Tag Archives: Preservation

The EU Copyright Reform: Battles Won, Bullets Dodged, and the Questions that Remain

The text adopted yesterday at the Council, after the Parliament’s vote on 26 March, comes after years of discussion.

The Commission’s proposal released in 2016 has been reviewed and voted upon in five parliamentary committees, at the plenary of the European Parliament, at several levels within the Council, and through trilogue discussions among the Council, the Parliament and the Commission.

IFLA and its partners have engaged in every step of the process to ensure the best results possible for our sector. There are also a number of very good analyses out there, not least those produced by our partner organisations.

This blog, rather than looking to give a comprehensive overview of the legislation, looks at the battles that libraries have, together, won, the bullets we have dodged, and the questions that remain. These last will be important, with the effort to ensure the right rules for libraries now moving to the national level. You can access the final agreed text here.



First of all, the battles won – those areas where we have seen a significant improvement on the text originally proposed by the Commission in September 2016. Through the work of a number of committed Members of the European Parliament, and supportive Member States, there have been important steps forward in some key areas:

  1. Extension of the mandatory text and data mining (TDM) exception to all libraries and cultural heritage institutions (Article 3): originally, the Commission proposed that only research organisations could benefit. However, research libraries may have faced a lack of certainty, and other libraries and cultural heritage institutions would have been excluded, forced to seek licences in order to carry out analysis on the works they hold. Now they can.
  2. A second and broader mandatory TDM exception, applicable to any individual or institution (Article 4): the first version of the TDM provision created extensive uncertainty by trying to distinguish between types of mining which would and wouldn’t be allowed. The final version of the Directive makes TDM exceptions mandatory in all Member States, for all users with legal access, albeit with some smaller limitations. See below for more.
  3. Clarity on cross-border networks of collaboration for preservation (Recital 28): while the need for cultural heritage institutions to work across borders in order to make the most of digitisation equipment was mentioned in the original impact assessment, the first version of the Directive failed to make it clear that such networks were possible. Now it does.
  4. Application of contract override to preservation (Article 7(1)): libraries can be prevented from carrying out preservation activities when the terms of the licences under which works are accessed state otherwise. The original Directive did not address this issue. Now it does.
  5. A wider number of purposes acceptable under digitisation for preservation (Article 6, Recital 27): preservation does not only imply taking a copy of a particularly vulnerable work. Cataloguing, insuring and even lending to another institution for preservation work may also require copies to be made. Improvements to the Directive have offered a greater indication that these are possible under an exception, although libraries will need to work at the national level to ensure these are covered.
  6. A fall-back exception for out-of-commerce works where no collective management organisation exists for a specific category of work in a given country (Article 8(2)): the grand plan in the original Directive was to allow for extended collective licensing of out-of-commerce works? But what about the many sectors and countries where there isn’t a representative, well-governed collecting society to run this, or they don’t have the right mandates? Thanks to the new exception, libraries can now also find a way to digitise and make available works which aren’t available on the market.
  7. Stronger conditions on when a country can opt out of the education exception (Article 5(2)): the original proposal left a lot of scope for Member States to disapply the new education exception and allow licensing to prevail. However, it is clear that many educational licences are not fit for purpose. The final version of the Directive puts the onus on Member States to ensure that before an exception is taken away, licences have to offer a realistic solution.
  8. Protection of the public domain (Article 14): recent cases have seen actors take simple photos of works which have long been in the public domain and claim copyright. This can represent a barrier to their spread, as key texts and images risk being subject to infringement proceedings. The final version of the Directive makes it clear that straightforward reproductions of works in the public domain cannot themselves claim copyright.
  9. A clear possibility to have broader limitations and exceptions (Article 25): the tendency in international copyright law is to favour higher levels of protection of rights, rather than greater scope to pursue public interest goals through exceptions. However, in the final version of the Directive, it is made clear that Member States should feel able to go further if they want.
  10. Extension of education exception to uses by educators in other settings (Article 5(1)): the original version of the directive allowed for teachers to use digital works in the classroom, or online. This potentially restricts the ability of educators to offer courses in libraries and elsewhere. The final version of the Directive clarifies that this is possible under the exception (or licences if applicable).



