Knowledge being lost in 'digital black hole'

Scotland and the rest of the UK is lagging behind many other countries in archiving the world wide web.

The National Library of Scotland wants the UK Government to implement legislation that would give the UK's leading libraries the legal right to collect and preserve electronic information.

Without that, NLS warns that important information could be lost forever. There is already evidence that is happening. Information that has been lost includes:

  • The first websites of the Scottish Parliament
  • Material on last year's Scottish Parliament elections
  • The anti-Trident protest movement in Scotland
  • Internet and social media coverage of the 2011 London riots
  • The 2009 Parliamentary expenses scandal
  • The 2005 London bombings.

Legal deposit libraries like NLS have the right to claim a copy of all printed material in the UK and preserve it for future generations. The UK Parliament has agreed that this can be extended to electronic information, but the necessary regulations have never been implemented.

The National Librarian Martyn Wade said: 'In Scotland and across the UK we have an outstanding and enviable written heritage. However, we are now well behind many other countries in archiving the web. Knowledge about our past is vital in shaping our future and action is needed to stop important electronic information disappearing down this digital black hole.'

Read more in our digital legal deposit press release.

30 May 2012

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