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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 39, September 30, 2007, Article 11

THE ELECTRONIC EQUIVALENT OF BOOK BURNING

[There is always some great numismatic reading in the pages of the
CN Journal, a publication of the Canadian Numismatic Association
(www.canadian-numismatic.org). Editor Dan Gosling's Closing
Comments column is always worth a look, and the June 2007 issue
(Vol. 52, no. 5, page 254) had a column of particular relevance
to E-Sylum readers.  With permission I'm republishing 'Book Burning'
here.  -Editor]

Over the centuries people and societies have burned books. Books
have been burned because of ignorance, a desire to restrict exposure
to certain ideas and ideals or to restrict people from learning.
Burning a book is the ultimate form of censorship as you cannot
read what no longer exists. Whatever the reason, burning books
is bad.

Over the centuries people have destroyed letters and correspondence.
Letters and correspondence have been destroyed out of ignorance or
a lack of appreciation for the information and ideas that letters
and correspondence contain, to prevent learning, to restrict exposure
to information and ideas, or to censor the thoughts of others. You
cannot read letters and correspondence that do not exist. Whatever
the reason, destroying letters and correspondence is bad.

Over the centuries people have disposed of, or trashed, newspapers,
magazines, journals and newsletters. These publications have been
disposed of and destroyed without consideration for the needs of
future researchers, because of a lack of space, an appreciation
of the contents or a desire to share the printed information with
others. Whatever the reason, trashing newspapers, magazines,
magazines, journals and newsletters is bad.

Over the decades people have deleted computer files. Files are
deleted that are no longer needed or to free up room for other
files. Files are deleted because of ignorance or to restrict
exposure to others or a lack of appreciation for the information
within the files and the needs of future researchers or once the
information in the file has been printed. Files are deleted without
appreciation for the speed and power of software search tools.
Files can be lost when hardware fails, operating systems crash
and viruses infect computers. Files are lost that are not transferred
to a new computer because of a lack the knowledge, skills or desire
to do so. Whatever the reason, deleting files is bad.

Those that prepare publications and articles for print and
electronic distribution have an obligation to preserve the
information for future use. The act of deleting computer files
is detrimental to the success of our hobby and the needs of
future numismatists and researchers. Donít allow complacency
or bad habits to cause the destruction of electronic information
you are the custodian of. You are responsible for the preservation
of this knowledge. Stop the practice of electronic book burning.

There is an archive of past CN Closing Comments columns at:
CN Closing Comments

[Dan also forwarded a copy of another great article of his (published
in the January/February 2006 issue) on the initial volume of The CN
Journal. Titled "The First Year", the article is a very interesting
account of the debut of the journal in 1955.  It's too long to
republish, and taking excerpts wouldn't do it justice.  But look
for it if you're a CNA member or have access to the 2006 volume.
-Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

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