Collecting and archiving digital publications

The Swiss National Library (NL) has the legal mandate to collect, list, conserve and make available information on and about Switzerland (Helvetica), in print form or stored on other media. This mandate includes „digitally born" publications such as, for example, e-Books, e-Journals und Websites.

The NL started the e-Helvetica project in 2001, the „e" standing for electronic and „Helvetica" for publications relating to Switzerland. There were two main goals in the project: to build up a collection of digital Helvetica and to set up an IT system to archive these digital Helvetica.

It was decided to collect different types of digital objects to constitute the collection, which thus today comprises four collection components with different contents:

  • Digital Theses (both dissertations and postdoctoral)
  • Digital publications produced by publishers
  • Official publications of the Swiss Confederation in digital form
  • Cultural heritage websites (Web Archive Switzerland)

The OAIS reference model (Open Archival Information System) was selected as the basic structure for the computer system designed for archiving the material. The individual components were designed to be modular and put into operation in stages.

Structure of e-Helvetica
© NL

e-Helvetica is a service in the NL since April 2012. The e-Helvetica service is responsible for the continued development of the digital collection as well as for the registration, cataloguing and indexing, long-term preservation and provision of material. The Digital Archiving service supports e-Helvetica in the technical implementation of these tasks.

The long-term storage and delivery of digital media is especially challenging. As a Swiss library, the NL strives to work with other Swiss cantonal or university libraries in this (and other) fields. As a national library, it has established contacts with the Swiss book and information market. Internationally, it operates primarily in conjunction with other national libraries, which have similar mandates.

Last modification 09.02.2016

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