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Foreword

The National Repository Library of Finland has been hosting a conference series about the role of print materials in the collection services of libraries. It has gathered prominent specialists from all over the world to discuss about the role of print in the digital era. What are the best possible ways of keeping the print long tail available?

The Kuopio conferences commenced identifying the problems which library repositories had in storing and preserving these print resources.  In the first Kuopio conferences it was recognized that the problem was not with the local library, nor with the local or national repository but with the need for a global coordination of what is being preserved for research posterity. This identification of the Universal Repository Library (URL)  is a recognition of the paradox facing decision-makers. The URL sharply recognizes that print is with us forever, that most of it is commercially non-viable to be converted permanently to digital form and that the desired delivery vehicle is digital. It also announces that there are rich and vital collections across all languages which should be included in this target.

The conferences also extended examination of this crucial responsibility in the preservation of the world’s literatures. Where the digital environment correctly is being identified as the future medium of preference, the free availability of a rich historical research collection from all languages and cultures is of increasingly prominent importance.

Serious focus needs to be focused on what needs to be preserved, when it needs to be preserved and where it needs to be preserved. The overriding driver is that these resources will be freely available across the globe for all peoples, for all times.

There is a vast and strongly growing network of Repositories who can link together to create the URL to work toward a solution to the future.

This website aims at listing print repositories, print archive projects and other print preserving initiatives to be easily accessed. The information has been collected from the web sites of these institutions or projects.