In the course of the discussions, a number of ideas emerged which would have seriously limited the effect of the new rules, and indeed have created dangerous precedents both for Europe and the rest of the world. Fortunately, they didn’t stick:

  1. Obligation to delete datasets created for text and data mining (Article 3): a number of MEPs tried to argue that if copies of articles and other materials were made in machine-readable formats for text and data mining, these needed to be destroyed afterwards in order to prevent against misuse. This (once again) makes the lazy assumption that exceptions are more or less the same thing as piracy (wrong), and would have meant that experiments carried out with TDM could not be reproduced.
  2. Scientific publications in the scope of the new rights for online press publications (Article 2(4)): in one European Parliament committee, there was an to extend the new planned press publishers right extended to scientific publications. This did not make sense, given the very different market conditions there (not least the fact that authors are not paid for their work). Fortunately, MEPs saw sense and rejected this proposal.
  3. Continued over-protection of technological protection measures (Article 7(2)): the original Directive took the refreshing step of arguing that technological protection measures (TPMs) which prevent the enjoyment of exceptions (for example copying for preservation) should not themselves enjoy legal protection, even for licenced (as opposed to purchased) works. The European Parliament tried to reverse this, leaving any work accessed under licence potentially tied up in TPMs. This proposal did not make it to the final version.
  4. No possibility to cumulate exceptions and limitations (Article 7): a further effort sought to overturn the (highly restricted) TU Darmstadt ruling. This established that it is possible to combine exceptions, as long as these continue to respect the three-step test. Despite this obvious safeguard, rightholders tried to add in a new clause that would prevent ‘stacking’, but which would have at the same time had a huge impact on disciplines such as digital humanities. It didn’t make it.
  5. Automatic right for publishers to benefit from public lending right at the expense of authors (Article 16(2)): one often-overlooked article in the Directive served to protect collective management organisations who had been paying out shares of copying revenues to publishers. Following the Reprobel case in the Court of Justice of the European Union, they risked having to pay this money out to authors instead – the Directive therefore underlines that publishers can claim a share. There were efforts during the negotiation of the Directive to extend this to public lending right, which would have seen authors in a number of countries lose revenue to publishers. The final version leaves the choice to Member States.
  6. Library repositories being covered by new rules on platform liability (Article 2(6)): the first version of Article 13 (now 17) would have meant that any site hosting large volumes of user uploaded content would need to implement filters to check for infringement, or face liability. This would have placed a huge burden on scientific and open education repositories, which play a vital role in giving access to materials. Thanks to extensive work, there is now a clear exception for these, alongside sites such as Wikipedia.
  7. Libraries and individuals being obliged to pay for uses of short snippets of press publications (Article 15(1)): while clearly aimed at GoogleNews, the original version of the Directive gave very broad application to the Press Publishers Right, with non-commercial users such as libraries potentially liable to pay. This would have potentially had a major impact on research work done by librarians for users, as well as catalogues and libguides. Fortunately, the new Directive is clear that non-commercial users are not affected.
  8. Works can only be declared out of commerce when all versions, manifestations and translations are no longer on sale (Article 8(5)): the original version of the Directive indicated that a work could only come under the new provisions when all versions, manifestations and translations were no longer on sale. This would have seriously limited the impact of the Directive, given that different language versions are not necessarily interchangeable, and that researchers may well need a specific edition, and so cannot complete their work with a substitute that is still on sale.
  9. 20-Year duration for press publishers’ rights (Article 15(4)): the first version of the Directive gave press publishers a right for 20 years, despite any evidence of this being proportionate or justified. This would have seriously limited the work of libraries working with the press, as well as research into recent history. In the end, the duration of the right was limited to two years.
  10. Retroactive effect of the new press publishers’ right (Article 15(4): at first, a lack of clarity in the text could have implied that even existing publications would benefit from the new possibilities. This would have put into question work already done using this material, bringing major new uncertainty. The final version of the Directive is clear that there is no retroactive effect.



As is almost always the case with European legislation, a lot comes down to transposition – the steps taken to turn EU rules into national ones. An added factor in this is the lack of precision in many parts of the Directive. This is inevitable, and offers opportunities to ensure positive outcomes. At the same time, it also means that libraries will need to play close attention.

