Copyright for the Digital Arts and Humanities

I recently attended a talk given by Eoin O’Dell from Trinity College Dublin on the topic of Copyright for the Digital Arts and Humanities. While the talk was mainly aimed at students of the Digital Arts and Humanities PhD Structured Programme it was also very relevant to librarians, particularly those dealing with digital collections. Here are some of the nuggets of information I took away from the talk (and I mean nuggets, I’m only giving the headlines because as a non-expert that’s all I feel comfortable with). However, Eoin has also kindly allowed me to share his slides.

First, two Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) reports were recommended: Digital Humanities: Ireland’s Opportunity and Going Digital: Creating Change in the Humanities.

"Adventures in copyright" by is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Adventures in copyright” by is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

There are several relevant pieces of legislation that deal with copyright. These are:

Section 17 (2) CRRA: Copyright subsists in (a) original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, (b) sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes, (c) the typographical arrangement of published editions, and (d) original databases.

Section 12(1)a CRRA: The author of a work shall be the first owner of the copyright unless the work is made by an employee in the course of employment, in which case the employer is the first owner of any copyright in the work, subject to any agreement to the contrary.

If you are employed to create some original work, for example digitise a collection, then your employer owns the copyright. However, if you are not an employee but have been hired on contract to digitise the collection you own the copyright unless it’s written into the contract otherwise. This is something for libraries to take into account when outsourcing digitisation.

It’s also worth noting that even if you create something on the weekend or in your own time your employer still owns the copyright. So if you are a software engineer and you write code in your own time your employer owns the copyright to that code, but if you are a software engineer and you take photographs in your own time they do not.

Section 37(1) CRRA: The owner of the copyright can copy, adapt and make available the work. This is what is referred to as ‘all rights’ when you see ‘all rights reserved’.

Question: How much do you need to adapt a work before it becomes original to you?

Answer: The more you change, the more you adapt, the more you infringe. If you copy someone else’s work it never becomes yours.

For copyright to exist the creator must use skilled labour and judgement. So quick snaps taken with a point and shoot camera are not subject to copyright as there was no skilled labour and judgement used.

"Folklore NullElf- burning copyright" by Martin Fisch  is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Folklore NullElf- burning copyright” by Martin Fisch
is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

So you want to reuse someone else’s work?

  • Old: Section 24(1) CRRA – “The copyright […] shall expire 70 years after the death of the author, irrespective of the date on which the work is first lawfully made available to the public.” This applies to the EU, copyright laws in other countries (most notably the US where Disney has a big influence on copyright laws) may be different. The 1916 centenary is next year, so it’s worth considering that there is a good chance works created in 1916 are still in copyright.
  • Public Domain: Public Domain means a work in copyright is put beyond copyright. Stuff that is online is not by it’s nature Public Domain (but we knew that anyway, right?)
  • Public Sector Information: Directive 2013/37/EU is relevant but has not been enacted into Irish law. This legislation would see the assimilation of cultural institutions, e.g. libraries into existing legislation, with three special rules:
    1. Only documents where re-use has previously been allowed are reusable.
    2. The institution can charge the full costs, including reasonable return on investment.
    3. Institutions may engage in the award of exclusive rights for digitisation projects.
  • Permissions: It’s important to note that 99.9% of contracts are verbal (I didn’t sign a contract when I bought my morning coffee), oral contracts are valid.
  • Licences: Commonly used licences include: Irish Copyright Licensing Agency, Creative Commons or bespoke licences.
  • Exceptions: Part II Chapter 6 CRRA refers to “fair dealing”. However, “fair use” is a US construct and does not exist in the EU. For example, the Google Books project would not be legal in the EU. Section 52(1) CRRA refers to incidental inclusion of a work, so if a copyrighted work happens to be in the background this is ok, but if it is the subject of your work then it is considered infringement.
  • Orphan works: A work is considered ‘orphan’ when the copyright holder can’t be traced. This is dealt with in Directive 2012/28/EU but only applies to literary works.
  • Links: Providing online links does not infringe copyright that vests in the materials on the other end of the link.

Thank you to the organisers of the lecture and to Eoin O’Dell for presenting a really interesting and accessible view on copyright law. It’s a complex area but it’s good to know it’s not totally impenetrable for those of us in libraries that need to be aware of the laws.




Brainstorm…how to exploit the zeitgeist, using traditional and social media, in order to market your library

Library Camp 2015The sub-title of this post should, I think, be Diary of a Wimpy Pitcher, such was my fear in advance of pitching at Library Camp 2015! The day itself was such a positive and invigorating experience that my particular fears were most definitely unfounded.

