ARCHIVED: AALL Preservation Policy (Revised July 2013)

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Adopted by the AALL Executive Board, July 1994
Revised July 10, 1998

I. Introduction

Founded in 1906, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is a non-profit professional organization devoted to improving the operation of law libraries and the distribution of legal information. Nearly 5000 AALL members work in nearly 1100 libraries serving government officials, the bench, the bar, legal scholars, and the lay public.

Collectively, law libraries form a knowledge network that supports the use of law in society. Continued access to the law and legal information is the primary mission of all law libraries and the common ground for libraries that are diverse in many other respects. AALL recognizes that continued access to legal information depends in a large part on the preservation of legal materials. In order to ensure that information continues to be accessible, that publications and other sources of information are long lasting and durable, and that Association members receive training and support for preservation activities, the Association recognizes that it must play a role in promoting the preservation of local collections and in formulating policies and encouraging activities that will promote the preservation of legal materials.

II. Setting priorities

While acknowledging that preservation is a global problem, AALL has a responsibility to concentrate first and foremost on the preservation issues facing our member libraries. The most basic goal must be the preservation of as much as possible of the Anglo-American legal materials relevant to our primary constituencies -- law faculties, law students, practitioners, judges, and government agencies.

III. Participate in national preservation agenda

Since preservation is not the sole concern of law libraries, it is necessary for the Association to work cooperatively with the other associations and organizations involved in preservation efforts. The Association recognizes the need for communication with groups active in formulating national preservation policies and programs and the need for participation, cooperation and communication in appropriate activities and programs that would further the Association's goals.

The Association supports the development and revision of national standards which impact the integrity of the materials in law libraries, specifically the latest editions of ANSI Standard Z.39.48-1992, Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, Z.39.66, Durable Hard-Cover Binding for Books, the Library Binding Institute's Standard for Library Binding, ANSI IT9.1-1987, Photography (Film)-Silver Gelatin Type-Specifications for Stability, ANSI PH1.43-1985, Photography (Film)-Processed Safety Film-Storage, and ANSI/AIIM MS23-1985, Practice for Operational Procedures for Inspection and Quality Control of First-Generation Silver Gelatin Microfilm of Documents. The Association also supports the work of the subcommittees in Committee Z39.48 of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) which are working on issues relevant to libraries.

The use of permanent paper is recognized as one of the most fundamental ways to preserve today's books for tomorrow's attorneys, students, and researchers. The exorbitant costs associated with reformatting and mass deacidification can be eliminated if publishers would routinely use permanent paper. The Association, therefore, promotes Public Law 101-423, "Joint Resolution to Establish a National Policy on Permanent Papers," as well as its own Resolution on the Use of Permanent/Alkaline Paper, approved by the membership in 1988.

AALL supports the research projects currently being carried out under the aegis of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Preservation Science Council. These projects are concerned with magnetic media, storage enclosures for film, binding adhesives, lignin in paper, the effects of fluctuating environmental conditions on paper, and accelerated aging experiments on various types of paper found in libraries.

IV. Work with publishers and information vendors

Publishers and vendors have a responsibility to ensure that products sold to law libraries do not exacerbate the preservation problem. The Association will communicate the needs of its members for permanent, durable materials to publishers and vendors in order to increase the longevity of products offered to law libraries. Special attention will be given to producers of reprints and microforms since these products are frequently purchased as preservation replacements for books on brittle paper. The Association urges publishers to adopt and adhere to the standards mentioned above and that the following six recommendations from the Final Report of the Ad Hoc Binding Guidelines Working Group be adhered to: 1)Hardcover books are to be manufactured with cover material sufficient to withstand heavy use, preferably a C-grade cloth, 2)The cover material should have adequate tear resistance and abrasion resistance, 3)The spine lining should be of sufficient thickness, 4)Appropriate adhesives should be used and they should be applied properly, 5)The first and last signatures should be reinforced with a sturdy cloth tape, and 6)Extra care is to be given to books which are to accommodate pocket parts. Law publishers should expect that law books will receive heavy use and they should manufacture them with materials and methods which will withstand such use.

AALL promotes research and development projects pertaining to electronic media, including online databases and CD-ROM. At this time, electronic media cannot be considered as a viable preservation option due to its relatively short life span and its dependency on hardware which must be replaced periodically.

V. Funding and support for preservation

The preservation of legal materials, especially primary legal materials, is a national priority. AALL supports continued funding for the preservation programs of the National Endowment for the Humanities. AALL will also work to encourage increased funding for preservation activities of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

VI. Structure to implement preservation goals

The Technical Services SIS Standing Committee on Preservation is responsible for the development of educational programs within the Association, and the development and implementation of projects. Several other committees and SISs, including the Committee on Relations with Information Vendors and the Legal History and Rare Books SIS, take a less active but no less important role in preservation on a national level. The Association acknowledges the inter-relatedness of preservation with other aspects of library work and encourages committees, SISs, and chapters to integrate preservation issues into their agendas. (Approved July, 1998 Board  Meeting, Tab 13A, page  )

VII. Support law libraries' in-house preservation work

AALL recognizes that its national preservation policy must support the preservation efforts of individual law libraries. An important aspect of this support is the responsibility of the Association to educate members about all aspects of preservation. This education takes the form of newsletter or journal articles or columns, educational programs, and informal roundtable discussions. In addition, the Association will communicate with groups already providing preservation services to law libraries to expand and tailor those services to better meet the needs of law libraries. The Association will continue to encourage the development of educational programs, institutes and workshops related to all aspects of preservation. Annual Meeting program chairs are encouraged to accept at least one preservation related program each year.

VIII. Conclusion

AALL acknowledges the importance of preserving legal information in all of its formats and its responsibility in that role.