Celebrating 40 Years of Preserving the Past at the LoC

Dianne Van Der Reyden offers a fascinating survey of the enormous debt historians owe to librarians and archivists for preserving the materials of the past, both for our use and for the use of future generations of historians. Her essay marks the 40th anniversary of the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress, and surveys the various threats to the physical media that constitute the historical record—including paper, phonograph records, photographs, audiotapes, and film—and the wide range of techniques they are bringing to bear to stave off their destruction. The article draws well-deserved attention to their efforts, and we can only hope for their continued success!

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