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When I was in library school, and specializing in archives and record
management, one of the things we were taught to look at when deciding format
for preservation was, is the item important for its artifactual value, or
for its informational value.  E.g., a first edition of a classic novel, a
copy that belonged to a famous historical figure with his/her signature on
the flyleaf, or the Book of Kells, will get a different preservation
decision than volume 253 of JAMA.  In the first case the item is important
*because* of the physical format, and that's what you keep and take care of
as best you can.  JAMA is important for its information, and so if the space
is needed, you convert it to microform or digital media.  Of course you need
to check the finished conversion before you get rid of the original to make
sure there aren't missing pages, bad copies, etc......

Nancy E. M. Gilly, M.L.S.
Medical Librarian
W.W.Backus Hospital, Norwich, CT
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860-823-6327