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Vanishing records

Not so very many years ago, a dozen maybe, Idaho had a state library, a solidly-staffed agency which managed a lot of books, documents and other resources. It served a while range of missions, from serving as a check-out and research library for the general public to providing information and reports for state agencies to serving as a repository for a official records from state agencies. And, on top of that, it served as a coordinating and assistance service for public libraries around the state.

Then, over a period of years, the Idaho State Library was gradually dismantled, and virtually destroyed. Comparatively little of it – mainly the library-assistance function and a few other things – is left. And so too has gone much of the reference and state recordkeeping function: Just gone. Poof.

We’ve made a few notes of this over the years. Today, a Betsy Russell article in the Spokesman-Review takes a more thorough look at some of the impacts. The eventual up side may be that agencies moving toward digital documentation may be able to easily develop storage in large databases; and that could resolve some of the ongoing problem. But the issue is too complicated for that as a simple resolution.

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