The problem of selection in digital heritage – The UNESCO PERSIST project

At the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) in Lyon this summer, the UNESCO session was spent on the problem of selection in digital heritage.
Before the advent of the internet, national libraries had a relatively clear cut task: to collect the national output of books, journals and newspapers. Nowadays, a lot of information is made available through the internet, and traditional selection criteria have become much more difficult to apply. A lot of libraries have started to ingest digital documents and websites, and wrestle to keep this growing amount of digital contents available in good shape so that future investigators can find and use the information it contains and can experience to a certain extent how the internet looked and felt in the past. The explosion of digital content however forces libraries and other heritage institutions to select what they want to keep. Not every individual tweet and web-posting deserves to be kept for all eternity, but how can we sift something that has lasting value from the ephemeral?
The report of the meeting points to three roads that the task force could take in its further activities to this goal.

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