Loughborough University
Thesis-2005-Muir.pdf (1.76 MB)

Legal deposit of digital publications

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posted on 2011-06-14, 14:15 authored by Adrienne Muir
Legal deposit is an obligation to deposit publications with specified depositories. The purpose of legal deposit is to preserve and provide long-term access to the national intellectual heritage. Extending legal deposit to digital publications presents many challenges for the framing of legislation, selection and acquisition of material, preservation and provision of access. The aim of this research was to: explore the potential issues related to the extension of UK legal deposit to digital publications and identify the implications for existing legal deposit arrangements. The research was based on Soft Systems Methodology. Data was gathered through two rounds of interviews with stakeholder groups, including legal deposit libraries, publishers, government and technical experts. Preservation is accepted as the main purpose of legal deposit, but there is some tension and lack of trust between publishers and legal deposit libraries on access to legal deposit collections. The new UK legal deposit law is enabling only; implementation will require further regulations that will be subject to detailed consultation and negotiation. While there has been a voluntary scheme in place for some time in the UK, the research found a lack of readiness amongst the UK legal deposit libraries. They still had to develop cooperative arrangements between themselves and publishers; policies, procedures, especially for online publications; and did not have all the necessary technical infrastructure in place. The deposit of digital publications is an extra role for legal deposit libraries and it is not clear that they will receive extra funding, as is the case in some other countries. There is currently no full-scale fully functional digital legal deposit system in the world. However, there are lessons to be learned from other legal deposit libraries and research and development work is providing partial solutions. The key issues are the need for communication and collaboration between UK legal deposit libraries and cooperation and trust between legal deposit libraries and publishers. Developments since the research was carried out demonstrate some progress in this. Without these, digital legal deposit cannot be successfully implemented in the UK. There is also a need to look at what the users require in terms to material collected and how it is preserved.



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© Adrienne Muir

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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