“Dean of Libraries Paul Courant tossed an academic journal on a table in his office. The earwax-colored front cover read: The National Tax Journal, March 1980. “Read that for as long as you can before you get bored,” Courant, a silver-haired man with a tiny earring in his left ear said, smiling. Like most writing published in the past 100 years, the journal was printed on acid paper, which quickly deteriorates. Its pages are already yellow around the edges. Courant said these pages will have the consistency of corn flakes in 50 years. The knowledge it holds, too, could evaporate like soggy cereal — and so could countless other tomes.
And that’s just one problem HathiTrust tries to eliminate. The HathiTrust Digital Library, a four-year-old initiative led by the University and involving over 60 other research libraries, seeks to digitize the record of human knowledge.”