A new feature on the Archives and Copyright site...

This blog is a new section on the Archives and Copyright: Developing an Agenda for Reform website. During the course of my PhD (Archives, Digitisation and Copyright, 2013-2016), I’ll be producing a lot of material which is relevant to practitioners working within the UK archives sector. Rather than have all that research and analysis bound up inside a thesis, I’d like to use this blog to make as much of that content available as possible. In terms of the research, I’m interested in how copyright law shapes digitisation projects within the UK archive sector, how we can create policies and guidelines which will make it easier to make archive material available online, and how perceptions of (and appetite for) risk may influence this process.

The blog will include a variety of content: first (and perhaps most importantly), I’ll be carrying out empirical research over the next two years, some of which I’ll be able to make available through blog posts. As part of my PhD research, I’ll conduct a large scale questionnaire survey of the UK archive sector in September 2014, and I’ll also complete a series of digitisation case studies with a variety of institutions and collections, details of which can be disseminated through the blog.

I’m also planning on doing some content analysis of various sector resources, including a sample of archive service websites and twitter feeds, and the ARCHIVES-NRA JISCmail listserve: results of which can be made available through the blog, and datasets through the Documents section of the website. In particular, I would like to develop a “Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright” resource aimed specifically at the archives sector, using the JISCmail archive, which goes back to 1998. This would be further supplemented with questions asked at copyright training workshops: I help my supervisor, Professor Ronan Deazley, deliver these with the Scottish Council on Archives. So, in addition to posting answers to questions, I’ll also be making course materials and the results of group exercises from the workshops available.

Given that the current copyright regime within the UK (and elsewhere) is in flux, I’ll comment on copyright legislation and reform through the blog, with emphasis on my current bête noirs: orphans works reform and duration of copyright, especially the 2039 date for certain types of unpublished works. I’m also lucky enough to attend plenty of conferences, both as a delegate and occasionally as a speaker, so the blog will also include recaps of events, including links to relevant speakers, presentations and projects.

As a representative on the ARA Committee for the Nations and Regions, I’ll also be able to round-up lots of projects and initiatives taking place across the UK. Besides my current research, I’m also interested in how archives are used by different user groups, especially artists: as source material, as sites, as inspiration. I’d like the blog to reflect the fact that I have interests in archives outside the scope of copyright law, but I can’t guarantee it won’t beguile its way back in! And unfortunately, some blog posts on research methods will be inevitable: I am a PhD student after all…

I hope you find the blog useful and informative; if there are any topics you’d like me to cover in a post, or if you have a questions or comments, please do get in touch: victoria.stobo@glasgow.ac.uk.