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British Library sets out to archive the Web

April 5, 2013 • Business


In this photo taken Wednesday, April 3, 2013, a screen showcasing the British Library latest task is seen in London. Capturing the unruly, ever-changing Internet is like trying to pin down a raging river. But the British Library is going to try. For centuries the library has preserved a copy of every book, pamphlet, magazine and newspaper published in Britain. Starting Saturday, April 6, 2013, it will also be bound to record every website, e-book and blog, in a bid to preserve the nation’s “digital memory.” (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

LONDON (AP) — Capturing the unruly, ever-changing Internet is like trying to pin down a raging river.

But the British Library is going to try.

For centuries the library has kept a copy of every book, pamphlet, magazine and newspaper published in Britain. Starting Saturday, it will also be bound to record every British website, e-book, online newsletter and blog in a bid to preserve the nation’s “digital memory.”

As if that’s not a big enough task, the library also has to make this digital archive available to future researchers — come time, tide or technological change.

The library says the work is urgent. Ever since people began switching from paper and ink to computers and mobile phones, material that would fascinate future historians has been disappearing into a digital black hole. The library says firsthand accounts of everything from the 2005 London transit bombings to Britain’s 2010 election campaign have already vanished.

“Stuff out there on the Web is Login to read more

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