terça-feira, 15 de dezembro de 2009

British Library welcomes public consultation on e-legal deposit

The British Library welcomes the statement made by the Minister for Culture and Tourism, the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, announcing a public consultation on the Collection and Preservation of UK Offline and Microform Publications and UK Online Publications

The British Library welcomes the statement made by the Minister for Culture and Tourism, the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, announcing a public consultation on the Collection and Preservation of UK Offline and Microform Publications and UK Online Publications ( Available free of charge and without access restrictions ) http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/consultations/6506.aspx

Since the introduction of the 2003 Legal Deposit Libraries Act, the British Library has been working closely with Government, Publishers and other Legal Deposit Libraries to establish how to archive the UK's digital output. As the National Library of the UK, the British Library has a duty to preserve the n's memory and has long argued for the need to archive digitally published material, particularly web only content. With so much material now being published digitally and online only, a failure to capture this material through a lack of legislation could create a ‘digital black hole'.

Important data has already been lost. For example, there are no contemporary web records regarding public feeling to important events in the national memory such as the unveiling of the Angel of the North, or the death of Princess Diana.

A 2008 review of the URL links quoted in Hansard up to 2007 showed that over 60% of all links were no longer active, highlighting the short term nature of the web.

On average web pages remain live for just 44 - 75 days. Only with the ability to capture and preserve the whole of the free web on a regular basis can the Library hope to preserve a comprehensive record of the n's digital memory.

Lynne Brindley said: "By 2020 more material will be published in digital format than in print, the British Library must collect, preserve and provide access to that material. I very much welcome this consultation whichextends the principle of legal deposit to cover material published digitally and online."

The British Library hopes this consultation will lead to meaningful progress towards the implementation of legislation on e-legal deposit and enable to British Library to continue in its role as the holder of the nation's memory.

Notes to Editors
Since 2004 the UK Web Archive, operated by the British Library on the basis of voluntary deposit, has archived over 5000 websites on topics ranging from the credit crunch to the terror attacks on London - see: www.webarchive.org.uk. The ability to archive all freely accessible UK web content without having to seek individual permissions would enable the Library to capture a far more comprehensive picture of the UK's 8 million web domains for all researchers of today and tomorrow.

Despite common perceptions, material that is freely available on the web is still subject to copyright and cannot be archived without permission. However, securing individual permission of rights holders is both expensive and time consuming, and often impossible. If the existing legal position were to remain the British Library would feasibly only be able to collect and preserve roughly 1% of the material currently freely available on the web.

The ability to archive the free web is of particular interest to the Library. A comprehensive archive of the UK web space would be a unique resource of immense value for research of all kinds, offering a rich variety of information and cultural material, including news, blogs, and comments alongside more formally published documents. Although many creators of web content may not consider themselves traditional publishers, the Library hopes these individuals will engage with the consultation, and help the Library to archive their work as part of the n's memory.

The sheer amount of material being published digitally, combined with the range of formats - many of which will rapidly become obsolete - makes both preservation and future accessibility far from straightforward. In anticipation of the legislation, the British Library has developed and expanded its storage infrastructure. Our Digital Library System currently holds over 500,000 digital items and will help facilitate the mass archiving of the UK's digital output.

The average life of a website is roughly 44 - 75 days, and many on-line publications are continually updated, with earlier versions very rarely kept. The British Library has a duty to preserve the nation's memory, and with so much material now being published online only it is absolutely vital legislation is passed to enable regular snapshots of the entire free UK web domain to be taken.

It is impossible to tell what researchers will find useful in the future, therefore selective or voluntary archiving of information is simply insufficient. Only with the implementation of the new legislation put forward under the consultation will the British Library be able to build the comprehensive records expected by the researches of the future.

The current consultation does not include provision for the archiving of paid for or restricted access online content. These are currently still under review by the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel ( LDAP ).

Fonte: Media Newsware

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