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Internet collection open for use

Press release:  March 17, 2015

For the first time, users can now access websites from the collection of the German National Library in the reading rooms in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main. Last year the collection of online university publications and e-books exceeded one million works, representing a further step towards the goal of collecting all Germany-related publications.

This selective collection of websites represents the German National Library fulfilling its mandate to preserve online publications - a particularly extensive segment which is difficult to delimit. As a publication form online publications have hitherto been difficult for libraries to handle, but they will now be permanently preserved in selected areas for research and scientific purposes. They will be accessible in the reading rooms of the German National Library in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main.

The focus of the first stage will be on the websites of institutions such as federal authorities, lobby groups and cultural institutions. Content will also be collected on events such as last year's federal elections. Most of the roughly 700 websites are collected quarterly and are then catalogued, rendering them retrievable both via catalogue entries in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie and via full text searches.

Because the websites are frequently updated and it is seldom possible to access earlier versions, the web archive makes it possible to retrieve information which is no longer available. For example, the collection also includes the pages of the FDP Bundestag faction in the last legislative period which are no longer available online. Changes in the appearance and content of websites can also be tracked and analysed over time. References in academic theses to web content which is no longer available can be retrieved in the web archive.

The German National Library is planning to continue and expand its practice of selective harvesting via service provider oia GmbH. In addition, there are plans to conduct an experimental "top level domain crawl" for ".de" in conjunction with the French company Internet Memory Research in order to investigate the possibilities of taking such a broad-based snapshot of German websites. Partnerships are also planned e.g. with the specialist portal "AcademicLinkshare" in an effort to expand the collection to include websites dedicated to specific topics.

Background

For over a century now the German National Library has been collecting, documenting, archiving and making publicly available all written and sound recording publications issued in Germany, or in German, since 1913. It provides its comprehensive range of services at its twin sites in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main, but also in digital form to a global circle of users. In addition the German National Library also houses valuable and extensive special collections in the German Exile Archive 1933-1945 and the German Museum of Books and Writing.

The amendment of the Law regarding the German National Library (DNBG), introduced in 2006, expanded the collection mandate to include non-physical media publications (online publications). The stocks can be used in the reading rooms of the German National Library in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main.

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