Monday, January 09, 2006

Preservation Readings 6 January 2006

Copyright Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Pre-1972 Commercial Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives. June M. Besek. Commissioned for and sponsored by the National Recording Preservation Board, Library of Congress. December 2005.

National Recording Preservation Board has been given the charge to study the state of audio preservation in the US. The Library of Congress is directed to create a comprehensive national plan for audio preservation. This 62 page document is part of that process. Before February 15 1972, federal copyright law did not protect sound recordings, though there are other laws in effect. There are various aspects of copyright discussed. US Code 108 allows libraries or archives to make up to three copies

of an unpublished copyrighted work ‘solely for purposes of preservation and security or for deposit for research use in another library or archives’. The work must be in the of the library collection, and the digital copy may not be made available to the public in that format outside the library premises. Other relevant sections include fair use, first sale doctrine, orphaned works, distance education, ephemeral copying, archival preservation, and some state laws. This article also looks at questions such as
· May Libraries Rely on Others to Make Digital Copies?
· Are Collaborative Digital Preservation Projects Permissible?
· Use of Digital Preservation and Replacement Copies
· Interactive, On-Demand Streaming, & Webcasting

On Technological Protection Issues: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prohibits circumventing a technological measure that “effectively controls access” to a copyrighted work. There is no exception for archiving, nor is there a general “fair use” type exception in the statute. There is an administrative method for handling exceptions. “If an archives has legally defensible reasons for seeking to circumvent access controls, it could seek an exemption pursuant to the rule-making procedure.” “Technological protections are a potential hindrance to certain library preservation and replacement activities and may require a legislative solution.” Preservation efforts are hampered by legal restrictions. How should a library proceed? Some ways are discussed, such as choosing projects where the risk is low, make copies for preservation but not for current use, focus on older recordings, provide an opt-out mechanism, stream recordings only to other libraries or archives.

“The copyright law has historically granted special privileges to libraries and archives to enable preservation of our cultural and intellectual heritage, and there is every reason to believe that it will continue to adapt to preserve these privileges in the digital world, balancing the needs of libraries and archives with the legitimate interests of right holders. A new study group has been formed to consider the exceptions for libraries and archives in the copyright law and to make recommendations by mid-2006 for possible changes to reflect new technologies.”


Perspectives on Trustworthy Information. H.M. Gladney. Digital Document Quarterly. December 2005.

For some, digital preservation means “measures to mitigate the deleterious effects of technology obsolescence, media degradation, and fading human memory.” Others appear to have a broader definition. Using a different phrase for different meanings makes it difficult to understand the topic. Cost estimating should include professional accountants because of their expertise with this. Comparing digital preservation costs between different institutions will be difficult because:
· Costing assumptions differ between institutions, such as the cost of labor, how costs are allocated between projects that share resources, etc.
· Comparing the cost of digital preservation with paper preservation may not work because the objectives may be different
· The cost of facilities to store paper are very different from the ability to store digital items
· The “bottom line” number might not be the most important result of cost estimation. In contrast, the organizational and technical insights accumulated in the exercise can have enduring utility.

There is a hesitancy by many to use checklists such as the Audit Guidelines, because most find them too time consuming and tedious. But there are many detailed requirements needed, so there really is no alternative.

There is slow progress toward practical digital preservation systems. The reasons may be partitioning systems into components, and failing to understand existing software and the additions needed. There are over 70 non-commercial repository packages, too many to really for the marketplace. Most commercial packages are not aware of even the leading non-commercial software. “Much of the current work on digital repositories seems wasteful because it reproduces what might be acquired at less expense than its likely development costs.”


Your Data At Risk Why you should be worried about preserving electronic records. The National Council on Archives. September 2005.

This report is a good overview of digital preservation and is aimed at those who direct information management organizations in the UK, but it is useful to all. “Sustainable digital preservation of records successfully requires a strategic direction and policy commitment from the top of the organisation that translates into operational effectiveness below that level.” “Digital preservation is about a series of actions that need to be taken and managed to make sure there is continued access to digital materials for as long as is necessary.” Digital materials are more ephemeral than traditional materials; they need to be cared for and preserved. This is about cultural memory, but also is needed for a healthy democracy. This is an important part of good records management. It ensures that information is authentic and reliable.

More than just a technological need, the main issue is knowing what you have, what to keep, and how to organize it. “You can’t preserve a record without managing it first.” Preservation requires strategy, structure, processes and responsibility for the entire organization. In addition, it needs clear communication and collaboration from the point of creation. Digital reservation needs the skills of records managers and archivists to select, identify and manage records. They must be involved in the process at the outset—this is critical. The costs to preserve the record cannot be separated from the cost to make it accessible. These costs are an investment and will save money in the long run.
· Developing a Digital Preservation Strategy and a budget
· Identifying a senior management team champion


Broadcom unveils chip that plays Blu-Ray, HD-DVD. Tom Krazit. Computerworld. January 03, 2006.,10801,107441,00.html?source=NLT_SU&nid=107441

To avoid incompatibilities, Broadcom Corp. has introduced a chip with technology will allow PCs or DVD players to play video recorded with either the Blu-ray or HD-DVD standard. The chip will support the H.264 and VC-1 recording standards, used by Blu-Ray and HD DVD, as well as the high-definition MPEG-2 format.

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