Here are ten more things to watch out for:

  1. Rules around permissible security measures in text and data mining (Article 3(3)): the Directive underlines that rightholders are allowed to take security measures in order to protect their works. At the same time, this should not lead to the cancelling out of the TDM exception in the first place. Finding the right balance here – and preventing overly restrictive approaches – will be important if the exception is to have its full effect.
  2. Rules around opting out of text and data mining for all individuals and institutions (Article 4(3)): as highlighted above, a major step forwards was the mandatory TDM exception for the benefit of people and organisations outside of research centres, libraries and cultural heritage institutions (if they have legal access to the works mined). There is a catch here, in that rightholders can explicitly state that they do not want their works mined. It will be important to work with Member States to ensure that the rules around this are specific enough to mean that opting out is the exception, not the rule.
  3. Definition of who can benefit from the education exception (Recital 20): despite our efforts, the education exception formally still only applies to educational establishments, although it can be used (under the authority of a formal education institution) in libraries and cultural heritage institutions. There is, nonetheless, a possibility to ensure that libraries (or groups that offer training and support to people in libraries) are recognised as educational establishments in national law. This would open up useful new possibilities for libraries to fulfil their potential as places for learning.
  4. Application of the opt-out from the education exception (Article 5(2)): as highlighted above, there is the possibility for Member States to decide that the new education exception does not apply in situations where there are licences adapted for educational uses on offer. There is likely to be extensive rightholder lobbying in favour of excluding broad categories of works from the exception. It will be up to libraries and educators to ensure that the conditions laid down by the Directive (that licences are ‘suitable’, ‘cover the needs and specificities of educational establishments’ and are ‘easily available’) are fulfilled.
  5. Application of the exceptions in the out of commerce works exception (Article 8(3)): a major area for work will be how to define where cultural heritage institutions need to ask for licences, and where they can benefit from the exception in order to digitise and make available out-of-commerce works. It will be up to member states to decide what it means for a collective management organisation to be ‘sufficiently representative of rightholders in the relevant type of works or other subject matter and of the rights that are the subject of the licence’.
  6. Application of rules to out-of-commerce works by third country nationals (Article 8(7)): one weakness of the Directive is the focus on trying to ensure that works by people from outside the European Union are not covered by new rules on out of commerce works. For many European countries, this will be difficult, given that they use major world languages, and so telling the difference between a French and a Quebecois work, for example, may be difficult. Member States will need to take a sensible approach to this point.
  7. Application of the definition of a good faith search on whether a work is in commerce (Article 8(5)): the Directive suggests that before a work can be declared out-of-commerce, a ‘reasonable effort’ must be made to ensure that it is not available to the public through normal commercial channels. Given the difficulties already encountered around the Orphan Works Directive, it will be important to ensure that national implementation does not create disproportionate obligations on cultural heritage institutions.
  8. Definition of which works can be preserved under the preservation exception and of the activities and purposes covered (Article 6, Recital 27): the Directive’s preservation exception, as set out above, does allow for copying for preservation purposes, while leaving the possibility for Member States to pass other exceptions and limitations for internal uses. There is, therefore, a key opportunity to ask for exceptions that allow for any core library uses of works to be covered.
  9. Management of the dialogues planned for the text and data mining exception, the out of commerce works provisions and the upload filters provision (Articles 3(4), 11, 17(10)): a number of articles provide for dialogues between stakeholders on how the rules should be applied. It will be necessary to pay attention to the composition, terms of reference and other aspects of these discussions in order to ensure that the results reflect the interest of libraries and their users. This will, in particular, be the case around protection of freedom of expression under the provisions on platform liability.
  10. Protecting the quotation exception (Article 15): The press publishers’ right creates a worrying precedent for protection being given to ‘short extracts of a work’. This risks affecting how legislators and courts think of the concept of quotation in general, as well as criticism and review. While the scope of the Article in the Directive is narrow, the precedent is certainly worrying.

For more, see our resources page about the European reforms. You can also see analysis and reaction by our partner organisations:

LIBER: New European Copyright Directive: A Detailed Look

EBLIDA: Long Read : Final stretch for the Digital Single Market Directive

SPARC Europe: A new Copyright Legislation for Europe. How will this impact Open Access?

EUA: EU Copyright Directive: EUA cautious about adopted agreement

Of Nuts and Sledgehammers: Why MEPs Should Choose their Tools Wisely in Copyright Reform

Graphic for sledgehammers and nutsThe European Parliament’s vote on the draft copyright directive next Wednesday is likely to be the last chance for transparent discussion on the substance of a reform that has been years in the making. It is also a last chance for libraries to reach out to and influence Members of the European Parliament.

