Business at the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy (Penguin Business Library)
On 17 February the legal deposit provisions of the Commonwealth Copyright Act were extended to include electronic publications for the first time. This paper outlines the implementation of electronic deposit for non-web material at the National Library. It demonstrates how a strong legislative basis combined with large-scale technological redevelopment and digital upskilling of staff has transformed workflows, empowered staff and enabled an improved approach to stakeholder relations at the Library.
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Within Australia, legal deposit was first established as a statutory principle shortly after Federation in the Copyright Act This followed earlier state-based legal deposit schemes, which remain in place today. Under the federal provisions, Australian publishers were required to provide the best copy of each book published within one month of publication to the Librarian of the Commonwealth Parliament.
While the Act was eventually superseded by the Copyright Act and Parliamentary Library replaced with the National Library, the legal deposit provisions remained substantially unchanged for over a century.
Recognising this deficiency, the National Library set up a voluntary deposit scheme for electronic format publishing in A year later it was a world-leader in establishing a web archive, Pandora, which relied on publisher agreement before content could be archived. This enabled the Library to selectively archive several thousand Australian web-sites, capturing many early examples of web publishing.
While Pandora was remarkably effective in preserving content that would otherwise have been lost, other schemes to collect non-web material had more limited success. All were very labour-intensive to manage and often resulted in patchy holdings. Indeed, ebooks offered to the Library prior to were regularly returned to the sender as the Library had no mechanism to preserve or provide access to their content. The lack of legal deposit legislation for electronic material was of increasing concern to the National Library. In the decades following, the Library continued to make the case for a change to the legislation in a number of forums and government inquiries.
The submission pointed to the increasing range and scope of electronic content being made publicly available. Many of the parliamentary and government inquiries during this period, to which the Library made formal submissions, also concluded that an amendment to the legislation was required, including the Copyright Law Review Committee , the Joint Committee on Publications and many submissions to the government review. It is also quite apparent that, as presently worded, [the legal deposit scheme] is only of limited value in achieving this purpose.
Following a further consultation paper in , legislation was drafted and passed by Parliament in June and came into effect eight months later in February Without a legislative mandate, the National Library had struggled to make significant inroads into collecting non-web electronic material in the preceding two decades. De Beer et al. While Australia lagged behind many other countries in the provision of a legislative mandate to collect electronic publications, the experience gained by the Library in the preceding years, was not wasted.
On both fronts, the Library has been well-served by the legislation eventually formulated and passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, which, unlike schemes in other jurisdictions, is not reliant on the issue of further regulations. The new provisions in the Copyright Act ss.
This includes print and electronic books, journals, magazines, newsletters, reports, sheet music, maps, websites and public social media. They apply to any Australian person, group or organisation that makes their online  or offline publications  available to the public either for sale or for free. Material that is primarily audio-visual is excluded from the provisions.
The legislation has been framed to reduce the compliance burden on both publishers and the Library. For print and other offline material, the legislation preserves much of the features of the old scheme. Given the potential for uncertainty resulting from the large scale and dynamic nature of online publishing, it also ensures clarity for publishers about what content they need to deliver. A particularly innovative feature of the legislation, reflecting an understanding of the digital age, is that it enables the Library to request electronic material without any restriction based on place of publication or distribution.
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While the provisions for offline material specify that it must be published in Australia, there is not the same specification for online material. Although the Act is only enforceable on those subject to Australian law, this provision enables the Library to request self-published works by Australians, even where the authors are using online services based overseas. The Library commenced development of its edeposit service, which is the public interface of an end-to-end digital collection management system, early in The over-arching goal of the DLIR program is to ensure that material of national significance relating to Australia and the Australian people is collected, preserved and accessible in digital form.
The new service www. It was developed with four clear objectives:. A team of in-house business analysts, developers and Library collections management staff collaborated closely to develop the service in-house using Prince 2 project management methodology and utilising Agile for work packages. While the multi-system infrastructure has increased the training load for staff, this is partly offset by the repurposing of systems already in use and familiar to staff, such as RefTracker.
This approach has also helped to contain development costs and resulted in a more flexible system design. The process for single deposits of books, music scores and maps is very simple. The access agreement allows the publisher three choices:.
