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WG3: Libraries, museums and archives (MEMORY)


WG3 studies the specific issues that memory institutions, namely libraries, museums, archives (including audio-visual archives) - whether public or private and independently of the specific type of works they collect - have to deal with when confronted with the public domain and more particularly with the public domain of digital works or works for which digitalisation is feasible and probable. WG3 will also conduct analysis on "bottom-up" archiving of works performed by volunteers, made possible by massively distributed collaboration technologies such as Wikis and other Internet- and Web-based platforms. Another strand of research of WG3 relates to the grey area between the pure public domain and copyrighted works for which the rights holders wish to severely limit redistribution, namely works released under "sharing" licensing frameworks such as Creative Commons licenses. The issues is further complicated by the fact that libraries and archives are often vested with the particularly important duty to disseminate knowledge and culture, in its various forms, irrespective of the wishes of the rights holders. In this sense, WG3's analysis will focus on the way in which public policies and the law handles the delicate balance between the role of libraries, museums and archives, the protection that copyright law grants to rights holders and the promotion (or lack thereof) of the public domain.


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Cultural Heritage rights in the age of digital copyright - COMMUNIA WG3 - Istanbul 10th December 2010


In 10.12.10, the COMMUNIA WG3 gathered in Istanbul for a working meeting, with the aim of producing a set of recommendations about cultural heritage and the public domain.

The workshop aimed at exploring the problem of the interaction between cultural heritage legislation and copyright law. Cultural Heritage Protection Laws (CHPL) in some EU Member States [e.g. Italy, Greece art. 46, Law 3028/2002)] provide an additional layer of control over the access to cultural resources, often defined as monuments. Such access controls that are exercised by the state through the ministry of culture or its local/regional divisions, may impose an additional layer of restrictions over works that are otherwise copyright free.
Read the full text here here

Notes from the 7th Communia Workshop, Luxembourg, 31st January 2010

Policy Recommendations

The meeting started with a review of and discussion about the current list of policy recommendations on the private wiki. Although the attending people certainly didn’t disagree with them, they concluded that it is crucial for WG3 to appreciate the diverse nature and objectives of the so-called memory institutions. Museums, Libraries and Archives are normally tagged together but they have different functions and face different challenges. Within these categories (e.g. within Museums) there are different types of institutions having different objectives and goals. Even single institutions perform different functions and have multiple objectives. To conclude, they face different obstacles because of this.
To approach the process of contributing policy recommendations a bit more in light of this nuance, WG3 decided to clarify the currently identified issues, by constructing them through the whole lifecycle (digitisation, managing and maintaining the collection and dissemination). The result of this endeavour is stored on the private wiki. Next step will be mapping the current policy recommendations to these issues and contributing new ones. This will take place on the private wiki.

However – and also in light of the request by Communia coordinator to select the most pressing policy recommendation – WG3 did identify on central policy recommendation: The need for clarification and standardisation of the Copyright Directive on a European level. Especially concerning the limitations and exceptions. The latter should be formulated and implemented in such a way that they explicitly reflect the common goal of memory institutions to provide access to knowledge and culture in the widest possible way.

Flow Model

WG3 can proceed with the flow analysis of projects by memory institutions providing access to (sub)collections. These flow models, that show the flow of rights between the different partners involved in these projects, will be used by WG3 to substantiate the WG3 specific policy recommendations. The current state of the flow questionnaire was presented, gathering input from the WG3 members. Based on this feedback, the questionnaire will be finalised. The next step is gathering experts from memory institutions who are willing to complete the questionnaire (preferably within expert meetings, otherwise online). The discussion on how to proceed will take place online through the WG3 mailinglist.

Notes from the 6th Communia Workshop, Barcelona, 1st October 2009

Flow Model

Since WG3 hasn’t yet received the Flow Questionnaire, this has put the work on the flow models on hold. Once Prodromos is done, we will continue this effort A.S.A.P.

Policy Recommendations

Inspired by the ad-hoc meeting on the policy recommendations Maarten proposed to work on the WG3 input for this important deliverable for the COMMUNIA project. Because the current contributions from WG3 were done mostly by only a few active WG3 participant, Maarten proposed to take a step back and use the meeting to map the most pressing issues that WG3 want to suggest recommendations for as we near the end of the project. This started an interesting open discussion and resulted in a list of eleven issues. These issues will be put on the WG3 wiki, for further collaborative editing. Starting with these issues, all WG3 participants are invited to add policy recommendations to theses specific issues and if possible also motivation and possible evidence of the potential benefits. This will hopefully results in a WG3 contribution to the policy recommendations that is structured, focussed and a truly collaborative effort.


