Continuing with search, retrieval, indexing and archival

The British Library launched a new IP manifesto sometime Monday at a “fringe” event forming part of the annual Labour Party conference in the UK. You can also find further information on all this via this story on BBC News.

Here’s an extract from the IP manifesto:

As the Library prepares for legal deposit of digital
items we are discovering that DRMs can pose a real,
technical threat to our ability to conserve and give
access to the nation’s creative output now and in
the future. Contracts can also prevent users’
legitimate access to databases. In fact, twenty eight
out of thirty licences offered to the British Library
and selected randomly were found to be more
restrictive than rights that currently exist within
copyright law. It is of concern that, unchecked, this
trend will drastically undermine public access, thus
significantly undermining the strength and vitality
of our creative and education sectors.
â–  DRMs are given close to total legal protection
within the UK, with no practical processes allowing
for legal circumvention in the interests of disabled
access, long-term preservation or where the DRM
prevents fair-dealing use.
â–  DRMs do not have to expire, and can effectively
prevent the work entering into the public domain at
the expiry of the copyright period.
â–  Licences, rather than contracts of sale, are emerging
as the key transaction method in the digital
environment. The majority of these licences deliver
lower-level access and copying rights than are
available under existing copyright law.
We recommend that contract and DRMs /TPMs
are not allowed to undermine the longstanding
limitations and exceptions such as fair dealing in
UK law.
Fair dealing access and library privilege should
apply to the digital world as is the case in the
analogue one.
A book or its digital copy are both equally valid
and relevant research items yet there are different
opinions on the applicability of fair dealing.
Without clarity, access to material by researchers
and the public could be eroded as a price is
increasingly attached to more and more granular
levels of knowledge.

I think it’s a step in the right direction, but my concerns continue. It is good to know that new and better tools are coming along, that libraries and archivists are getting more and more engaged, but I do not see enough understanding of the mashup culture, of co-creation and of the way Generation M thinks.

One thought on “Continuing with search, retrieval, indexing and archival”

  1. JP

    to briefly respond directly to your final points, rather than specifically addressing the BL’s manifesto…

    – libraries and the mashup culture; and are part of our moves in that direction.

    – co-creation; the TDN itself ( is an effort to provide a community with the tools and capabilities to begin to express itself and its capabilities, and to share innovation across the current divide that often exists between customers of one systems vendor and another. As more apis move to join those at and as the barriers to use by non-librarians and non-library vendors fall still further, we begin to see an explosion in interesting library-powered mashups and applications such as LibraryThing and E41ST…

    One increasingly important issue, which touches on much of this, is that of Open Data. See for some more, but fundamentally the models of control that currently exist around libraries and their data need to change if the institutions are to play a meaningful role in the wider information landscape.

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