What Should We Preserve? The Question for Heritage Libraries in a Digital World

A primary role of national libraries is to document the published output of their respective countries. Traditionally, this has meant collecting, describing, and preserving for future generations at least one copy of every item published in print, including books, serials, newspapers, maps, music, posters, and pamphlets. In the last decade, online publishing has had a revolutionary impact on the creation, publication (dissemination), and use of information. This has presented libraries, particularly national (deposit) libraries and other cultural collecting institutions, with the daunting task of collecting, storing, describing, managing, and preserving the vast quantities of information that are being produced online.