A key message will be that European law-makers must choose wisely, and ensure that they are creating rules that are targeted, proportionate, and respect the public interest.

The Draft Copyright Directive

The last wide-ranging piece of EU copyright legislation dates to 2001. Since then, we have seen new technologies and expectations from users, dramatic evolutions in the market for music and media, and an explosion in the amount of copyrighted material produced every day online.

The draft Directive seeks to take stock of these changes, addressing questions around text and data mining, digital education, preservation, use of works which are no longer on sale, rights of press publishers and the obligations of content-sharing platforms, amongst other issues.

The debate has been intense, with a particular focus on Google and YouTube. It has, often, come across as a dramatic struggle between big technology companies and creators.

The problem with this approach is that tends to lead to dramatic solutions – sledgehammers to crack nuts. This blog illustrates just two areas where such dramatic solutions are being proposed, and the harm that they risk doing to libraries and their users.


Repositories are not YouTube

Perhaps the most contentious part of the Directive has been Article 13, which deals with the responsibility of content-sharing platforms to remove copyright-infringing materials uploaded by users.

While this covers commercial operations such as YouTube, other sites, such as educational and scientific repositories run by libraries and others also help people share their work. As such, they risk falling under the same rules.

For example, scientific repositories are a vital part of the infrastructure for open access. They host copies of research articles – often pre-print (i.e. not final) versions – allowing people who aren’t registered at the wealthiest universities or research institutions to have access. For doctors, individual researchers, and people in developing countries, this can be essential.

Educational repositories play a major role in spreading Open Educational Resources (OERs). These offer exciting possibilities for teachers to find and use materials which may be better tailored to their needs than traditional textbooks.

The repositories that host these materials are clearly working in the public interest, and are often hosted by libraries, education or research institutions. As concerns their size, resources, and objectives, they have little in common with YouTube.

However, the draft Directive risks treating them in the same way, placing the same regulations and responsibilities upon them. While YouTube can deal with this, it is hard to imagine repositories working on small budgets, and a strong aversion to legal risk, doing the same. See our blog on the risks around Article 13 and filtering for more.


Libraries are not Pirates

The desire to fight piracy of copyrighted content extends beyond Article 13. Elsewhere in the directive, organisations representing certain rightholders have made major efforts to impose restrictions on what libraries can do, claiming that this will help limit infringement.

For example, proposals on text and data mining (TDM) could make it very easy to restrict access to materials on the grounds of security, or force researchers to delete the datasets they create as part of the process. Such steps would create a major disincentive to invest time and effort in TDM.

Why do so when access to materials is uncertain, when the work that goes into structuring data will be lost, and when others will not be able to verify the results? Libraries already take care to respect copyright, and do not need further restrictions.

Similarly, there have been major efforts to prevent libraries from taking preservation copies of works held on third-party servers. In a digital world, this is the case for a growing share of what libraries offer their users. Excluding these eBooks, articles and other materials undermines a core mission of libraries, and increases the risk that these works in question being lost in future.

Finally, an amendment proposed to Article 6 of the directive would stop libraries using more than one exception at once. In practical terms, libraries would have to choose between taking a preservation copy of a work, carrying out text and data mining on it, or using it for teaching.

This would be a bizarre situation, with libraries forced to select which of their public interest missions they want to fulfil with works in their collections. It is also unnecessary, as whatever libraries do is still governed by copyright law, and in particular the obligation not to cause unjustified prejudice to rightholders. Libraries should not be forced to choose.


There are other areas where misguided rule-making risks doing more harm than good. Indeed, there is a strong argument that it is competition law, not copyright, that provides the best response to the market dominance of just a few major platforms.

While we will have to wait to see if Europe’s competition authorities act in this area. In the meanwhile – and particularly next Wednesday, it will be important to ensure that European law-makers choose their tools wisely.

5 ways to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity

21 May is the World Day for Cultural Diversity established by the UN in 2002. The day promotes cultural diversity and dialogues among nations, people and cultures.

In 2015 IFLA, in partnership with UNESCO, published The Multicultural Library – a gateway to a cultural diverse society in dialogue. Libraries serve diverse interests and communities, they function as learning, cultural, and information centres, addressing cultural and linguistic diversity serving all members of the community.

