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Sound barriers: Oral history, copyright, and the OHRRG experience at the State Library of Western Australia

ALIA Information Online 2015 Conference, 2-5 February 2015, Sydney: at the edge.
 
Abstract:
 
Introduction: From 2010 to 2013 the State Library of Western Australian undertook a project to digitise its significant collection of oral histories. One of the key outcomes of this project was to make digitised oral histories available for access online; however copyright concerns were a major barrier to this outcome. Oral history as a medium is unique among the original materials collected by libraries, in that:

  • Copyright in oral histories is not clear-cut, and different communities seem to have different understandings of this; and
  • Oral histories are often bound by additional limitations, such as access and embargo agreements, informed consent practices, and privacy concerns

 
The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges of copyright and oral history, and share how SLWA addressed these challenges to make digitised oral histories available online.
 
Methods: Detailed analysis and desktop research was undertaken, into SLWA’s oral history collection, associated documents and existing agreements as well as relevant legislation, case law, and existing industry/community practices. Drawing on this, innovative approaches to the copyright issues inherent in digitising oral histories were developed, including:

  • Policy on risk management, the interpretation of legacy agreements, and the public benefit in making materials available online.
  • Oral history-specific protocols on when further permissions are or are not required.
  • Protocols for orphan works, and notice and take-down procedures.
  • Approaches for navigating the multiple interpretations of copyright in oral histories that exist within the community.

 
Results: It was found that there is uncertainty around rights in oral history recordings, in both a legal and practical sense, and a variety of approaches and understandings within the industry and community. While a challenge, this was not a barrier to achieving the outcomes of the project. The project’s target for making interviews available online was met in 2013, and additional interviews continue to be released to the public. As a result, the voices and memories of Western Australians dating back to 1875, including artists, intellectuals, business people, immigrants, soldiers, families and ordinary people, whose stories are often lost to history, are now available online for everyone in the world.
 
Conclusions: The uncertainty around copyright in oral history is inconvenient, but it is not insurmountable. Through an understanding of the history of your collection, planning, and a consistent approach, it is very possible to tackle the copyright barriers to making oral history interviews available. There also seems to be great support for libraries to make oral histories available – nearly every rights-holder contacted for permission gave it without hesitation.
 
Relevance: Copyright and intellectual property concerns are a major barrier for any mass digitisation or digital collecting project. This is particularly true with oral history, where there is uncertainty around where copyrights exist, who owns them, and what can therefore be done with the oral history. Understanding and overcoming these challenges extends the boundaries of what can be achieved in providing access to content for clients.

Sound barriers: Oral history, copyright, and the OHRRG experience at the State Library of Western Australia [slides]

ALIA Information Online 2015 Conference, 2-5 February 2015, Sydney: at the edge.
 
This conference presentation (PowerPoint slides) discusses uncertainty around rights in oral history recordings, in both a legal and practical sense, and the variety of approaches and understandings within the industry and community. The author presents analysis of the oral history collection of the State Library of Western Australia. Through an understanding of the history of your collection, planning, and a consistent approach, it is very possible to tackle the copyright barriers to making oral history interviews available. 

Submission in response to the Productivity Commission Issues Paper: National Education Evidence Base

This paper is submitted as feedback to the Productivity Commission’s Issues Paper relating to the National Education Evidence Base.  ALIA comes to this from a number of perspectives:  as a member of the informal coalition of organisations promoting a national early literacy strategy for Australia; as the peak body for libraries, with members in the school, academic and public library networks; and as an Australian Research Institute supporting deeper knowledge and evidencebased practice in the library and information sector.

Submission in response to the Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements for Higher Education

The national network of university librarians and their interactions with colleagues in research, government, law, health and corporate libraries provides an opportunity to support data access, information sharing and collaboration across all sectors.

This degree of connection between library and information professionals enhances their already valued contribution to the research agenda in universities. 

Submission in response to the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee review into telecommunications services in Regional Australia

ALIA supports the development of a new model for minimising broadband data transmission costs for public information accessed through public institutions such as libraries and for non-commercial purposes.

It was also noted that there is a need for assistance from public library staff for users of electronic services, both for accessing government information and for everyday online tasks.

Statement on public library services

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) supports freedom of access to public library and information services to enable all community members to participate and contribute to society, to actively contribute to social inclusion, and to enable people to contribute to the economic wellbing of their famiies and the nation.
 
This document highlights the diversity of public library services. They support literacy and reading for pleasure; lifelong learning; arts, culture and local heritage; cybersafety and digital inclusion. They promote the work of Australian writers and creators; provide safe spaces for meetings, study, work and relaxation; ensure that people have freedom of access to the information they need for personal development, health, wellbeing and active participation in our democratic society, and help people connect with egovernment.

Statement on preservation: the permanence and durability of information products

Libraries and information services have a fundamental concern in the preservation of information contained in the published and documentary record in order to ensure enduring access. The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is committed to the preservation of the published and documentary record in all formats, and to providing enduring access to information.
 
