Vol 34 | No 2 | Spring 16
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HathiTrust Copyright IMLS Grant Project

ImageThe UCI Libraries recently completed participation in a three-year National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), led by the University of Michigan (UM), to create a Copyright Review Management System (CRMS). The purpose of the project was to determine the copyright status of over 115,000 books in the HathiTrust that were published in United Kingdom, Canada and Australia from 1874-1944. At the end of the project, over 323,000 works were identified as public domain, which are no longer protected by copyright and can be freely used by anyone.

The review process focused on the verification of the copyright status of the books using various tools embedded in the CRMS built by UM programmers. The CRMS used jurisdiction-specific review tools to identify the death date of the author(s) of a given work and appended that date to the catalog record for each work published by the author. Additionally, project contributors searched the work for "inserts," that is, content by another author that may still be under copyright protection. These "inserts" authors included illustrators, series editors, and authors of prefaces and introductions. If the death date of the author or "inserts" author was outside the term of years for a given publication, the CRMS calculated when the book would be available in the public domain via the HathiTrust.

The CRMS project succeeded by making tens of thousands of public domain works available, determining when works in copyright will enter the public domain, building global partnerships to distribute the effort of making determinations and furthering the national and international dialogue on our shared cultural and academic history. At the conclusion of the project, the copyright reviewers contributed over half a million reviews since each book was reviewed by at least three copyright reviewers. There are about 38,000 books left to be reviewed. Many of the partners are volunteering their work to complete the last remaining books. The project increased access to digital library collections worldwide.

The copyright reviewers at partner institutions included almost twenty libraries in the United States including the UCLA, UCSF, and the California Digital Library. Irvine participants included Carol Hughes, Associate University for Public Services (now retired) and Colby Riggs, Information Technology Project Coordinator.

HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. There are more than sixty partners in HathiTrust, which Irvine is a member, and membership is open to institutions worldwide. The mission of HathiTrust is to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge. Most importantly the HathiTrust allows users to view full-text of works in the public domain, provides limited searching through books in copyright and allows for "non-consumptive" uses.

The IMLS National Leadership Project Grants support projects that advance the ability of museums, archives, and libraries to preserve culture, heritage, and knowledge. It is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The CRMS work to clarify the copyright status, and make these materials public domain, was so important that it resulted in the project receiving the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award from the American Library Association (ALA).

For more information, please contact Colby Riggs, Information Technology Project Coordinator at cmriggs@uci.edu or x46078.