The research library community has little strong or reliable data on the number of unique books in our collections and their "rights"—for example, whether they are in the public domain or in-copyright and, if in-copyright, whether they are orphan works. At its foundation, this problem is created by the dearth of reliable bibliographic information, or what I've been calling bibliographic indeterminacy. For example, we'd like to know how large the "collective collection" of all (or even just all North American) research libraries is, and how many unique volumes research libraries hold in aggregate; otherwise, there's no way to know the cost of digitizing or caring for these materials. We'd also like to have a better handle on the question of what's in the public domain and, by extension, what's in copyright. We'd like to know how many orphan works there are, or perhaps what proportion of the digitized content we have online is likely to be orphans. And while these questions and more are regularly part of the conversation around digital collection building, they're also relevant to more conventional library problems such as print storage and particularly shared print storage. We...Read more
Digital technologies are changing the way researchers work and the research that can be done. Some researchers are using and developing advanced information and communication technologies (ICT) to answer challenging new research questions. Others have little awareness of the potential technologies might offer their research. How do institutions support researchers who may span both ends of this spectrum? This briefing paper reports on the findings of a recent JISC-funded study that set out to answer this question.