Re: Backing up floppies - a survey (fwd) Toni Ledgerwood 26 May 1997 22:43 UTC

Our Serials Cataloguer passed this message on to me for reply because as
Audio Visual Cataloguer, I deal mostly with software.  We are also very
interested in the discontinuation of backing up floppies and would be
most grateful if you could post your conclusions to the list.

>           The UCSD Libraries are convening a task group to explore the
>           possibility of discontinuing the production of backup copies
>           of data on floppy discs that accompany books and journals.
>           Our current practice is to back up all accompanying
>           floppies, circulate the backup copy and archive the master
>           in our Systems Dept.  Before we sit down to discuss
>           discontinuing this practice I'd like to get some answers to
>           the following questions:
>           1) Have others among you implemented such a policy and, if
>           so, are you satisfied with the results? Please describe.

1) We have adopted an identical policy.  On the suface, the results seem
satisfactory.  If a disk is damaged or lost, we always have the original
to replace it -- BUT, the staff time and the cost of buying blank disks
for all items that have floppies I am sure would out strip the cost of
buying replacements for the odd thing that needs it.

>           2) If you answered yes to the first question, have you had
>           to acquire replacement copies of floppies that accompany
>           books or journal issues in the aftermarket.
>              a) If yes, please cite the sources you've found most
>                 useful.
>              b) If acquiring floppies in the aftermarket has been
>                 problematic, please describe.
2) No.
>           3) Regardless of whether you maintain backup copies or not,
>           do you have a policy in place to "Refresh" your discs
>           periodically to prevent corruption as they age? If so,
>           please describe.

3) We have no policy to "refresh" disks periodically.  This would again
add to costs.  I am sure that it would be more economical to replace
items that need replacing. Most libraries do not keep back-ups of any
other materials - many of which are just as unstable as the floppy disk.

>           Thanks for taking the time to respond to these questions.
>           Please respond to me privately as well as to the listserv,
>           as I'm under time constraints to gather this information
>           quickly.
>         From: David_Fisher@UCSDLIBRARY.UCSD.EDU
>           "Because of the workload and processing issues surrounding
>           making backup copies of commercial software/data purchased
>           for library collections (usually accompanying a book or
>           serial), I would like to convene an Ad Hoc task group to
>           explore the possibility of doing away with this task.  The
>           group will be charged to prepare a recommendation ...
>           "The current process is that Catalog Dept. staff make backup
>           copies of floppy disks, which are then sent with the
>           materials to their respective library collections.  The
>           original software then goes to ... storage.
>           ...we question whether the activity should be done at all.
>           How often do we go to our backups?  What are the risks if we
>           abandon them?  We are also concerned...that we need to have
>           a "refresh" system in place, as the data on floppy disks can
>           become corrupt after about five years.

Toni Ledgerwood
Audio Visual Cataloguer
Southern Cross University       Phone: (066) 203 726
PO Box 157      Fax:    (066) 220 093
Lismore  NSW  2480      email:
"Don't have anything witty to put on the bottom of  my e-mail"