This day is an opportunity to learn and understand the value of cultural diversity. Here’s five things you can do to embrace cultural diversity

1.Visit a library exhibition dedicated to other cultures

Libraries around the world support cultural diversity and have large collections and even exhibitions on a variety of cultures and cultural heritage. For example at the National Library of South Africa the exhibition ”Treasure House of Knowledge” show cases 300 of the institutes national treasures including a 10th century illuminated gospel book, Solomon T Plaatje’s translation of Julius Caesar into Tswana and letters from Olive Schreiner to Mahatma Gandhi during a time of turbulence in South Africa.

2. Talk to someone from another religion or culture to share views on life

They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover! The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers. There are Human Library events in libraries all over the world, where you can meet books such as the Refugee, the Muslim and the Convert. The Human Library supports dialogue between people, and let you learn more about other religions and cultures.

3. Read a book from another country than your own

There a plenty of languages that have nothing translated into other languages, and in countries such as the UK only 4.5 % of poetry, fiction and drama works are translations. In 2015 a movement started, having one goal: to read one book from every country in the world. The aim was to learn about different countries, cultures and people. Watch the TED talk how it all started and find the list of books from all over the world.

4. Learn about the diversity of cultures in your own country

In many countries libraries provides a historical glimpse of the country and its indigenous people. At the Native Hawaiian Library they offer services such as story telling, oral history and book launches. You can browse through Hawaiian language newspapers published between 1834 and 1948 and learn about history and language.

You can of course also ask your local librarian help you seek out the most important texts from thinkers of other cultures such as Socrates, Aristotle and Rumi.

5. Explore music from a different culture

Your local library will have a wide range of music pieces that you can borrow. Try to pick up something that you wouldn’t usually listen to, or browse through the online collection of Europeana where you can explore music recordings and other music items from across Europe.

Commonalities and Convergence: Celebrating the International Day of Museums

Adapted from British Museum Reading Room Panorama Feb 2006

Adapted from British Museum Reading Room Panorama Feb 2006, CC-BY 2.5 Diliff https://bit.ly/2wQYIkL

‘Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples’.


In its description of the core value of museums for International Museums Day, the International Council on Museums (ICOM) makes it easy to draw parallels with the work of libraries. Our institutions are far from just being storehouses, but are places where ideas, creativity and knowledge are accessed, shared, and applied.


As ICOM sets out, this contributes to understanding, cooperation and peace. IFLA’s own work underlines the contribution that heritage and information can make to building stronger, more cohesive societies, better able to achieve their development goals.


To celebrate International Museum Day, it seems fitting to look at what libraries and museums share, in their activities, in their values, and in the challenges they face.


Common Actions

It is hard enough even to develop comprehensive definitions of what libraries and museums are, and of course they hold highly varied collections. Yet in their core activities, there are key similarities, with acquisition, preservation, and access to works in the public interest.


The materials they are collecting, safeguarding and exhibiting may vary, with museums often focused on objects and artifacts and libraries on documentary heritage. Yet these all require both expertise and dedication, and a responsible and imaginative approach to engaging the public. And the subject of how we preserve our digital heritage is becoming increasingly pressing as the share of creativity and knowledge produced online grows.


Increasingly, both libraries and museums are exploring new possibilities for people to use their collections, both for research and creative purposes. The emergence of the digital humanities offers new possibilities to show the value of the materials held by our institutions, and inspire new works.


Common Values

Underlying these actions is a shared commitment to heritage, and understanding of the contribution it can make to broader societal goals. By collecting and giving access to ideas and innovations, they are an early manifestation of the sharing economy.


Both institutions helped break away from the old world of art and literature funded by, and reserved for, the elite. Libraries and museums are fundamentally democratic institutions.


Yet alongside this, there are important professional considerations concerning collections. Libraries and museums are conscious of the impact of the choices they make today, as well as of those made in the past.


In these choices, both libraries and museums require both independence (as set out in the recent ICOM statement, as well as in IFLA’s 1999 statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom), and strong attention to ethical principles. Both IFLA and ICOM have developed codes of ethics for use by their members.


Common Challenges

In a world where many people’s first instinct when looking for information or entertainment is to switch on their computer or phone, libraries and museums are both working increasingly through their websites. With the exception of the most high-profile institutions, the importance of the platforms that can host or at least bring collections together is growing.


