THE UNITED Kingdom's national libraries should join forces to ensure a more efficient system of collecting published works, according to the British Library.
The library says it is no longer possible for any single library to acquire and maintain the rapidly growing output of British publishers. Under the law of legal deposit publishers must place copies of their works in designated institutions including the British Library.
The library's review recommends a coordinated approach to the problem, with responsibility for the national collection of published works being shared by the British Library, The National Libraries of Scotland and Wales, the University Libraries of Oxford and Cambridge and Trinity College, Dublin. Some other major libraries, including specialised and regional libraries, would also be involved. Each would have responsibility for maintaining access and preserving its contribution to the archive.
The British Library suggests that the management of this "distributed archive" could be achieved partly by the creation of a national bibliographic resource. This would be a single point of access to those archives contributing to the archive.