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17 Addressing the uncertain future of preserving the past RAND Europe which are responsible for publishing 49 percent of all research articles; 43 percent of the world’s research papers are published by European authors, and it is estimated that Europe accounts for 24 to 32 percent of world expenditure on journals European Commission (2007). 1000000 Number of titles 100000 10000 1000 100 10 1 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050 2100 Year Figure 4. 2 Costs and pricing of publishing The prices of journals and the profits made by publishers have been subject to continuing criticism from the academic and library community.

Keeping in mind that the German context is different from that in The Netherlands,18 the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek takes a narrower public service task and focuses solely on publications in the German language and those about Germany published abroad in other languages (interview with Ute Schwens 2007). Other stakeholders’ perceptions of national libraries vary considerably. The libraries’ long history is viewed often as an important asset, creating confidence that they will continue to exist in perpetuity.

While the Phaistos disc is said to date back about four millennia and paper can last several hundreds of years, digital media have a much shorter lifespan. Rothenberg (1995) assessed the life expectancy of several media (see Table 1). The contents of most digital media disintegrate long before words written on high-quality paper. Furthermore, digital content possibly faces an even more challenging problem than that of decrypting the purpose and meaning of the Phaistos disc,4 because of the limited longevity of information carriers and the software and hardware that make the stored information accessible to users.

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The Penguin Atlas Of D-Day by JOHN MANN

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