How should national libraries archive blogs?

I came across an article today at techno-geek site Ars Technica about a new initiative by the German National Library. The Library wants to archive blogs, which is reasonable enough, but through an odd piece of legislation, it appears that they have the authority to require that bloggers deposit their writing in the archives. If bloggers don’t comply, they could face a fine of up to 10 000 euros. From Ars Technica:

The law indicates that interfering with the Deutsche Bibliothek’s activities is an administrative offense, one punishable by fines of up to €10,000. Fears apparently spread that the bloggers would be facing a stark choice: hand over all their past material in an archive-worthy form, or face a hefty fine.

I’m all for archiving blogs – it’s great that national libraries are considering online material as an important source of information. If anyone wants to archive the posts I’ve made public on this blog, they’re certainly welcome to do so! Fining bloggers for not actively submitting their material would be silly, but fortunately it doesn’t seem that this will actually happen. It’s important to be aware of the power held by institutions, but we also need to realize that no one from the German National Library has actually threatened to take advantage of this power.


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