New Book Out Now! Electronic Legal Deposit: Shaping the Library Collections of the Future

I’m delighted that my latest edited collection, with Paul Gooding, is out now with Facet Publishing: Electronic Legal Deposit: Shaping the Library Collections of the Future. Stemming from our Digital Library Futures AHRC funded project, which looked at the  impact of changes to electronic legal deposit legislation upon UK academic deposit libraries and their users, we’ve pulled together this collection from contributing experts worldwide to look at issues and successes in preserving our digital publishing environment.

For those who don’t know what electronic legal deposit legislation is, lets back up a bit. It is of course related to legal deposit, and as we say in the introduction:

Legal deposit is the regulatory requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a trusted repository. First introduced by France in the sixteenth century… legal deposit has since been adopted around the world: as of 2016, 62 out of 245 national and state libraries worldwide either benefited from legal deposit regulations or participated in legal deposit activities… Regulations permitting legal deposit of printed publications have played a vital role in supporting libraries to build comprehensive national collections for the public good… In the last two decades, the scope of legal deposit has grown to formally incorporate ‘electronic’ or ‘non-print’ publication; those published in digital and other non-print formats. (Gooding and Terras 2020, p.xxiv).

We believe that this is the first book to attempt to draw together an overview of contemporary activities in major organisations and institutions trying to preserve our digital publishing world, which of course includes the world wide web, and how it is archived. We do so from a user perspective, looking at the implications this will have from users of the collections, both now and in the future. And we poke a big stick at the intersection of copyright and legal deposit legislation which often conspire to make user access so limited and tricky to negotiate that end users are presented with a series of obstacles to even get basic access to electronic legal deposit content. You can find a break down of the chapters and contributors here, including those from the National Library of Sweden, Biblioteca Nacional de México, National Archives of Zimbabwe, etc etc!

We’ll be holding a book launch on 5th November 2020, online, for those who want to hear some excellent speakers on the topic, including from the National Library of Scotland, and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. And I’m particularly taken with the cover of this one, which is an art work created from an actual LiDar scan of the National Library of Scotland stacks, by Edinburgh College of Art PhD student Asad Khan. I love it when a plan comes together.

For those who want a sneak peek of the content, under Facet’s Green Open Access rules, I’m allowed to share the author’s last copy of a single chapter from an edited collection. So here, from Paul and I, is our chapter on how the digital turn has affected legal deposit legislation, showing that ” print era notions that influence the NPLD access and reuse regulations are increasingly out of step with broader developments in publishing, information technology, and broader socio-political trends in access to information”. Have at it, and enjoy.

Gooding, Paul and Terras, Melissa (2020). An Ark to Save Learning from Deluge’? Reconceptualising Legal Deposit after the Digital Turn. In Gooding, Paul and Terras, Melissa (2020) (Eds).  Electronic Legal Deposit: Shaping the Library Collections of the Future. Facet: London, 203-228.

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