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Double Fold Libraries and the Assault on Paper by Nicholson Baker

Double Fold Libraries and the Assault on Paper

The Real World   

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October 2012 Guest Editor Simon Garfield on Double Fold...

I have mixed feelings about some of Baker’s sometimes rather detached writing, but this book is wonderful. It’s a personal and passionate account of how libraries have digitised their newspaper collections over the years and then broken up or destroyed the originals, an invaluable heritage. Baker mounts a rearguard action by buying many bound volumes himself, only to realise how complex the problem of storage and archiving can be.

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Double Fold Libraries and the Assault on Paper by Nicholson Baker

Since the 1950s, some of the world's greatest libraries have, as a matter of common practice, dismantled their collections of original bound newspapers and books, replacing them with microfilmed copies. The originals, often irreplaceable, are cut up to be sold as birthday gifts or are pulped. In this book the real motives behind the dismantling of our recorded heritage is examined. The libraries argue that paper is too fragile to be stored in their archives, and point to the so-called brittle paper crisis. The author argues that paper can be stored for years and that libraries are under budgetary pressure to save space.

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About the Author

Nicholson Baker was born in 1957. He is the author of four other novels, a work of non-fiction, U and I, and a collection of essays, The Size of Thoughts. He lives in Maine with his family.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th March 2002


Nicholson Baker

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Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing


384 pages


Archiving, preservation & digitisationæ



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