Contribute to the policy recommendations on the WG3 wiki.
Create a template for the flow model questionnaire.
Select a national memory institution to apply the flow questionnaire to

Notes from the 2nd COMMUNIA Conference, Torino, June 28th 2009

Attendance: Bozena Bednarek-Michalska (NCU), Maja Bogataj Jancic (IIL), Maarten Brinkerink (Beeld en Geluid), Judit Casals (UB), Zsófia Deme (NEUMANN), Patrick Peiffer (LUXCOMMONS), Assumpte Pujol (UB) & Prodromos Tsiavos (LSE).

Policy Recommendations

At the start of the meeting Juan Carlos De Martin joined and asked for an update on the WG3 plans. He also reminded the working group of the main objective in relation to COMMUNIA as a whole: policy recommendations!

Maarten Brinkerink explains that the work within WG3 until now has mainly focussed on designing models to analyse projects that concern memory institutions providing access to digital cultural heritage. The aim is to use these models to detect causality within their constrains and/or the ‘best practices’ that could lead to arguments to base policy recommendations on.

As Juan Carlos would later also express during the General Assembly the project coordinator will compile a repository of the current recommendations and will ask members – and especially working groups – to sort, edit and expand this repository (before the Barcelona workshop and then ongoing). The aim is to be able to present a first draft of the recommendations during the Luxemburg workshop (also to the commission, since the project officer will be there), and to collect external feedback on them.

Flow Questionnaire

Prodromos announces that he has drafted the questionnaire for the flow model and explains to the working group in detail how to complete it (see the WG3 wiki for recordings and notes from his presentation). After the presentation Maarten suggests that the main effort of WG3 should focus on the flow models. The first step is piloting the current questionnaire with individual projects that the working group members are themselves involved with. This will be a two-way and step-by-step process of the working group members together with Prodromus to also improve the questionnaire. After this piloting WG3 will be able to provide a – hopefully self-perpetual – methodology. To get more input Maarten will suggest to Juan Carlos the possibility to have additional working group meetings and also invite people involved with interesting project outside of COMMUNIA to fill in the questionnaire. One possibility is having one before or after the Barcelona workshop and to invite some of the speakers from the workshop. All data collected with the flow questionnaires will be analyzed to detect causality within the projects that can lead arguments to base policy recommendations on.


The work done on the biography by Bozena needs input. Because this involves expertise that is currently not present within WG3 Maarten will put a request for input on the general COMMUNIA list. We also decide that this work will not become the main goal of WG3.

Notes from the 5th Communia Workshop, London, 27th March 2009

Barcelona Workshop Proposal

The proponents elaborate on their current proposal for a COMMUNIA workshop in Barcelona on the “Public Domain and Memory Institutions”. They have already invited several speakers and are thinking of making the workshop a two-day event (first and second of October). Input they would like from WG3 includes:
- Possible keynote speakers from different memory institution that talk about solutions involving the main topic of this workshop (not the problems involved).
- Speakers on privacy issues surrounding archives in particular (Rome Library, Amsterdam City Archive, Danish Internet Archive and Welcome Trust might also be of interest here).
- Speakers on preservation/mass digitization projects (German Film Institute, Images for the Future, Strategic Content Alliance and Ithaka might be of interest here).
- Speakers on partnerships with commercial partners like for instance publishers.

Grid Model

Maarten asks the WG3 members for their opinion on the draft for the Grid Model Questionnaire he has distributed through the list. Everyone agrees it makes sense to use the current version (including “silent” as an extra option for the yes/no questions). Maarten will forward the final version on the list.

Because not everyone has already filled in a questionnaire (as decided during the previous workshop), Maarten asks if the current corpus for selecting projects to apply the questionnaire to is clear. Everyone agrees it should focus on projects related to (mass) digitization involving memory institutions providing access to (parts of) their collections. Because most WG3 members are from different countries, it also makes sense to focus on national flagship projects, everyone agrees. Every WG3 member will fill in three grid questionnaires for three of these national projects before May.

Flow Model

Prodromos explains he hasn’t been able to finalize a questionnaire for the flow model. Maarten asks what a suited corpus would be to apply this questionnaire to. Prodromus suggests applying it to single memory institutions that coordinate and/or participate in several projects related to (mass) digitization and providing access to (parts of) their collections. Examples would be: funded digitization projects, ongoing digitization (part of the institution’s structural budget), dissemination/repository projects, and aggregation projects. Every WG3 member will think about a national memory institution to apply the flow questionnaire to. Prodromos will examine the forthcoming grid model questionnaire entries for interesting projects/memory institutions to apply the flow questionnaire to.


