There is a growing awareness for the incomparable value and the need for protection of our written heritage – not least as a result of the devastating catastrophes that have occurred in recent years. A vivid example of this is provided by the setting up of emergency associations, which are concerned with the recovery and proper storage of documents in the event of an accident.

There already exist today dedicated projects both on federal and state level for the purpose of preserving and restoring works under threat, whose effectiveness, however, remains project-oriented and regionally limited. As a consequence, the existing, often selective efforts are not sufficient to protect all the threatened documents from destruction throughout Germany in a sustainable and effective manner.

The long-term protection and preservation of collections is only possible on a solid strategic basis. And the KEK is developing this basis. The master plan to be developed for the national preservation of collections should reflect an integrative approach, thereby creating synergy effects to synchronise the parallel activities at the state level. In doing so, it will support the development of action plans and innovative methods and economically realise them according to state-of-the-art science technologies. At the same time, the KEK will represent a platform for the mutual exchange of the initiators.

At the federal level, occupationally organised committees in the Conference of Archive Experts (ARK) and the German Library Association (dbv) deal with collection preservation issues. The members of the permanent „Collection Preservation” expert committee of the ARK come to an agreement on specialist questions of overriding interest. Position papers and recommendations from the ARK’s collection preservation committee are accordingly available. The Collection Preservation Working Group in the German Library Association e.V. (dbv) is in close contact to existing collection preservation networks and maintains a connection to the current research via advanced training events.

The Collection Preservation Forum at the Münster University and State Library is a net-based communication instrument for anybody interested or active in the field of collection preservation. Until summer 2013 the forum provided extensive online information on collection preservation topics. The centrepiece of the forum is a provider database containing all relevant addresses on collection preservation.

A comprehensive initiative overview will soon be available in our website.