficult with film, and it requires specialized equipment to read, taking up valuable space in reading rooms.

Their digitization priorities require only conversion of Chilean national newspapers. They focus on newspapers of the year (What does that mean?) and highly requested papers. Digitization problems include high cost, lack of expertise, highly complex bibliographic material, large-sized papers require non-standard standards, rapid obsolescence, as well as the ever-present copyright problems.

The Memoria Chilena site has about 100,000 newspaper images scanned and available. Papers are chosen based on their importance to Chile, as well as papers covering important Chile and international news stories. There are currently six different electronic newspapers in Chile, although only one is soley electronic. According to the law, they are required to deposit CDs. However, even the storage and access of CDs has its issues. The problems seem to focus around the constant change in technology: training and upgrades, for example. She mentions the lack of library-oriented databases and meta-databases.