Its commitment is implemented by fostering and supporting collaboration among libraries and information services to ensure the preservation of, and access to, these records. ALIA supports new applications of technology following extensive testing which offer opportunities and tools for meeting the preservation obligation.

Statement on libraries and literacies

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) believes that:
 

  • Libraries are lifelong learning centres with education as an essential part of their mission and should acknowledge their responsibility for supporting and supplementing education within their communities, in a variety of formal and informal as well as cultural contexts.
  • Libraries must actively commit time and resources to coordinating literacy activities at all levels and to promote literacy among all members of their community, users and non-users alike.
  • Libraries are part of the solution to many community problems. Libraries help children and adults become literate, productive citizens and help people of all ages lead more satisfying lives.

Submission in response to the teaching, training and research costing studying public consultation paper - independent hospital pricing authority (IHPA) - December 2014

This paper is submitted as feedback to the IHPA (Independent Hospital Pricing Authority) public consultation paper prepared by Paxton Partners ‘Teaching, training and research costing study’ issued in December 2014.

The Executive of HLA is greatly concerned at the omission in the public consultation paper of the role performed by health libraries, and by information technology in general, in the paper prepared by Paxton Partners on the creation of an appropriate classification (costing study) for teaching, training and research (TTR).

Statement on voluntary work in library and information services

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) recognises that library services can be enhanced by well supported volunteers, and providing volunteers with meaningful community roles is a legitimate function of a public library service.
 
Use of volunteers in library and information services for specific purposes is acceptable but must never compromise the quality of service provision, nor replace paid employment in any way.

Submission to the Review of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and the Australian Information Act 2010 (IC Act)

This submission recommends: Amendments to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), as it applies to government information, in order to promote freedom of access ; nominating a single agency and providing it with the funding and resources to store government information and make it accessible to the public; recognise and develop the role of national, state and public libraries in connecting every Australian with the information generated by government. 

 

Submission in response to the Australian Government Productivity Commission Issues Paper on childcare and early childhood learning from the Australian Library and Information Association Public Libraries Advisory Committee

Australian Library and Information Association is responding to the Early Childhood Learning element of the Productivity Commission Issues Paper, with the aim of: securing explicit acknowledgement of the role of Australian public libraries in early childhood development in the final report to Government (31 October 2014), and encouraging discussion to identify further opportunities for the national network of 1500 public libraries to be used by federal, state and local government to support early childhood learning provision.

Standards Australia distribution and licensing policy framework

Submission from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA) and the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) on the development of a more accessible Standards system. 

  • ALIA, NSLA and the ALCC are supportive of a non-exclusive model for the distribution of Standards information in Australia. This has the potential to result in a more accessible Standards system, which we welcome.
  • We are also supportive of Standard Australia's (SA) proposed principles – greater reach, awareness and use of Standards, ensuring long-term sustainability – but believe ‘access’ should also be included, setting a minimum requirement for public access to the Standards.
  • We support the calls in other submissions to make the Standards publicly available under a Creative Commons (CC) licence, to maximise public access.
  • In addition, SA should not limit its licensing to a single commercial licensor model. It should also provide one or more separate licences for non-commercial users, designed to meet the needs of these users and meet SA’s important public access mandate.
  • To ensure SA’s financial sustainability, these licences could be provided at a reasonable rate designed to recover the cost of producing the Standards. Additional revenue could also be obtained through commercial licensing for products aimed at trade professionals, for whom the base level access provided through a library is inappropriate.
  • Finally, we propose that SA partners with libraries and archives to make archived Standards freely and easily available to professionals and the general public, utilising purpose-built systems such as the (NED) service.

Sustainable Development Goals: template for public libraries

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), through the Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA), has identified the need for an easy way for library services to identify, collate and report on the activities which contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This template identifies the 10 goals that are most appropriate to Australian libraries and provides ideas for the kinds of content under each goal.

Submission to the Australian law reform commission inquiry into copyright and the digital economy

This submission from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian Law Librarians' Association (ALIA) to the Australian law reform commission inquiry into copyright and the digital ecomony discusses the possible reform of Australia's copyright law to benefit the digital economy.
Copyright law impacts on most of what libraries do. It affects the services that libraries can provide to their users and the conditions under which they provide access to copyright materials. It affects the way in which libraries can undertake effective archival and preservation activities. Librarians have traditionally been guardians of copyright. Now they have also become creators of copyright materials, both with digital content and organisational websites.

Strategic thinking and action for the 21st century information professional [slides]

ALIA Information Online 2017 Conference, 13-17 February 2017 Sydney: Data Information Knowledge
 
This conference workshop (PowerPoint slides) critiques the recent planning practices in information organizations, such as libraries, outlines methods for integrating strategic thinking and action into the daily work, argues the important role of budgets, staffing and organization in creating a strategic culture, and advances the value of applying strategic thinking and action to individual career and professional advancement.

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