News story

Major libraries to hold the nation’s digital memory

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Changes to legal deposit will ensure UK’s online publications are preserved.

Six major libraries across the UK will be given the right to collect, preserve and provide long-term access to the increasing proportion of the nation’s cultural and intellectual output that appears in digital form from tomorrow, including blogs, e-books and the entire UK web domain.

The 6 libraries are:

British Library Video: Capturing The Digital Universe

The regulations, known as legal deposit, will ensure ephemeral materials like websites can be collected, preserved forever and made available to future generations of researchers, providing the fullest possible record of life and society in the UK in the 21st century for people 50, 100, even 200 or more years in the future.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

It’s right that these long-standing arrangements have now been brought up to date for the 21st century, covering the UK’s digital publications for the first time. The Joint Committee on Legal Deposit has worked very successfully in creating practical policies and processes so that digital content can now be effectively archived and our academic and literary heritage preserved, in whatever form it takes.

Access for users

Access to non-print materials, including archived websites, will be offered via on-site reading room facilities at each of the legal deposit libraries. While the initial offering to researchers will be limited in scope, the libraries will gradually increase their capability for managing large-scale deposit, preservation and access over the coming months and years.

By the end of 2013 the results of the first live archiving crawl of the UK web domain will be available to researchers, along with tens of thousands of e-journal articles, e-books and other materials.

Read more about what will be on offer on the British Library website.

Further information