The central premise of my pitch was essentially, thoughts on helping your particular initiative stand out in the ‘white noise’ of social media; with subsidiary themes about the power of brainstorming, and the benefits of exploring, and exploiting the zeitgeist.

What was covered? I hear you ask (with enthusiastic anticipation?!!) Well, here comes the bite-size bullets bit!

  • The marketing tool/vehicle is always in flux, it is the message that is constant and important.
  • Social media can reach saturation point…mix it up!
  • The zeitgeist too is, by its nature, in flux, be aware of it, explore it, harness, and even better, expand it.
  • To social media or not, that is the question…but it is no longer an option. However, social media is not the only kid on the block.
  • It’s about establishing, and re-establishing a relationship with your customer, one initial connection could lead to further use of your library, and its services.
  • Trust your instinct and experience, libraries and librarians are their own ‘usp’.

Some of my brainstorming ideas included:

  • Writing a column for a local/college newspaper
  • Broadcast a slot on local radio re. library initiatives/services (Irish people love radio!)
  • Create a podcast, using the help of local media students.
  • Advertise using a pop-up, or better still, a pop-out installation (all the rage with shops and restaurants at the moment).
  • Create one poster, with an eye-catching theme, or image, post the same image on twitter, facebook, etc. Drip-feed the information, create interest and hype around what it is you are trying to promote.
  • The zeitgeist is nostalgia/vintage/throw-back – create an event around this theme, and use it as an opportunity to show how much the library, and the services, have progressed.

The response to my pitch was very encouraging, and generous. Its purpose in giving the audience pause for thought was, I think, successful. If you are thinking of doing a pitch next year, do it! This particular Wimpy Pitcher had turned Evangelical Library Promoter by the end of the pitch…imploring her congregation to ‘go forth and brainstorm’ as they dispersed!

By Carolanne McPartlan

Profile of a Solo Librarian

Damien Wyse

Librarian and Information Officer

An Bord Pleanála

What path did you take to get to your current role?

I originally qualified as a plumber before attending what is now MU to study social policy. My intention had been to gain employment in the public service in areas of either education or welfare policy. As it turns out, my first job offer was from An Bord Pleanála, the planning appeals board, and I’ve been here ever since.

After a couple of years, I noticed a need for increased records and information management within An Bord Pleanála and applied for funding to study in DBS, explaining the potential benefits to my employers. This application was approved and following completion of my MSc in Information and Library Management in 2012 I was fortunate enough to be promoted and began to work as the organisation’s librarian and information officer.

Describe a typical day

As a solo-librarian my day comprises all of the routine tasks involved in managing a small government library. I have a part-time library assistant who assists me but a lot of time is still spent with reference queries, acquisitions and cataloguing. Additionally, my role as information officer involves investigating Freedom of Information and Access to Information on the Environment requests made to An Bord Pleanála.

Additionally, as an organisation, we are currently upgrading our ICT infrastructure to allow for receipt of planning appeals and applications electronically. This will involve the design and creation of a new case management system for the organisation. As lead for the digitisation component of this project, I am working to create a structure for all data created or received by An Bord Pleanála during the handling of planning appeals and applications. This currently represents an enormous amount of my daily workload.

What traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

In a state body like An Bord Pleanála, many of the library skills learned in college are more widely applicable. Records management, dealing with information legislation such as FOI or Data Protection, and the use of statistics and evidence for analysis and decision making are all important and extremely useful.

What non-traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

Project management and advocacy for information management are two library skills which constantly recur in my role in An Bord Pleanála. As with many of the more traditional library skills, these are generally useful across the public service.

Are there any specific software packages or technologies you use on a regular basis within your role?

An Bord Pleanála currently uses a purpose built case management system which is sadly reminiscent of DOS. However, we are in the process of upgrading our entire ICT infrastructure to include an integrated case management system, geographic information system and web portal. So the future is bright.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Having the opportunity to practically apply what I learned in DBS in a manner which directly improves services for our own internal staff and the wider public.

By Ryan Maguire, licenced under CC0.
By Ryan Maguire, licenced under CC0.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

As a solo-librarian in an organisation with a lot of information management needs, I frequently find it daunting when I am expected to know the correct approach the organisation should take in important areas such as with our digitisation strategy or records management policy for example. I’m not long qualified and have no fellow information professionals to consult with internally. Unfortunately, I’m not great for networking externally either.

I try to allay my own concerns by conducting research and accessing training where I identify a knowledge deficit. This has led me to utilise standards for record keeping from ISO, guides on creating thesauri and controlled vocabulary from the DRI, seeking additional training regarding FOI, conducting research into the information search and retrieval systems of dozens of planning authorities in the Republic of Ireland and the UK, and contacting other government bodies directly to seek advice or arrange tours or demonstrations. It’s very important for me to have confidence in the approach I’m adopting or recommending for the organisation but having to constantly find my own professional direction can be a challenge.

