British Library 'web harvest'

The British Library will begin to preserve the digital age for future generations after new regulations come into force.

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Maintaining digital record 'priceless'

Legal deposit arrangements remain vitally important.

Preserving and maintaining a record of everything that has been published provides a priceless resource for the researchers of today and the future.

So it's right that these long-standing arrangements have now been brought up to date for the 21st century, covering the UK's digital publications for the first time.

– Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister

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"There was a danger we'd lose our digital heritage"

Ten years ago, there was a very real danger of a black hole opening up and swallowing our digital heritage, with millions of web pages, e-publications and other non-print items falling through the cracks of a system that was devised primarily to capture ink and paper.

The regulations now coming into force make digital legal deposit a reality, and ensure that the Legal Deposit Libraries themselves are able to evolve - collecting, preserving and providing long-term access to the profusion of cultural and intellectual content appearing online or in other digital formats.

– Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library

British Library to archive web

Regulations come into force at midnight tonight, which allow the British Library to begin archiving the entire UK web domain.

Billions of webpages, blogs and e-books will also be preserved in order to document the digital age.

The library could eventually collect copies of every public Tweet or Facebook page in the British web domain.

The British Library will soon be able to archive websites Credit: PA