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Storage Media - Legal and Ethical Issues

Q. What legal and ethical considerations should I consider?

Digital collection management presents a number of legal issues to take into consideration.  Before you start any digital information management activity, you should take some time to consider how you will address these issues and document your decisions in a formal plan and/or policy.


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  • Personal data
  • Sensitive data
  • Confidential data
  • Informed consent
  • Anonymity
  • Copyright


Review use cases and resources



  • Van den Eynden, Veerle, Louise Corti, et al.  "Managing and sharing data."  Colchester, UK Data Archive, 2011.
    Section on Ethics and Consent (pages 22-31) suggests three factors to be considered in gathering research data about people: consent, anonymising data, and controlling access to data.
  • Cornell University Library. "Legal Issues."  Chap. 5 in Digital Preservation Management Tutorial: Implementing Short-term Strategies for Long-term Problems, 2003-2007.

    Provides a brief overview of the legal issues involving copyright along with a case study and some suggested resources.

  • Library of Congress NDIIP, JISC, OAK Law Project, and the SURFfoundation.  "International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital Preservation."  September 2008.
    This study focuses on the copyright and related laws of Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States and the impact of those laws on digital preservation of copyrighted works.  It also addresses proposals for legislative reform and efforts to develop non-legislative solutions to the challenges that copyright law presents for digital preservation.
  • Coyle, Karen.  “Rights in the PREMIS Data Model: A Report for the Library of Congress.”  Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, December 2006.
    The PREMIS standard contains a rights entity that allows the association of rights with specific digital preservation actions.  This paper looks at the various definitions of rights, the state of rights metadata, and surveys legislative actions taking place in many nations that will provide a legal standing for digital preservation activities.
  • Hirtle, Peter B.  "Digital Preservation and Copyright."  Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources.
    Considers copyright law in the light of making digital preservation copies.
  • Hirtle, Peter.  "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States."  Last updated January 3, 2012.
    This table details U.S. copyright law applications for various types of works as of January 1, 2012.
  • JISC.  "Copyright and Intellectual Property Law."
    JISC Legal offers sector specific guidance and detailed publications to assist you in this area of law, as well as a varied range of FAQs with relevant examples and useful recommended links to other resources.
  • Besek, June M.  "Copyright Issues Relevant to the Creation of a Digital Archive: A Preliminary Assessment."  Council on Library and Information Resources & Library of Congress, January 2003.
    This paper describes copyright rights and exceptions and highlights issues potentially involved in the creation of a nonprofit digital archive.


Last updated on 08/26/13, 9:21 pm by callee



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