What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship?

Opportunities are beginning to arise in the public service, albeit slowly. Although for many graduates, the ultimate goal is to obtain a professional library position, I would urge people to consider attempting to enter the public service in any administrative capacity.

There are many opportunities in the public service to directly apply the skills learned in library school and gain really valuable experience. I also believe that information professionals provide unique insight into many areas of public policy where the dissemination of information is under discussion and that without our perspective, public service information systems may not serve the public as effectively as they should.

Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a role in your genre of librarianship?

Learn how to advocate for your profession within your organisation. Take it upon yourself to demonstrate what you can do to improve services and seek to work on projects which would benefit from your skills as an information professional. Eventually your supervisors will begin to notice and start to approach you with more opportunities.

Also, don’t give up. Being a librarian is something worth pursuing even if things are tough right now. Best of luck!

Profile of an Academic Librarian

Emily Prather-Rodgers, Technical Services Coordinator, North Central College

Founded in 1861, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in seven areas. North Central College is committed to academic excellence; a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service; a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation; and a caring environment with small classes.

What path did you take to get to your current role?

I began my library career as a page (shelver) in a branch of a medium-sized public library system. It was a part-time job to earn a bit of money during college and to figure out if it would be worth pursuing at the graduate level. After a few months, I was promoted to a part-time circulation position. A few months later, I entered library school and accepted a position as a graduate assistant in technical services/special formats in the Fine Arts Library at the university. I was lucky to get a job as a cataloger almost immediately after graduating. After about 18 months in that position, I accepted the position of Technical Services Coordinator at yet another institution. I’ve been here almost 8 years.

Describe a typical day

“Typical” is a bit of a stretch, but the following are some highlights:

  • supervise (hire, train, support) paraprofessional staff in acquisitions, cataloging, and electronic resources
  • serve as head of Special Collections
  • perform reference duties on a rotation
  • serve as an academic-division liaison—collection development/management, library instruction, specialised reference
  • negotiate and manage license agreements
  • administer library-specific software packages

What traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

My role requires an excellent understanding of traditional acquisitions and cataloging skills. It’s also important to have a fairly high comfort-level with reference and instruction. Generally, it requires the ability to have a high-level understanding of the overall operations of the library and the way various departments interact.

What non-traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

Less traditional skills (which are becoming pervasive and are likely to be considered traditional before long!) are the ability to understand and maintain the back-end of numerous software/e-resource admin systems, managerial skills, accounting skills, and the patience to deal with the never-ending sales calls.

Are there any specific software packages or technologies you use on a regular basis within your role?

I work most often with our integrated library system (Voyager and its accompanying Oracle-based reporting system), a link resolver (SFX), electronic resource management system (Serials Solutions), online ordering systems (including YBP’s Gobi and EBSCO’s Ebsconet), and various back-end database/journal publisher platforms.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

The most rewarding part to me is fostering my staff to be their best and helping them understand how their work has broad implications for the way the entire library functions. (It’s also pretty cool that I can access the Special Collections any time I want.)

What is the most challenging part of your role?

Ensuring that everyone has what they need to complete their research in the fact of static (or decreasing) budgets.

What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship?

It varies, but I’ve seen quite a few really interesting job ads lately for people with some experience. I don’t keep much of an eye on entry-level jobs, but they’re definitely out there.

Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a role in your genre of librarianship?

Two things: Do everything in your power to get experience BEFORE you graduate. Even “entry-level” jobs require experience these days. And, be willing to consider opportunities outside of your current/preferred geographic area. Many, many institutions in more rural areas really struggle to fill positions, but those jobs can help you get the experience you need in just a few years to get an amazing job somewhere you’d rather be.

Marketing libraries and data analysis

Andrew Moore Library CampThe day being in it, the results of the Marriage Equality referendum were due in, just as we started our pitches, and sampling opinion and analysing demographics was very much on my mind when I began by pitch. My talk regarded the sampling of library visitors, using a questionnaire, at the National Gallery of Ireland, a project I conducted in 2012 for my MLIS.

The theoretical basis for my pitch was from the book “The Library marketing toolkit” (Facet Publishing, 2012) which provided many helpful ideas. The most important was a diagram, The marketing cycle, which puts the use of quantitative data as central to any kind of marketing activities. It shows that a marketing campaign should in theory operate cyclically, and that constant evaluation of library visitors is required to formulate effective campaigns, involving the use of statistics. I then showed the results of my sampling project which showed a breakdown of demographic profiles.

