Digital preservation planning in a library association chapter

Digital preservation planning in a library association chapter

The DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association

As Archivist of the DC Chapter, I lead the Archives Committee in archival and digital preservation initiatives. After a period of limited-to-no activity, our primary goal is to plan strategy and set in place policies and procedures for present and future preservation and collection management.

Where we are now

This year, we developed several areas of work that we would like to accomplish, including drawing up a Collections Management Policy document with a Digital Preservation plan; contributing to the upcoming 75th Anniversary in ways that best suit an archive; and updating and adding to the somewhat skimpy physical collection.

This week, we will present some strategic questions to the Chapter Board, as well as some ideas about how the Archives can contribute to the Chapter’s 75th Anniversary celebrations.

Specifically, we want to focus on opening channels for donations of physical materials, and answering questions about appropriate access and materials for our digital preservation strategy, as well as finding out what digital preservation infrastructure/systems/storage/planning/capturing is already in place.

Digital preservation – part of archival preservation strategy

Starting out this year, my focus was on digital preservation, because it seemed we already had a good physical collection in place. Since then, I have discovered that our physical archives could, in fact, use more attention. Given the meagerness of it, and the lack of Committee documentation to tell us what has been done in the past to collect materials, we have expanded our scope to create a comprehensive Collections Management Policy that includes guidelines and procedures for digital preservation.

Not reinventing the wheel

Continue reading


My day job right now involves creating a LibGuide called “Online Reference Shelf.” It provides basic reference resources to library patrons, including dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, search engines, news, biographies, thesauri, travel, and weather information.

One of my tasks is to research the resources, to determine if they are the best, unique, or most relevant to library patrons.

Today I worked on thesauri. To find out what kind of resource provides in its Roget’s Thesaurus, I staged a trial search. I asked my coworker to tell me a word, any word. When he started thinking about it, I asked him to pick the first one that comes to mind. He chose “infatuation.”

The following are Roget’s results.


Together, I think they do a decent job of defining infatuation. What do you think? 😉

Copyright for Beginners: Notes from a Seminar

On 11 September 2012, I attended a seminar titled “Critical Copyright Issues for Corporate Librarians and Information Professionals,” presented by Robert Weisberg of Access Copyright, and hosted by the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI).

In the following post, I will record my notes from the session, which may or may not be helpful to others in understanding today’s copyright issues. I will also provide some external sources with more detailed information, for those who want to read further.

Copyright 101

  • Copyright provides incentive for creation and dissemination.
  • Intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, industrial designs (such as the shape of chairs) can be copyrighted.
  • Grants copyright owners the exclusive right to decide what others may do with their intellectual property/works.
  • Copyright protects the expression of an idea; original works.
  • Once, this meant the fixed expression – how is the definition of “fixed” expression changing? (this question is one often pondered by book historians)
  • Traditional works and neighboring or associated rights, i.e., the modification/change of the type of expression (VHS -> DVD?)
  • Copyright law includes the term “technology neutral,” which supposedly provides for changes in types of works (e.g. VHS -> DVD)
  • Databases, as new venues for expression, are tricky. The ideas and facts expressed in databases are not copyrightable, but if the database expresses or organizes them in a unique way, that expression may be copyrightable.
  • Copyright law includes the phrase: “exercise of skill and judgement” in determining what works may be considered. This can include the level of creativity invested in the work.
  • Copyright ownership means that the author is presumed the first owner, except in the cases of photographs, Crown publications, and work created in the course of employment.

Economic and Moral Rights

  • Economic rights protect $$$
  • Moral rights protect the personality or reputation of the author, including attribution, integrity, and association.

Robertson v. Thompson Corporation (2006)

Main factor in the ruling on this case: decontextualization.


  • Images, graphs, charts, and diagrams: Do publishers have the right to use the image independently of the publication?
  • Assignment: when the assignee becomes the new owner.
  • License: (exclusive or non-exclusive) Permission to use or do something with a work that would be otherwise illegal – licenses can be spread among a number of content providers.
  • Moral rights: May not be assigned, but may be waived.

Copyright Infringement

  • Is anything not allowed or consented to by the owner.
  • Includes authorizing, and secondary infringement.
  • After infringement occurs, the common solution is to renegotiate a license with penalties for the culprit.
  • Exceptions to statutory infringement: Libraries, archives, and museums, which can copy copyrighted works for the purposes of preservation (to prevent deterioration, for out-of-print works), and for patron research and private study.
  • Fair Dealing: Consists of two steps: 1) determine if the purpose qualifies as non-infringing. 2) Is the dealing fair? Consider: purpose, character, amount, alternatives, nature, effect.

Copyright Modernization Act / Bill C-11

  • Technical protection measures: access controls vs. copy controls. Copy controls are used on CDs and DVDS – for personal use, can be broken. Access controls are incredibly protected.
  • Exception for non-commercial user-generated content (UGC)
  • Recent Supreme Court decisions: downloading vs. streaming. Downloading does not require a license, while streaming does. (Ever wonder why Netflix removes movies from their streaming library?)

Challenges (for info pros and corporate librarians)

  • tracking use, ownership access
  • tracking content owned by an organization
  • onus is on the people using the copyrighted content

Notices and Licenses

  • All rights reserved – can do nothing with the property
  • study and research is often encouraged in licenses
  • Creative Commons licenses (e.g. Flickr)
  • Open Access
  • Print: check copyright pages, mastheads
  • Databases, content delivery services: check legal terms and conditions of agreement with the content provider

Discussion/ Q&A

  • Digital Millenium Copyright Act in the States
  • Orphan works
  • Conference proceedings are something to be concerned about

For Further Reading

  1. About Copyright in the United States (2012)
  2. A brief summary from SLA on the recent changes to Canadian copyright law (Harris, L.E., 2012)
  3. About U.S., Canadian, and international copyright laws (2012)
  4. Canadian copyright news and information from Access Copyright (2010)
  5. Ontario Court of Appeals record for the Robertson vs. Thompson Corporation case (2004)
  6. On copyright ownership of class notes (Kunvay, 2012)

What the Wall Street Journal has to say about unemployment rates for LIS graduates

I just found this study on unemployment rates for how “various college majors fare in the job market, based on 2010 Census data” (WSJ)*. I have included the sections most relevant for LIS students and graduates:

(Column 1: Degree Name; Column 2: Unemployment Rate; Column 3: 25th% Earnings; Column 4: Median Earnings; Column 5: 75th% Earnings; Column 6: Popularity)**

WSJ Unemployment Chart for Information and Library Science graduate degrees

The future looks much rosier for Information Science students than for Library Science students. First: I am glad that I am earning a Master of Information, and Second: I am definitely going to market myself that way.

Some Questions:

1. What is meant by “Library Science” degrees vs. “Information Science” degrees? It looks as though the former category is/mostly consists of library technician degrees, but is that the case?

2. What do the popularity numbers mean?

Answer: The degree programs are numbered in order, according to popularity within the list. They do not appear to be percentages. This also means that the higher numbers correspond to the more popular degrees.

3. What are the comparative numbers for Canada?

*See this link for the full table

**The formatting defeated me. Click on the table for a larger version.