As mentioned above, the legislation requires publications to be deposited free of technological protection measures TPM. When the publisher submits their publication files, the system performs a number of automated quality assurance checks. These are:. Behind the scenes, a weekly process then transfers the publisher metadata into a MARC record, creating the base record on Voyager incorporating Resource Description and Access RDA standard templating, at which point the publication is available to the public via the catalogue and Trove digital library.
To speed up the process from their end, publishers can set up an edeposit account listing their contact details and default access agreement. This enables them to keep track of all previous deposits via the service.
Certain categories of publications, such as those published overseas, are automatically sent for manual review by staff before being ingested into the digital management system. This allows a level of control over the material accepted into the collection. The process for deposit of individual serial titles requires additional steps. The publisher must set up an account with the edeposit service and then register their publication through the web application, providing details such as frequency and previous printing history, and upload a sample issue.
Data is then submitted to RefTracker, which is used to manage selection decisions and communications with publishers. If a title is selected, it is set up in the edeposit service and publishers are advised that they can now upload future issues. Once the set-up work is completed, however, the process of uploading new issues is very straightforward, requiring minimal new metadata and these issues are immediately available to the public without any further intervention by staff. The batch deposit process was released in late September , enabling major publishing houses to transfer multiple files and metadata directly or via a third party distributor, CoreSource.
Another automated batch ingest process was developed to allow Australian journal content from the publisher Wiley and associated metadata to be collected at the article level for the first time.
Data and files, whether deposited through the edeposit service or a batch process, are transferred to a dedicated digital preservation management environment to ensure ongoing preservation. There is currently a three month lag between the date of submission and transfer to the digital preservation system to allow time for cataloguing work to be completed and to give publishers enough time to re-submit their content if any problems are found during cataloguing.
The process of ingesting content into the digital preservation system, which occurs in weekly batches, is fully automated: it identifies content which is ready for ingest, creates Submission Information Packages and ingests them into the preservation system. The original checksum created upon submission of the content by publisher is included in the Submission Information Package as it is used to verify the integrity of the content during ingest.
Digital Preservation staff perform regular pre- and post-ingest audits to ensure the quality and completeness of ingested content and metadata. Six teams are directly involved in processing legal deposit material and another team contributes to cataloguing work. All teams are multi-functional and several are responsible for acquisition of other material as well, for example donations and purchased material. System and workflow design have been intrinsically linked right from the outset.
An internal working group, involving all team leaders, was established early to consider workflows, which has helped to ensure a consistent approach across the teams involved in legal deposit work. Three broad principles have governed workflow decisions:. By implementing the first two principles, resources are freed up to focus on value-adding tasks, such as authority work. This is critical, considering that the receipt of print publications under legal deposit has not diminished in the months since the new legislation came into effect.
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While the processing of print material is conducted side by side with the processing of edeposit material by the same staff and in the same teams, the workflows are very different. Due to the nature of online material, some activities are eliminated altogether. For print publications, it can take several hours to unpack the weekly mail trolley. Each week on average the Library receives books and new serial issues of journals, magazines and newsletters.
As we transfer more print titles to the edeposit service, there will be even fewer manual activities, enabling staff to focus on other tasks. These changes have the indirect benefits of reducing manual handling injuries and the need for physical storage of material. End-processing activities are also eliminated for electronic material. There is no need to physically accession items, assign shelf numbers, or label material.
The National Library operates as a closed stacks library, so over time stacks retrieval work by Library staff will also reduce. The virtual mailroom has replaced the physical mailroom. Just as there are separate processing shelves for different categories of print material, the virtual mailroom is also distributed across the six teams undertaking edeposit work.
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Instead of the delivery and sorting of physical material onto processing shelves, automatic email notifications of new edeposit submissions are sent to generic team inboxes, to which all team members have access. Individual staff select a submission to work on and complete the end to end processing of the epublication selected. Self-allocation of work was seen as important — it replicates the existing workflow for print, where staff select material from the processing shelves, and also provides staff with a sense of autonomy and control over their work.
The most significant efficiencies in workflows and processes result from the re-use of publisher-supplied metadata for deposits of ebooks, escores and emaps.
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Holdings data and URL fields are also automatically created during the transfer of data between the two systems. Even for single deposits, this has created efficiencies by reducing keying by staff and the risk of typing errors. This allows staff to focus on the more intellectual parts of cataloguing, such as subject analysis. Having the electronic content available during the cataloguing process has additional benefits as one staff member noted in describing the new workflow for a National and State Libraries Australasia NSLA presentation:. The book is no longer on my desk or in my trolley!