Shadow Libraries and the Conflict Between Preservation and Curation

All this to say that although barriers to acquisition are low, the barriers to active participation are high and continually increase with time. The absorption of smaller collections by larger favors the veterans. Rules and regulations grow in complexity with the maturation of the community, further widening the rift between senior and junior peers. We are then witnessing something like the institutionalization of a professional “librarian” class, whose task it is to protect the collection from the encroachment of low-quality contributors. Rather than serving the public, a librarian’s primary commitment is to the preservation of the archive as a whole. Thus what starts as a true peer production project, may, in the end, grow to erect solid walls to peering. This dynamic is already embodied in the history of public libraries, where amateur librarians of the late 19th century eventually gave way to their modern degree-holding counterparts. The conflicting logistics of access and preservation may lead digital library development along a similar path.

The expression of this dual push and pull dynamic in the observed practices of peer preservation communities conforms to Derrida’s insight into the nature of the archive. Just as the walls of a library serve to shelter the documents within, they also isolate the collection from the public at large. Access and preservation, in that sense, subsist at opposite and sometime mutually exclusive ends of the sharing spectrum. And it may be that this dynamic is particular to all peer production communities, like Wikipedia, which, according to recent studies, saw a decline in new contributors due to increasingly strict rule enforcement.54 However, our results are merely speculative at the moment. The analysis of a large dataset we have collected as corollary to our field work online may offer further evidence for these initial intuitions. In the meantime, it is not enough to conclude that brick-and-mortar libraries should learn from these emergent, distributed architectures of peer preservation. If the future of Aleph is leading to increased institutionalization, the community may soon face the fate embodied by its own procedures: the absorption of smaller, wonderfully messy, ascending collections into larger, more established, and more rigid social structures.


Folksonomies: libraries library curation

/business and industrial/company/merger and acquisition (0.575977)
/food and drink/food/grains and pasta (0.547095)
/education/alumni and reunions (0.522743)

true peer production (0.920342 (neutral:0.000000)), peer preservation communities (0.916654 (positive:0.865081)), modern degree-holding counterparts (0.886003 (neutral:0.000000)), peer production communities (0.883913 (neutral:0.000000)), late 19th century (0.869382 (neutral:0.000000)), digital library development (0.866853 (neutral:0.000000)), mutually exclusive ends (0.860231 (positive:0.553204)), increasingly strict rule (0.853475 (negative:-0.263567)), rigid social structures (0.845127 (negative:-0.218991)), Conflict Between Preservation (0.743685 (neutral:0.000000)), smaller collections (0.738366 (neutral:0.000000)), Shadow Libraries (0.729133 (neutral:0.000000)), active participation (0.727380 (neutral:0.000000)), low-quality contributors (0.722585 (negative:-0.601160)), junior peers (0.720984 (negative:-0.495341)), brick-and-mortar libraries (0.719264 (negative:-0.501363)), wonderfully messy (0.718787 (positive:0.297427)), primary commitment (0.709200 (positive:0.568935)), solid walls (0.708587 (positive:0.603600)), amateur librarians (0.707805 (neutral:0.000000)), conflicting logistics (0.706160 (neutral:0.000000)), public libraries (0.704091 (positive:0.576472)), observed practices (0.703436 (positive:0.865081)), Derrida’s insight (0.703277 (positive:0.865081)), initial intuitions (0.702664 (positive:0.362410)), dual push (0.699365 (positive:0.865081)), new contributors (0.699285 (negative:-0.263567)), similar path (0.696557 (neutral:0.000000)), large dataset (0.692325 (positive:0.362410)), recent studies (0.690132 (positive:0.205292))

Derrida:Person (0.695995 (positive:0.865081)), Wikipedia:Company (0.628564 (neutral:0.000000))

Library (0.949864): dbpedia | freebase
Librarian (0.781076): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Public library (0.635378): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
19th century (0.488408): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Library science (0.482292): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Archive (0.476664): dbpedia | freebase
School library (0.432081): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Peering (0.390276): dbpedia | freebase
Meantime (0.389489): dbpedia | freebase
Digital library (0.373257): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Peer group (0.356584): dbpedia | freebase
Book (0.356257): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Structure and agency (0.355011): dbpedia | freebase

 Book Piracy as Peer Preservation
Periodicals>Journal Article:  Tenen, Dennis and Foxman, Maxwell (9th November 2014), Book Piracy as Peer Preservation, Computational culture, Retrieved on 2016-09-02
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: information science culture computer science