Archives, digitisation and copyright: do archivists in the UK avoid risk through strict compliance with copyright law when they digitise their collections?

Stobo, Victoria (2019) Archives, digitisation and copyright: do archivists in the UK avoid risk through strict compliance with copyright law when they digitise their collections? PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The duration and complexity of copyright in relation to unpublished materials is contributing to a 20th century ‘black hole’ in the online historical record. Archives collect, preserve, and provide access to records of governments, businesses, communities and individuals: the raw evidence of transactions, activities and events that informs our understanding of the past. The transformative nature of online access to the archival record supports human rights, democracy, openness, transparency, accountability, culture, learning, research and innovation. Despite reform, the legal framework in the UK fails to provide a safe harbor for archives that could make comprehensive online access to the country’s rich and diverse archival holdings possible. This thesis presents the results of a survey of the UK archive sector that explores how copyright affects digitisation of collections, and analyses five digitisation projects at a variety of archive institutions, in order to better understand the decision-making processes and risk management strategies that make archive collections
containing third party rights materials available online, despite the tendency towards risk aversion within the archive sector. The thesis found that a small proportion of UK archives have made third-party rights holder material available online, supporting the view that the sector, in general, is risk averse in relation to third-party copyrights. However, evidence gathered suggests that approaches taken by less risk-averse institutions can be adapted to suit the needs of a wide-range of cultural heritage institutions, and best-practice guidance could have a significant impact on online access to 20th century collections. The study contributes baseline data on the sectoral approach to copyright, rights clearance and risk management, and how these approaches affect digitisation, in order to provide a starting point for further research and best-practice guidance for the UK archive sector.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: archives, digitisation, copyright, risk management.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Kretschmer, Prof. Martin and Anderson, Dr. Ian G.
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Ms. Victoria Stobo
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-73030
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 15:10
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2022 08:30
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.73030
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