Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.02.28
Sutton on O'Donnell on Gaspard Fossati, Aya Sofia Constantinople CD-Rom. Response to 2006.02.24
Response by Dana F. Sutton, University of California, Irvine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
James J. O'Donnell concludes his new review of Gaspard Fossati's CD-ROM Aya Sofia Constantinople with some wise and highly apposite remarks about the necessity for long-term archiving of electronic scholarly resources. I would disagree with him only on one point. He draws a contrast between the transitory nature of electronic scholarship and the permanence of printed books. But it needs to be pointed out that the permanence of the print medium can sometimes be more illusory than real. At the risk of sounding like a megalomaniac, I can confidently anticipate that my own books will continue to exist and be read long after those of Wilamowitz have disappeared. Why? Simply because most of mine are printed on acid-free paper, but his are not. So, paradoxically, if Wilamowitz's books are to survive, together with a great deal else in our printed cultural heritage, in all likelihood this will require their digitization. Then too, it is safe to predict that the soaring cost of print publication will increasingly compel journals and other academic publishing enterprises to switch to electronic forms of distribution. Both of these considerations make the issue of long-term archiving all the more compelling: it requires the urgent attention of our universities and research libraries.