DPC Response to Second Consultation on Legal Deposit (December 2010)

The DPC has responded to the second phase of consultation on Electronic Legal Deposit noting the essential relationship between preservation and access. We note and welcome the proposal that extend legal deposit to include charged content as well as content to which access is restricted. This will create the conditions where a more rounded and more valuable national archive can be created.

Experience in digital preservation shows that normalization and adherence to standards in the creation of digital resources are advantageous to long term access. Therefore we have some questions pertaining to the practicality of provisions regarding deposit of materials, in particular those regulations that leave the medium and quality of electronic deposits at the discretion of publishers, and those regulations that pertain to adapting content for preservation. If poorly implemented, these provisions could have the inadvertent result of making preservation intractable or excessively complicated.

We recognise that recommendations from the DPC are best focussed on those topics where we can offer specialist commentary. Therefore it is not our intention to provide a detailed scrutiny of each element of these regulations. However it is our view that preservation is only sensible within the context of access, and that preservation should be configured around the impact that comes with access. Therefore we have commented on a small number of access issues that we believe have a bearing on the case for preservation.

In January 2010 the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) consulted on draft regulations for the legal deposit of ‘free of charge’ electronic publications – the ‘free web’.  This consultation was intended to be the first part of a two part process and the DPC responded arguing inter alia that the second phase of proposals be presented without delay as arguably the ‘paid web’ includes material of lasting value and that until regulations were introduced this element of our collected digital memory would be at risk. 

 In September DCMS published a paper for the second phase of the consultation process.  The regulations discussed this time apply to a much broader range of material including publications for which there is a charge, publications which are subject to access restrictions and material compiled by queries from databases.  It excludes sound and film recordings and unpublished material.

Details of this consultation are available online at: http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/Cons-non-print-legal-deposit-2011.pdf 

The draft regulations to which the consultation applies are online at: http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/draft-regulations-legaldeposit-nonprint-publications.pdf

Full text of the DPC response is available here. [pdf, 340KB]

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