An open discussion then began in which my audience and I looked at the data from my project and considered how to theoretically create marketing campaigns which meet the needs of different groups; students, professionals, as well as differences in age and gender.   The talk concluded with a discussion of which paintings are most popular in the National Gallery of Ireland and I referred to the national vote held in 2012, known as “Ireland’s Favourite Painting” and the winner “The meeting on the turret stairs” by Frederick Burton held in the gallery. This thereby gave a “real-world” example of the importance of surveying with regards to promoting cultural heritage.

by Andrew Moore

LibGuides, Loop and Library Videos…marketing Library services at Cregan Library

My pitch centred around effective ways to market library services using three different tools: a “Welcome to the Library video”, a “virtual learning environment” (Loop), and online Library guides (LibGuides). Library Camp 2015First we looked at who our “target market” might be and decided that the student profile (made up of 66% undergraduate students and 24% who are online/distance learners) were the most important demographic that the Library weren’t currently reaching. Many Undergraduates use the Library mainly as study-space and are unaware of the vast number of resources, facilities and services that we offer them. For my MLIS (completed last year) I researched the information literacy of our Postgraduate students and found that many of our online/distance learners would like more support from the Library when it comes to their information use. So the question posed was how to reach non/limited users and distance learners. I explained each tool briefly, mentioned some advantages and then we brainstormed how to market Library services effectively using each one. I asked one leading ‘post-it’ question per tool and the group came up with some really interesting ideas!

1. “Welcome to the Library video”

Market: new students, distance learners, non-users and potential students Advantages:

  • Showcases the new Library
  • Instructs on new facilities
  • Highlights the Library’s role in teaching & learning
  • Supplements Library orientation

Brainstorm Q: How can we make the video ‘engaging’ to students??? Answers:

  1. Interview students about the Library
  2. Interview friendly library staff
  3. Brevity – keeping it short & sweet!
  4. Avoid info overload
  5. Show activity at the information desk

Post-it Q: Ideas on how we can get students to participate in a Library video:

  • Go outside the Library and ask students around the campus to be involved
  • Ask the Student’s Union for help
  • Ask the Access office for success stories utilising the Library’s impact on students’ studies
  • Have a waive on library fines for participants
  • Offer money off photocopying
  • Give a prize
  • Recruit volunteers on social media
  • Offer free lunches
  • Make it into a Library ‘event’ – invite students informally
  • Offer a title such as ‘Library ambassador’ for participation
  • Use media art, or business studies students to be involved on a project-basis/as work experience

2. Loop (virtual learning environment)

Market: all students and distance/online learners in particular Advantages:

  • Free to the Library
  • Students automatically enrolled to a “Library Loop” page
  • Info is online at their ‘point-of-need’
  • More interactivity possible than with traditional Library website
  • Online classroom facility for info-literacy sessions with distance students

Brainstorm Question: What are the possible disadvantages of setting up a ‘Library Loop’ page??? Answers:

  1. Less foot-fall in the Library
  2. Not accessible to everyone (i.e. less I.T. savvy students)
  3. Increased expectation that all info is online
  4. Increased expectations that we are constantly there to answer questions

Post-it Q: What ‘content’ would you put up on a Library Loop page??? Ideas:

  • New resources – ‘just-in’
  • Useful bibliographies
  • Library staff contact details
  • A newsletter/news
  • User surveys
  • Recommended resources
  • Course info
  • Weblinks
  • Materials for answers to likely exam Qs
  • Past exam papers
  • Link to Library Catalogue

3. LibGuides:

Library Camp 2015This cloud-based content management system allows librarians (with limited coding skills!) to create attractive and easy-to-use guides to Subjects, Collections and events (to name but a few)… Target market? Everyone! Advantages:

  • Guides can be embedded in Loop/VLE.
  • Can increase web traffic to Library resources
  • Can be used to make recommendations or ‘best bets’ for quality info sources
  • Markets the info service
  • Allows collaboration with academics

Brainstorm Q: How can we promote the guides??? Answers:

  1. Through a poster presentation to all College staff
  2. Get buy-in from Lecturers
  3. Embed the guides in Loop/Library website
  4. Use them during Library orientation for new students

Post-it Q: How can we encourage academics to collaborate with the Library on LibGuides?? Ideas:

  • Through Focus groups
  • Word of mouth
  • Assure (and re-assure!) training and support
  • Offer a service in exchange

(we started running out of time here!) In short, I learned a lot about making presentations more interactive and came away from my pitch with loads of brilliant ideas for using these tools to effectively market Library services. Further ideas welcome! You can reach me on

by Genevieve Larkin