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Electronic Legal Deposit
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Book description

This edited collection provides a timely account of the social, institutional and user impacts of e-legal deposit. Since legal deposit regulations were introduced in the United Kingdom and Germany in the 17th Century, societies have benefitted from the systematic preservation of our written cultural record by a small number of trusted national and academic libraries. This book brings together some of the leading contemporary international authorities on legal deposit to explore two primary questions. First, what is the impact of electronic legal deposit on the 21st Century library? And second, what does the future hold for libraries as legal deposit collections meet the digital age? The 2013 announcement of e-Legal Deposit brought, for the first time, written information online under the purview of the UK Legal Deposit Libraries, a trend evident across the world. This was heralded as a vital step in preserving the UK's ‘digital universe’, a grand assertion that requires careful interrogation. In particular, while the regulations allow for the systematic collection of digitised and born-digital texts, they also prescribe how these materials can be accessed by the public in the short to medium term. The interface between legal deposit as an activity for posterity, and open data-driven approaches to research and government, define the nature of this mooted digital universe. Electronic Legal Deposit draws on evidence gathered from real-world case studies produced in collaboration with world-leading libraries, researchers and practitioners, as well as provide a thorough overview of the state of legal deposit at an important juncture in the history of library collections. The book addresses several issues:

  • contemporary user behaviour with e-legal deposit collections
  • the relationship between e-legal deposit, digital library services, and the digital divide
  • ways in which legal deposit legislation shape our use of library collections
  • the impact of digital scholarship on library services
  • the future of legal deposit in a changing information landscape
  • the long-term implications of how our digital collections are conceived, regulated and used.
  • The book will be essential reading for practitioners and researchers in national and research libraries. The book will also be useful reading to other library practitioners and researchers due to the unique way in which electronic legal deposit encompasses a number of key issues for the digital age: copyright and digital library collections; publisher-library relations; access and the digital divide; innovative digital scholarship methods and developing digital library infrastructures.

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