peer preservation in Tenen & Foxman 2014


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fnref-2025-50}^ Parallels between free
library movements of the early 20th and the early 21st centuries point
to a social dynamic that runs contrary to the populist spirit of
commons-based peer production projects, in a mechanism that we describe
as peer preservation. The idea encompasses conflicting drives both to
share and to hoard information.

The roots of many public libraries lie in extensive private collections.
Bodleian Library at Oxford, for example, traces its origins back to the
collections of Thomas C


lly
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


ave 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 r

 

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