These platforms come in different shapes and sizes. As well as those which are publicly or independently supported (such as Europeana or Wikipedia), the importance of commercial platforms such as Google (and even pirate sites) cannot be underestimated. There is value in thinking together about where there is experience to share, in order to ensure the public interest is protected and maximised.


Similarly, and topically with the upcoming meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), the copyright challenges faced by libraries and museums (as well as archives) are also similar.


This is partly due to convergence in the digital world, but also the fact that the work of the institutions is often difficult to separate. As IFLA’s statement at the last SCCR meeting set out, ‘libraries and museums contain archival collections, museums and archives house libraries, and archives  hold library and museum materials’.


In their work to preserve, organise, give access to and use cultural heritage, more harm than good comes from trying to treat these institutions separately.



So congratulations to friends and colleagues in the museums sector on the International Day of Museums, and here’s to more discussion, exchange and cooperation in the future!

Sound not Silence: Libraries and International Jazz Day 2018

At IFLA Headquarters, we spend a lot of time focused on what is going on in Geneva. With the World Intellectual Property Organisation, a number of other major UN institutions, and the library which hosted IFLA’s first Headquarters, there is a lot to do there. But today – International Jazz Day – is an opportunity to look further round the lake, to Lausanne, which hosts the world’s biggest jazz library, the Montreux Jazz Archives.


Nat King Cole, Gottleib Collection, Library of Congress

Nat King Cole, Gottleib Collection, Library of Congress CC0 (https://bit.ly/2HGsuxp)

The Spontaneous and the Systematic: Archiving and Jazz


The centre in Lausanne  hosts an exciting collection of recordings – both sound and video, as well as photos, texts and books from the Montreux festival since its creation in 1963. The collection is accessible in particular through the Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab, which offers a variety of innovative ways of giving access to the materials held.


It exists thanks to the vision of its founder – Claude Nobs – who meticulously preserved recordings and documentation for the future. The collection was inscribed into the Memory of the World Register in 2013, as an example of a set of materials which offer a significant insight into human history.


Thanks to the centre in Lausanne, the public can now experience these works, while researchers can study them and bring out their uniqueness. By bringing more people into contact with the music – and inspiring new creations – the library, like all others, stimulates both demand for, and supply of, jazz.

Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Max Roach - Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress CC0

Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Max Roach – Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress CC0 (https://bit.ly/2raQNIW)

Challenges Faced


Jazz – and indeed audio-visual works in general – is not normally associated with libraries. But in their mission to capture what it is that shapes our societies for the benefit of the future, jazz is as important a subject of library collections as anything. The nature of so much jazz – built on borrowing, developing and improvising on existing works – is not so far from what other creators do with works they can access through libraries.


This is not to say that there are not specific challenges involved.


Recording technologies have changed dramatically over the past century, with a serious risk of formats becoming outdated. Moreover, early works are often on highly fragile materials, at imminent threat of disintegration. While many recordings have enjoyed sufficient commercial success to be digitised, remastered and re-issued, this will not be the case for all. It will also not be the case for the programmes, notes and short pieces of film that offer vital context and which may mean so much for aficionados. Preserving the history of jazz requires laws that allow for copying and changing the format of works.


Jazz is also cross-border, with the idea born in New Orleans taking root around the world, witness the importance of Switzerland in this piece. Libraries around the world hold jazz collections, often about the same artist. Developing knowledge and giving access to those who cannot afford to visit requires copyright rules that enable cross-border sharing, and in particular allows libraries to provide access to works which are not in commerce.


Finally, a jazz recording can contain a number of rights – for scoring and arrangements (where appropriate), for performance, and potentially for producers also. Current discussions in Geneva focus on the idea of a Treaty which risks giving broadcasters rights over materials. Some are calling for these rights to reapply each time a recording is rebroadcast. It is clear that musicians and those who make a real contribution to their work should have the possibility to earn a living from commercial uses of works, but the complexity created by an additional layer of rights will not help.



Clearly there are many other issues, not least linked to ensuring that there is adequate funding and staffing for libraries and other institutions taking on the challenge of preserving and giving access to jazz for current and future generations. IFLA’s Audiovisual and Multimedia Section leads on IFLA’s work in the area – check out their web pages for more!

Libraries encourage people to explore the cultural heritage of Europe!

