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Preserving Our Heritage: Perspectives from Antiquity to the Digital Age


Drawing on historical texts, this all-encompassing, accessible volume provides a comprehensive understanding of preservation for librarians, archivists, and museum specialists. By grounding key readings in context, Michele V. Cloonan offers students and professionals an overview of longevity, reversibility, enduring value, and authenticity of information preservation. In considering the history and context of preservation, she provides significant insight into conservation, historic preservation, moving images, and other cultural heritage institutions. The text is divided into eight themes designed to provide specific readings in context with this broad subject: • History and context • Collections • Risks to cultural heritage • Conservation • Frameworks for digital preservation • Preservation policy • Ethics and values • Multicultural issues • Sustainability. Each section includes historical works that form the basis of contemporary thinking and practices, readings from a variety of fields that are primarily concerned with the preservation of cultural heritage, and hard-to-find publications that shed new light on how to approach contemporary problems. The author's selections and insightful commentary on each comprise a truly global and current view of preservation. Readership: Students and researchers in archives, museums and libraries courses around the world.
1. Early Perspectives on Preservation 2. Perspectives on Cultural Heritage 3. Preservation in Context: Libraries, Archives, Museums, and the Built Environment 4. Collections: Development and Management 5. Risks to Cultural Heritage: Time, Nature, and Humans 6. Conservation 7. Frameworks for Digital Preservation 8. Preservation Policy 9. Ethics and Values 10. Multicultural Perspectives 11. Sustainability 12. Epilogue.

Michelle Valerie Cloonan is Dean Emerita and Professor at the Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Simmons College.

"This volume makes a diverse array of articles and some from hard-to-find sources easily accessible for students of architecture, cultural heritage, historical conservation, book arts, and related programs of study. Taken together, the readings included here provide an excellent single-volume overview to introduce readers to the wide concerns of preservationists."


There is a good balance between the historic roots of preservation and contemporary challenges surrounding digital preservation ... A sound investment for anyone seeking an overview of the field of preservation.

Library Journal

A wonderful contribution to the preservation literature. The readings are expertly selected and organized in a highly successful way that cumulatively tells us much about where the profession has come from and where it is headed.

Technical Services Quarterly

Preserving Our Heritage is an excellent collection for preservation professionals, supporters, and students, and would work well as a textbook. While it can be read selectively for one or two chapters relevant to specific concerns, as a whole it provides a well-rounded, balanced perspective on the preservation concerns of generations past and present. Highly recommended.


Overall, the book achieves its aims in assembling core texts...They are seminal papers and provide a solid foundation for students and new entrants into the profession. The juxtapositioning of the papers creates discussion which in turn provides an impetus for moving the subject matter forward.

Archives and Records

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