The following is the text of the presentation on cross border issues in digital presentation made by Barbara Szczepanska of EiFL, also a member of the LIBER Copyright Working Group at the IFLA side event at SCCR27 at WIPO in Geneva.
I will talk about digital preservation and shared infrastructures for preservation. Digital preservation is a very resource-intensive task, which requires advanced technical infrastructure for storage, management and access to the digital objects. Preservation and digitization is also a costly process. Polish libraries estimate that the digitisation of objects might cost 1 euro per item, depending on the type and size of object. However, this cost not includs long term preservation.
Shared preservation infrastructures mean not only international cooperation but also collaborative work at the domestic level which goes beyond libraries walls.
I will give examples of two current collaborative projects of libraries from Poland and the Baltic states picked from a number of similar projects currently being undertaken. Both projects are focused on digital preservation but in the library and archive world it is not possible to separate preservation from access. So in fact, we preserve materials to make them accessible for our users and the broader public.
The first project is the polish Digital Library Framework dLibra developed by Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center. Today the network consists of more then 100 digital libraries from all over Poland, and provides access to almost 2 milions titles. Just recently, with financial and moral support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a new collection of documents related to the activities of Polonia and Poles abroad has been added to the network.
DLibra serves not only digital preservation purposes. Such a great number of texts creates a corpus which is used for linguistic, sociological and historical studies, unfortunately limited to the documents only which are in the public domain.
Each of the digital libraries uses the same software based on the same platform. This enables simultaneous searches to be carried out (federated search). Many of these libraries also use the same technical infrastructure provided and maintained by one regional library. Shared infrastructure eliminates duplication of efforts and lowers costs for libraries, most of which are publicly funded.
The second project comes from the Baltic states. Due to historical developments, quite a lot of materials relating to the cultural heritage of Latvia or Estonia are held by institutions of other countries. For instance, a lot of Latvian printed heritage is held by Tartu University in Estonia, which used to be the educational center of the Baltic region, as well as in St. Petersburg, which used to be the cultural (as well as de facto) capital of Russia until the Russian Revolution. Helsinki University library used to receive the legal deposit materials of the region during Tsarist Russia times.
Much of these materials, but not all, are in public domain. More recent examples can be found as well. A lot of Latvians had fled the country by the end of the World War 2, including many cultural sector workers. Today, it is almost impossible to find the rights holders, especially since these works have only a marginal commercial value.
Estonia, Latvia and Russia jointly cooperate on the project name E-archive which will form new collections based on already digitised materials, already in the public domain, related to the common history, culture and population of the region.
What makes these projects similar? Libraries in Poland, like many in the EU, use the exception provided in the Infosoc directive to digitise a copyrighted work (Article 5.2.c). To provide access to the digitized work, the library uses Article 5.3n in the Directive that allows access only at the library premises on dedicated terminals. So many libraries must digitise the same resources in order to preserve them and make them available to these particular library users. This leads to duplication of digitization efforts and duplication of costs. The work would be done much more efficiently by establishing a national or regional digital preservation network, and not by each institution digitally preserving its own collection. This could be easily done in cases where libraries and archives already share the same technical, secured infrastructure.
As EIFL and others from different countries indicated in their submission to the recent European Commission consultation on the copyright reform: “Libraries believe that duplication of costly digitization efforts, where an item is digitized several times by different university libraries and is available only on the premises of each particular library, is no longer feasible. Libraries believe that in the near future they will share infrastructures for digitization activities. This will include cross-border infrastructure. In this case, the activity of preservation would itself become a necessary cross-border activity”. That’s why we need legal instruments on a global scale.