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The impact of electronic publishing on library services and resources in the UK

4.7 Legal deposit/archiving

Legal deposit currently refers only to materials published on paper, and is not applied to electronic publications, although non-statutory arrangements are in place for sound and video products. If collection of the products of scholarship and creative imagination is to be continued in an electronic environment, additional means must be developed and installed. Several issues need to be resolved, especially the following:

  1. The scope of the material to be deposited has to be defined in terms of both form and content.
  2. Means of acquisition need to be established for different types of published materials. For materially-distributed publications, the means of acquisition should be essentially the same as those for conventional printed works. For the non-material works, a mechanism would have to be developed, appropriate to the nature of the distribution medium and the material distributed. The major acquisition problem is that of specifying exactly what should be deposited.
  3. Once deposited, a publication should be maintained in such a state that it will be accessible in perpetuity. Practical means to achieve this need to be determined.

The first step towards the resolution of the problems connected with legal deposit would be the establishment of a national archive, as has been recommended in the STM Report.

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