Heidi Krueger spends a lot of time thinking about format.
It’s a pondering that has occupied her mind for some time, ever since Krueger, now a reference librarian and virtual services coordinator at the St. Charles Public Library, visited the Wisconsin State Archives years ago.
She recalled that the archives had a trove of information accessible only on digital tape. And the archives, at the time of her visit, had just one of the machines needed to read the digital tape – a machine that was no longer manufactured.
William Maher, archivist at the University of Illinois Archives in Urbana, said he begins not with the question of whether documents can be preserved, but whether they should be preserved at all.
“Easily, 90 percent of the material that’s created doesn’t need to be kept,” Maher said.
He said it still takes a skilled eye to find the nuggets that may be of value to researchers in coming years.
Note: Kane County, IL is located is part of the Chicago metro area. Often referred to as one of Chicago’s “collar” counties.