Future generations of Australians will have access to today’s online media, thanks to the National Library of Australia and new legislation which requires the institution to store all electronic and well as print media published in Australia.
From January 2016 the National Library will be able to capture everything from ebooks to blogs, websites to social media— anything published on the Internet. Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, said for more than a hundred years the library had been collecting all print material about Australia and Australians through legal deposit – a requirement for publishers to lodge a copy of their publications with the Library.
“New legislation now allows us to take the lead in the way Australia documents the ever-changing online world by collecting the very latest digital media, that is, the full digital landscape,” said Ms Schwirtlich, announcing the initiative.
She said this had been made possible through the introduction of The Civil Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, which updates the Copyright Act 1968. This will allow the Library to collect billions of Australian web pages, tens of thousands of Australian ebooks, journals and magazines and any new forms of publication that appear in the future.
“We look forward to working with the publishing industry so we can preserve all Australian stories, regardless of whether they’re in print or online,” she said. “These new digital collections will be as important for researchers tomorrow as our most prized treasures like Cook’s Endeavour Journal or Edward Koiki Mabo’s papers are today.
“Collecting this digital material will let us create a picture of what it’s like living in Australia today: how we think, how we feel, what we care about. This will provide invaluable social history to scholars of the future.”
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