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Copies and Originals, Preservation and Access: The Art of Balance in a Digital World

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Since the Legal Deposit Act of 1925, The Danish Newspaper Collection has kept two physical copies of each newspaper published in Denmark along with a microfilm copy as backup. Now, The State and University Library, Denmark is changing its preservation strategy for the newspaper collection. One reason for the change is our newspaper digitisation project, which will produce 32 million digital pages in three years. We pay for the digitisation by discarding one of the paper originals, thus saving on storage expenses, but at the same time, our goal is to acquire a digital copy that will take the place of one of the paper copies.

Another important change has to do with the tradition of microfilming the newspapers. We are moving away from microfilming and into the digital realm, where we want to receive the daily e-paper from the publishers and use this as a backup copy instead of the copy on microfilm. However, the question is if the epaper can serve as backup for the physical paper when we cannot be 100 % certain the two newspapers are identical. We have seen examples where the two editions do not contain the exact same information. If that is a general occurrence, will the e-paper then suffice as a copy?

This paper is not telling the final story. We are in the middle of this change and the paper attempts to capture the state of affairs of newspaper preservation in Denmark post-"the good old days" when preservation and dissemination were both done on paper and celluloid.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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