• Where are all the orphans? How effective is current legislation in enabling cultural heritage institutions to make orphan works available online?

    Thomas Ash (see profile)
    CityLIS, Library & Information Science
    Copyright, Digital libraries, Library materials--Digitization, Archival materials--Digitization, Library science, Information science
    Item Type:
    City University of London
    Digitization, Library & Information Science, orphanworks, Digital archives, Digitisation, Library and information science
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    The purpose of this study is to explore whether the current UK legislation on orphan works, in the form of an EU exception and an orphan works license scheme, is effective in enabling the mass digitization of orphan works by cultural heritage organisations. The research covers the barriers faced by cultural heritage organisations wishing to digitize orphan works, the scale of the orphan works problem, the approach taken to orphan works prior to the introduction of the legislation, and the nature of the diligent search requirements of the directive and license scheme. The project uses a mixed methods approach to conduct primary research that explores the extent of adoption of the orphan works schemes amongst cultural heritage organisations. The study took a mixed methods approach combining an online questionnaire with interviews of information professionals with knowledge of digitising orphan works, to capture a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data about the digitisation of orphan works by UK institutions. The study shows that neither scheme has been widely adopted amongst UK cultural heritage organisations with the majority of organisations taking a risk managed approach to digitisation of orphan works. It finds that the requirements for diligent search are a key barrier to the adoption and use of the schemes. It also shows that the cost of clearing rights, diligent search and licensing are a significant obstacle, reflecting previous research in this area. The survey was limited to the UK Cultural Heritage Institutions, and the overall sample size was small. A future study could include views from the Intellectual Property Office and professional bodies such as CILIP. Originality: This is the first mixed methods study into orphan works, since the introduction of the current legislation. It presents a mix of qualitative and quantitative data, which could be built upon in future studies.
    Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc in Library Science at City, University of London.
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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