Electronic Legal Deposit

Dec 2019 | 256pp

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Electronic Legal Deposit
Shaping the library collections of the future

Paul Gooding and Melissa Terras

This edited collection provides a timely account of the social, institutional and user impacts of e-legal deposit.
Since legal deposit regulations were introduced in the United Kingdom and Germany in the 17th Century, societies have benefitted from the systematic preservation of our written cultural record by a small number of trusted national and academic libraries. This book brings together some of the leading contemporary international authorities on legal deposit to explore two primary questions. First, what is the impact of electronic legal deposit on the 21st Century library? And second, what does the future hold for libraries as legal deposit collections meet the digital age?

The 2013 announcement of e-Legal Deposit brought, for the first time, written information online under the purview of the UK Legal Deposit Libraries, a trend evident across the world. This was heralded as a vital step in preserving the UK’s “digital universe”, a grand assertion that requires careful interrogation. In particular, while the regulations allow for the systematic collection of digitised and born-digital texts, they also prescribe how these materials can be accessed by the public in the short to medium term. The interface between legal deposit as an activity for posterity, and open data-driven approaches to research and government, define the nature of this mooted digital universe. 

Electronic Legal Deposit draws on evidence gathered from real-world case studies produced in collaboration with world-leading libraries, researchers and practitioners, as well as provide a thorough overview of the state of legal deposit at an important juncture in the history of library collections. The book addresses several issues: 

  • contemporary user behaviour with e-legal deposit collections
  • the relationship between e-legal deposit, digital library services, and the digital divide
  • ways in which legal deposit legislation shape our use of library collections
  • the impact of digital scholarship on library services
  • the future of legal deposit in a changing information landscape
  • the long-term implications of how our digital collections are conceived, regulated and used.

Readership: The book will be essential reading for practitioners and researchers in national and research libraries. The book will also be useful reading to other library practitioners and researchers due to the unique way in which electronic legal deposit encompasses a number of key issues for the digital age: copyright and digital library collections; publisher-library relations; access and the digital divide; innovative digital scholarship methods and developing digital library infrastructures.

1. Introduction
2. Harvesting the referendum: web archiving as part of a curated cross-format collection
3. eBooks and legal deposit in the National Library of France
4. Developing national infrastructures for non-print legal deposit
5. Lessons learned from differing national implementations of e-legal deposit 
6. Web archives for researchers
7. Users of academic deposit library collections in the UK
8. Innovative reuse of e-legal deposit materials
9. Digital preservation and electronic legal deposit
10. Publisher representatives and the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel
11. Digital library futures: where next for legal deposit?

Paul Gooding is the Eastern ARC Research Fellow for Digital Humanities at the University of East Anglia. A trained librarian with a background in Media Librarianship, his research explores the theoretical and practical impact of large-scale digitisation in the cultural heritage sector. He currently serves as reviews editor for the journal Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, and as a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. He is currently working on an AHRC-funded project entitled “Digital Library Futures” which explores the impact of electronic legal deposit legislation in the academic library sector. His first monograph, on the impact of mass digitisation on library services and users of newspapers, was published with Routledge in 2016. 

Melissa Terras is the Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage at the University of Edinburgh‘s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. With a background in Classical Art History, English Literature, and Computing Science, her doctorate (Engineering, University of Oxford) examined how to use advanced information engineering technologies to interpret and read Roman texts. Publications include Image to Interpretation: Intelligent Systems to Aid Historians in the Reading of the Vindolanda Texts (2006, Oxford University Press) and Digital Images for the Information Professional (2008, Ashgate) and she has co-edited various volumes such as Digital Humanities in Practice (Facet 2012) and Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader (Ashgate 2013). She is currently serving on the Board of Curators of the University of Oxford Libraries, and the Board of the National Library of Scotland, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and Fellow of the British Computer Society. Her research focuses on the use of computational techniques to enable research in the arts and humanities that would otherwise be impossible. You can generally find her on twitter @melissaterras.

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