This paper will explore a key question for historians today: what are the politics of cultural heritage digitisation and its implications for historical research? And how to assess this from a global perspective? In a research environment that increasingly privileges what is available online, the questions of why, where, and how we can access what we can access, and how it affects historical research have become ever more urgent. My talk will outline a framework through which to contextualize the politics of (digital) heritage preservation, and a model to analyze its most important political dimensions. To add some historical perspective, I will put this discussion in the broader context of the ways in which technology has shaped historical research practices and knowledge production, not just in the past two decades but in fact already since the late 19th century.