Problems in the permanent retention of electronic records

…is the name of the first class I’m taking as a doctoral student. There are several issues here, all of them worth writing about here or in a “real” publication. ^_^; It’s keeping me busy, particularly examing the software issues associated with automating crawling, saving, and archiving websites and having to worry about archival standards of authenticity. (Future subjects: how digital archives and records management differ, authenticity and integrity of electronic archives, determining the authenticity of an archived dynamic web site, intellectual property issues in absolutely everything).

Copyright issues are also keeping me busy. I may address a conference in South Texas in May. I need to work on ALA’s library copyright website. I’ll be addressing a few classes here this semester. There are some very interesting copyright issues that I’ll need to look at right away. The iSchool is currently working on a project for the Harry Ransom Center, currently in possession of some 1950s interviews of some very famous people by another famous person. I don’t know how much I can write about this publicly yet, so I’ll hold off. However, the copyright implications are really fascinating. There are several contracts involved, some of them pre-Internet. There are contractual materials that have been lost in various disasters. The original company that owned the interviews does not exist. The assumed owner has licensed HRC to do various things with the records. People at our school will be digitizing the materials, creating trascripts and digitizing already created transcripts, and creating derivative works that allow searching, indexing, and so on of the transcript+video.And then the plan is to put at least some of these materials online… staggering. ^_^

In other news, the fact that “libraries” and “archives” are not legally defined in US Law comes up so often that the Section 508 Group formed by the Library of Congress to address the problems in 508 will be having roundtable discussions involving the issue, as well as a variety of subjects involving digital copyright.