This post is by Brandy Karl, Copyright Officer @ the Pennsylvania State University and member of PA Digital Metadata Team Rights Subgroup and Rachel Appel, co-project manager of PA Digital.

MARAC2018
Our panel! Top row from left: Doreva Belfiore, Linda Tompkins-Baldwin, Gabe Galson, Jen Palmentiero. Bottom row from left: Paul Kelly, Rachel Appel, Brandy Karl. Photo taken by Jessica Lydon.

This month, we had the pleasure of presenting at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives (MARAC) Spring 2018 Conference in Hershey, PA along with PA Digital colleagues, Doreva Belfiore (HSLC), Gabe Galson (Temple University), and members of other hubs, Paul Kelly (DC Public Library and District Digital), Linda Tompkins-Baldwin (Enoch Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource and Digital Maryland), and Jen Palmentiero (Southeastern New York Library Resources Council and Empire State Digital Network).

A highlight of the conference was the keynote by Trevor Owens, Head of Digital Content Management at the Library of Congress. Trevor’s keynote was framed around his book Theory & Craft of Digital Preservation (full preprint available via link). He discussed how we’ve been working on digital preservation for over half a century and made points about the holistic nature of digital preservation. For example, software cannot preserve anything and a repository is the work that people do with tools, workflows and processes. Hoarding is also not digital preservation and therefore appraisal is key. It was a great way to start the conference!

Our own panel was a birds-of-a-feather on rights statements, “True Rights Statement Confessions” [slides can be found at this link]. The completely Q&A focused session aimed to bring together various experts from mid-Atlantic DPLA Hubs who have implemented standardized rights statements for digital collections, worked on education and training for its constituent institutions’ digital collections, or have done rights statements analyses across their home institution or constituent collections. Attendees were encouraged to ask any questions about normalized rights statements. We had some great questions and discussions, such as when to use the Public Domain license versus the No Copyright – US statement and how rights statements are user-centric and focus on potential uses of the item than the repository’s risk profile.

Interestingly, we did get a number of questions that focused on copyright concerns. One great question asked about the difference between the rights of the original work and the digitized facsimile, or surrogate. Other questions included where to put in permissions information (if at all) and the notion of what is someone’s intellectual property in handwritten modern letters.

We had a total of 68 attendees and did not need to use any of our backup questions in case folks didn’t have any. We hope the attendees enjoyed the session and MARAC Spring 2018 as much as we did.

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