Europe has a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Throughout 2018 this will be promoted through the celebration of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (links to news story).

The European Commission, the initiator of the event, has asked member states, communities and civil society to join it in building a shared understanding of our cultural environment, online and off.

For anyone working in the library sector, this is ear candy. For years, libraries have been actively engaged in preserving and safeguarding cultural heritage in all formats, including digital works. This heritage is of extremely high importance for the present and the future, and of high priority for IFLA.



IFLA’s 16 PAC (Preservation and Conservation) centres are located all over the globe, from Australia to Poland, through Kazakhstan and Cameroon and to Chile. Each centre is connected to a local library, and covers a wide range of expertise on the preservation of cultural heritage.

The role and purpose of libraries as it relates to cultural heritage is fundamental for our society and our communities. But though libraries do extensive work in preserving cultural heritage, both in its physical and digital form, we cannot do it all alone! In previous blogpost, we focused on actions that may be needed for finding solutions for preserving digital heritage; often the need for government involvement has been one of the biggest issues. The library is of the main players in preserving cultural heritage, but a more broader team is required if libraries are to fulfil their duty to their stakeholders today and tomorrow.

IFLA encourages you to send in your stories of celebration to: cultural.heritage@ifla.org . These will be shared at the IFLA’s online platform, to raise awareness to the work of libraries on cultural heritage.


You can read more about the launch of The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and sign op for the newsletter for activities and initiatives planed all around Europe here: https://ec.europa.eu/culture/european-year-cultural-heritage-2018_en

Libraries are facing big challenges in digital preservation: We cannot do it alone

This year the first ever International Digital Preservation Day – 30 November 2017, will be celebrated around the world; a celebration of collections preserved, access maintained, and understanding fostered by preserving digital materials.

Digital Preservation Coalition has organised this initiative, aiming both to celebrate existing progress, and to highlight how much there is still to do. IFLA wants to use International Digital Preservation Day to raise awareness of the challenges libraries face in preserving digital heritage, and in ensuring that it remains accessible in the future. This includes issues such as policies, storage, and what Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, refers to as bit-rot – the masses of digital content that become unreadable as technology evolves.

Archives, libraries and other information institutions are well aware of these problems, but they cannot alone find all the solutions. A recent survey conducted under the UNESCO PERSIST initiative offered some ideas on what other action may be needed.

A global overview of digital preservation

Between September and December 2016, The Policy Working Group of the PERSIST project sent out invitations to respond to a survey on national/federal policies and strategies on preservation of digital heritage. IFLA supported this in disseminating the call. 48 respondents from 33 different countries answered, the majority being library or archive staff.

The purpose of the survey was to get a global overview of the existence and implementation of policies and strategies for preserving born-digital materials, and to assess the role that governments assume therein. The survey results have now been aggregated in a final report, and show some of the difficulties in digital heritage preservation – both legal and practical – that libraries are facing, as well as some very interesting cases.

A call for government action
77 % of the respondents reported that in their country there is no written, cross-cutting national or federal strategy. Though there are most often guidelines for archives and records preservation, and that some digital heritage is being preserved within the framework of traditional heritage policy, most strategies are typically organisational rather than national (although this includes institutions with an official national function). This makes it hard for the institutions to approach digital preservation, as the issue is not formalised in many preservation policies.

It proved to be difficult to reach policy makers or staff of governmental organisations in order to obtain their responses to the survey on policies and strategies on digital heritage preservation. A majority of respondents indeed wished that the government would play an active role in this field. 39 % indicated that their governments do not event promote the importance of having strategies for digital heritage preservation at a national level.

Digital preservation is too big of an issue for an individual institution to take upon itself. The Working Group of PERSIST concluded that the four main problems were:

• Lack of leadership
• Lack of knowledge
• Lack of funds
• Lack of consensus between domains/institutions

The report shows the need to advocate for preservation efforts and increased public awareness, as well as the need for common standards and ways to approach this issue.

The world seems to be losing its ability to record and preserve modern-day history. Libraries are simply asking for regulations that could fix this. Enhancing the sustainability of preservation of digital heritage is a shared responsibility of public and private parties. IFLA supports the dialogue among these parties in order to enhance the preservation of digital heritage.

For more, read the full report here: https://unescopersist.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/reportsurveypersistpoliciesstrategies-1-5.pdf.