Being aware of an extension of scope to digital publications the German national library, Die Deutsche Bibliothek (DDB)15, accepted this additional obligation taking first steps already in 1997 [DDB01].
Apart from its participation in the Nedlib-initiative, first activities include an Online Theses Collection, that has been realised together with German university libraries, and a close cooperation with the Springer publishing house (Heidelberg, Berlin) entitled SpringerLINK, archiving more than 400 electronic periodicals. Both projects are ongoing, however, they are extended by a voluntary deposit of on-line publications, which has been active since September 2001. Thereby, publishers and other issuers based in Germany are called up to deliver their publications, that have been made accessible via communication nets. Together with the original documents a set of metadata has to be specified. Further selection on the material is performed following a stringent policy.
All these services are based on the so-called "push-principle", requiring the creator or publisher of the work to transmit their work. Having tested other methods of automatic harvesting, the conclusion was drawn that this strategy guarantees the quality and the authenticity of the archived data at best. Consistency and adequacy of the delivered material is further scrutinised by library staff before the collection items are included in the archive.
Concerning the long-term preservation of the data, the library is following the results and the ongoing experiments implemented in the scope of the Nedlib-project. In the absence of a solid framework for the Emulation-approach, however, Conversion will be used as the preliminary method.
The archive is made instantly usable via an Internet gateway. Yet, due to Copyright and other restrictions, not all collection items are accessible. Furthermore, works to be paid when accessed can only be viewed in the reading rooms of the library.
For the time being, only digital publications on a physical carrier (such as CD-Rom) have to be delivered to the national library. However, drafts of an extended legal deposit legislation incorporating on-line documents are being compiled by representatives of the DDB and major German publishers [BE99]. Thereby, a policy for the selection of the publications to be archived is conceivably more strict than the corresponding policy for traditional print documents in respect of the sheer masses of material available.