Online Publishers Collected by German National Library

A great cry for resist has spread among online publisher – private and professional alike. The, Deutsche Nationalbiblithek, German National Library has been mandated since December 2005to now collect online publications.  This has called for a lot of commotion in the press. This article will give a general clarification.


What does this mandate mean specifically for website operators, bloggers and forum operators? The net community can breathe a sigh of relief, because the library is supposed to only collect and archive static contents from blogs, forums and websites via its own automated crawler collect and archive.

§2 no. 1 lit. 1 reads: The library has the task

a) to collect, inventory, index the media works published in Germany since 1913, and

b) to collect, inventory, index media works in the German language published abroad since 1913, translations of German media works in other languages and media works on Germany in other languages,

as originals and to permanently secure them, develop them for the public as well as provide services as a central and national library.

In practice, so, the spokesman for the German National Library, Stephan Jockel, clarified, the National Library is only interested in the single object. These include eBooks, electronic journals, university examination / dissertations papers that were published in the Internet. In order to easily collect them, the Library has installed a “submission interface (Abliefererschnittstelle)” under the key word “(net publications) Netzpublikationen" – in German as well as in English. Depending on the number of publications, you will either have to submit specified metadata or upload the publication itself. When the documents are in available several formats, the library favors the PDF format, a commitment to a special format should not happen.

"For regular publications, it will be useful to contact the 'acquisition' department." advises Jockel. If someone publishes only rarely, such as a student’s housework, a dissertation or a lecture, he is also committed to submit or to make accessible his work to the National Library. Especially for news websites, the German National Library will develop a procedure a workable procedure and an adequate "pick up" interval beforehand with the editors.

Blogger or forums operators can relax, they do not have to report to the National Library – also not in the future. The target of collecting is eBooks and dissertations. Much of the collecting is still done by hand in Frankfurt. The 20,000 publishers and academic institutions registered with the Library are obliged to submit webmaterial to the Library's server or leave files on their own systems for the library to pick up. Soon a lot of collecting will be done by machine. Material from news sites, for example, can already be secured automatically using a technique called "harvesting". The library has already collected 40,000 eBooks, 60,000 online dissertations and 1,200 eJournals, still a modest number compared with a physical archive that counts 24.5 m items. The library is planning harvesting methods, automated collection of complete sites with the help of a crawler.

Currently, the National Library is difficult to estimate how much digital material they will be dealing with. Currently, it gathers 1,200 media works daily. In 2004, during the legislative deciding process, the consulting firm Kienbaum estimated the need for additional 21 to 28 employments as well as additional annual budget needs of € 1.9 million to € 2.9 million. This budget was considered for the first time in the 2007.


Well if you have not noticed yet, then you now know where the Germans spend their taxes. It is being spent on lawmakers, who are not able to professionally draft statutory texts.

One newly enthused webbie recently said: "Let's stop digital amnesia!"

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