Centre for Information Management

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Digitisation, libraries and orphan works

“A work or a phonogram shall be considered an orphan work if none of the rightholders in that work or phonogram is identified or, even if one or more of them is identified, none is located despite a diligent search for the rightholder”. This is the definition included in the Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain uses of orphan works in order to enable access to hundreds of European materials.

Currently, orphan works may be seen as a “black hole” which impedes the use of many textual, graphic, audiovisual and musical resources as a result of not being in the public domain sphere. In this sense, new academic approaches in the Library and Information Science profession should be undertaken to identify an evidence-based diligent search process.

Despite its clear definition, some concerns should been analyzed inasmuch as orphan works are current problems at European cultural institutions. Although the implementation of an efficient diligent search will let librarians identify a work as an orphan one, it would be really interesting to know if European national libraries are facing to this situation and how they are doing it.

At the same time, contacting and collaborating with international university research groups which are focused on cultural heritage will contribute to identify a set of best practices among information professionals. For instance, information sources which are appropriate for each category of works or the training taken on copyright issues.

PUBLIDOC-UCM research group is facing to this new challenge in the LIS profession and is currently working to design an evidence-based diligent search model to identify orphan works. Should you are interested in collaborating with the Spanish research group, do not hesitate to contact us. PUBLIDOC-UCM can be contacted at s.cobo@ucm.es




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