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When the British Library decided to get rid of a historic archive of American newspapers Nicholson Baker was bought it for himself. Now he wants to save \'the raw store of history\' that microfilm and the internet are wiping out. He is also the one who sued the San Francisco Public Library under the Freedom of Information act to release details of its \"hate crime against the past\" a few years ago when they went on the book dumping binge.
\"Say your grandparents had a wedding picture in this paper: what difference would it make to you if you saw the actual paper, instead of printing it off microfilm? The first would link you directly to that past event - it\'s difficult to explain why that would be true, but it is. The past exerts a stronger pull, it becomes realer, more understandable somehow when you have the actual document and not a copy.\"