Put the final template for the grid model on the wiki
Create a template for the flow model
Apply the grid model to three national project of choice
Select a national memory institution to apply the flow questionnaire to

Notes from the 4th Communia Workshop, Zurich, 23rd January 2009

Chair Change

Patrick opens the session with the decision to give up his chairmanship of the WG and suggesting to hand it over to Maarten Brinkerink, who was the only volunteer. Patrick asks for votes. Everybody present votes in favour of this decision. Patrick formally gives up his position as chairman and hands it over to Maarten, who accepts.

Formulation of Goals and Ambitions

- Mapping ‘best practices’ based on an analysis of projects by key player memory institutions that distribute cultural material for reuse between institutions or for the public. WG3 will analyse the license schemes and terms of use within selected projects, by using relatively simple grid and flow models that all the stakeholders can understand. This analysis can be compared to the mission statements of the corresponding institutions, specific projects, and EU policy guidelines.
- Providing an outline for Public Domain Day as an international ‘just add water’ event that several national institutions can adopt to celebrate that new works have entered the public domain. WG3 will base this outline on the experiences in Poland and Hungary last year.
- Contributing suggestions for the programme of the Digital Libraries and the Public Domain workshop organised by the Communia members in Barcelona.
- Contribution input to other WG’s with overlapping topics upon request, and finally contributing to a joined Communia manifesto and policy advised.

Mapping ‘Best Practices’

Currently ‘walled gardens’ and ‘clean hands’ models seem to dominate the distribution of cultural material for reuse between institutions or for the public. The restrictive approach of these models is a potential danger to the public domain. On the other hand there is also a growing tendency of inventing national solutions to enabling the reuse of cultural goods in – for example – educational setting. But the essential jurisdictional boundaries of theses solutions seem to contradict EU policy and the diminishing of borders between collections caused by mass digitization of cultural heritage. WG3 aims at mapping some ‘best practices’ through the analysis of projects by key player memory institutions.

Grid Model

The grid model allows for a simple analysis and comparison of (multilingual) license schemes and terms of use, just by answering yes/no questions based on a predetermined set of important criteria and putting them on a grid. We will ignore elements that do not fit into the grid. WG3 proposes the following criteria for this, based on three questions:

What are you allowed to do with the content?
- Copy?
- Share?
- Modify?

What are the limitations?
- Jurisdiction/geographic boundaries?
- Educational/research/private/non-commercial use only?
- Technical user authorisation requirement?

What are the requirements?
- Attribute?
- Share-alike?
- Cross-license?
- License to privileged party?

Flow Model

The flow model is currently being developed by Prodromos and is based on his research on how memory institutions deal with the commons and the public domain. For this he conducted seven case studies and modelled the flows of value, permissions and limitations in relation to the content and licensing, resulting in three basic models. WG3 will use these models to further analyse its selection of projects and complement the grid models.

Selection of projects

Each member of WG3 will start by selecting one (national) project she/he is familiar with to apply the grid and flow models to, so we will have done some preliminary analysis we can evaluate during the 5th Communia workshop WG session. From there we will decide on how to expand the corpus of case studies. One case of special interest is the flagship EU project Europeana. During the course of project we might also design a questionnaire to distribute among all Communia members to collect more cases studies to analyse.

Public Domain Day

We agree that the organisation of an actual Public Domain Day is beyond the scope of WG3. However, we will provide an outline for Public Domain Day as an international ‘just add water’ event that several national institutions can adopt to celebrate that new works have entered the public domain. WG3 will base this outline on the experiences in Poland and Hungary last year. This outline will consist of a list of task, based on an example of a Public Domain Day event.

Digital Libraries and the Public Domain Workshop

Ignasi gives an update on the current plans of the Communia members in Barcelona for a workshop on “Digital Libraries and the Public Domain”. The current plan is to focus one part of the day on digital libraries and one part on digital preservation. Based on the current proposal WG3 will provide feedback and suggestions. This might include presentations of some preliminary outcomes of WG3.


Join the WG3 wiki
Put the 4th Communia workshop WG3 sessions outcome on the wiki
Send the proposal for the Communia workshop in Barcelona to all WG3 members
Send a request information about projects needed for a flow model in the form of a questionnaire
Create a template for the grid model
Provide feedback and suggestions to the proposal for the Communia workshop in Barcelona
Apply a grid and flow model analysis to a (national) project of choice

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