International and Comparative Librarianship

S. R. Ranganathan, P. N. Kaula, R. N. Sharma, J. F. Harvey, D. J. Foskett, J. P. Danton, M. M. Jackson, etc.
This Blogosphere has a slant towards India [a.k.a Indica, Indo, South-Asian, Oriental, Bharat, Hindustan, Asian-Indian (not American Indian)].

Saturday, April 06, 2013

British Library sets out to archive the Web

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.
... "Stuff out there on the Web is ephemeral," said Lucie Burgess, the library's head of content strategy. "The average life of a web page is only 75 days, because websites change, the contents get taken down.
... Like reference collections around the world, the British Library has been attempting to archive the Web for years in a piecemeal way and has collected about 10,000 sites. Until now, though, it has had to get permission from website owners before taking a snapshot of their pages.
Tenner says keeping up with technology is only one challenge the project faces. Another is the inherently unstable nature of the Web. Information constantly mutates, and search engines' algorithms can change results and prices in an instant - as anyone who has booked airline tickets online knows.
"It is trying to capture an unstable, dynamic process in a fixed way, which is all a librarian can hope to do, but it is missing one of the most positive and negative aspects of the web," Tenner said.
"Librarians want things as fixed as possible, so people know where something is, people know the content of something. The problem is, the goals of the library profession and the structure of information have been diverging."
British Library spokesman Ben Sanderson acknowledged that this is new territory for an institution more used to documents written on parchment, paper and the fine calfskin known as vellum.
"Vellum - you don't need an operating system to read that," he said. Continue reading the full article, via abcnews.

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