Archiving in the Digital Era
I'm neither a lawyer nor a librarian; what I'm doing in this paper is putting together pieces of knowledge from fields in which I have no expertise, so I make no promise that my knowledge is entirely accurate or entirely up-to-date. My interest is in the commodification of culture, and more particularly of information; and thus, and only so far, is it an interest in the institution of intellectual property. It's because of this, though, that I have an interest in the library and other archives as something like a model of open access to information, of a kind which is in many ways threatened by the increasing commercialisation of knowledge. This is the subject of a conference on the digitalisation of the archive that I'm running next month; this is a paper not about what I know but about what I hope to find out at the conference. Let me start by asking a question around the answers to which my talk will be shaped: the question, What is an archive? First answer: an archive is a repository of copies of works Ie, of copyrighted and once-copyrighted materials, which have been acquired by deposit or gift or purchase, and which are available for public use (consultation or borrowing) under specific forms of legal exemption from the limitations of copyright. A second and broader answer to my question would say that an archive is a repository of information, which takes the form of copies of works which are regulated by a particular intellectual property regime.