Friday 23 October 2009

Final post

A short and final post to let you know the DCC Blawg has come to an end. As part of the Phase III restructuring of the DCC there will be some changes in the coming months. One of these is that the DCC will no longer have a legal component.

Should you have any queries about the legal aspects of your digital curation activities you may find the JISC Legal service a useful source of guidance.

Best wishes

Monday 19 October 2009

Digital Lives - New Paper on Legal and Ethical Issues

The Digital Lives Project has just released what looks to be a very useful and comprehensive discussion paper on Legal and Ethical Issues authored by Andrew Charlesworth.

The paper examines a range of legal and ethical issues that pertain to personal digital archives and their collection, preservation and access. The legal areas covered include copyright, data protection and privacy law, freedom of information requirements, and content liability both civil and criminal. The paper also examines the issue of ethics in the collection and preservation of, and access to personal digital archives.

One of the conclusions the paper comes to is that technology frequently runs ahead of existing laws and ethical guidelines, and at least some of the solutions to the problems this can cause are likely to lie outside traditional approaches to handling legal and ethical issues.

It goes on to examines a number of potential strategies/solutions that could be employed to
reduce legal and ethical problems/risks. These include:
  • Wider use of metadata
  • Greater involvement of repositories in the development of Web 2.0/user created content
  • Relinquishing some of the ‘gatekeeper’ role, traditionally held by repositories when accessioning content, to depositors
  • Seeking to change aspects of the legal deposit system.
Digital Lives are welcoming feedback on the paper. You can contact them via

Thursday 15 October 2009

New data protection resources

The DCC has published a new standards watch paper on BS 10012 Data Protection — Specification for a Personal Information Management System.

The standard, which is the first British standard for the management of personal information was introduced in May this year. It was developed by the British Standards Insitute (BSI) to provide a framework that enables effective management of personal information, paving the way for an infrastructure for maintaining and improving compliance with data protection legislation.

Take a read of the new DCC Standards Watch Paper here.

In related news, BSI has launched BSI Data Protection Online, a tool designed to help organisations with the effective management of personal information.

Research carried out by BSI earlier this year found that many organisations are falling behind in their approach to data protection, with almost one in five surveyed admitting to unwittingly breaching the Data Protection Act.

The new online self-assessment tool offers guidance and self-assessment in support of BS 10012. It is applicable to any organisation that holds personal information, regardless of its size, complexity and sector. It allows organisations to undertake a self-assessment process against the requirements of BS 10012 and embed data protection best practice within the organisation.

Specifically, the resource will allow you to:
• Undertake a self-assessment process against the requirements of BS 10012
• Get contextual help throughout the process, written by data protection experts
• Start new, or amend existing, self-assessments whenever needed allowing you to track your progress
• Share self-assessments with colleagues and embed data protection best practice within your organization.

Mike Low, Director, Standards, BSI, said:
"Our recent survey showed that there are many organisations out there struggling with data protection. With the Information Commissioner’s growing compulsory audit powers it is more important than ever to make sure that your data protection practices are up to scratch. If you hold personal information, whether it relates to staff, clients, customers or members, you need to be familiar with current legislation and confident that your own organisation measures up."

Digital Evidence Workshops

We wanted to let you know about a series of workshops on the subject of digital evidence taking place next week at Liverpool University. These will investigate how digital information should be considered in court; and the consequential need to create new rules of evidence based not on tradition but on how digital information actually comes into creation.

The public workshops take place over three days and are as follows:

Tue 20 October - International compliance requirements (EU perspective) using iRODS data grid as policy engine (Reagan Moore / Stephen Mason)
Wed 21 October - General NARA presentation (Reagan Moore / Jason Baron)
Thur 22 October - eDiscovery and eRetention (Jason Baron)

All days are free of charge. If you are interested in attending please contact Paul Watry -

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Press release - JISC Collections to acquire Content Complete Ltd

You may be interested in the following press release from the JISC Collections service:

“JISC Collections, the organisation which manages the acquisition and provision of digital resources for universities and colleges in the UK, has reached an agreement to acquire Content Complete Ltd, the Oxfordshire-based licensing and negotiations company.

Content Complete was established in 2003 by Albert Prior and Paul Harwood with the aim of supporting organisations involved in licensing scholarly online content. The Company provides an outsourced service, representing clients in direct negotiations with publishers on pricing
and licensing issues. Content Complete employs seven staff and has a range of clients in the academic, health and corporate sectors.

For the last six years, Content Complete has been JISC Collections' Negotiation Agent for NESLi2, the UK's online journal initiative for the higher education and research communities and has delivered significant savings as a result of this focused and centralised approach. The company has also worked very closely with JISC Collections on a range of projects and activities in this area including archiving, usage data, online journal business models and, more recently, e-textbooks.”

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Digital Britain - Implementation Plan

The UK government has released the details of how it will implement the recommendations in its Digital Britain report. The Digital Britain report was a government commissioned study published in June of this year that made recommendations for how the government could deal with online piracy, extend broadband internet access, and better regulate digital broadcasting.

Responsibility for putting the Digital Britain Report into action will be shared by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The implementation plan confirms that there will be a Digital Economy Bill, published in the autumn.

The plan is available here.

Some of the key paragraphs in the original report from my legal/digital curation perspective were:

Modernising Licensing
33. The UK copyright framework is 300 years old this year. But it has not stood
still. Copyright has had to evolve continually to meet the technological
challenges of photography, the gramophone, film, television, the video recorder,
the photocopier and latterly the Internet and the World Wide Web. And
copyright needs to evolve further in the digital age.

38. The Copyright Strategy’s focus is long term, and global. The Digital Britain
report focuses on what needs to be done in the UK. Much of copyright law is
an EU competence and the UK must work within that European framework.
Nonetheless, the Digital Britain work and the IPO’s copyright strategy work
have shown that, in addition to completing the work of Gowers in this area,
there are changes that could be made at national level which would aid the
process of implementing Digital Britain.

47. As part of the Government’s desire to encourage inexpensive but legal
consumer access to digital content, we will also make some changes to the
legislative framework around copyright licensing, to tackle problems such as
those surrounding the use of so-called orphan works and thus help digital
markets in those works to develop.

Data Security and Assurance
52.The issue of privacy and security of data online is a serious and growing one.
A small number of high-profile cases have demonstrated the strong feelings
that data privacy can provoke, and the complex relationship we have to the
handling of different types of personal data and different types of consent.

53. It is an issue that is likely to become more and more important over the coming
months. Research conducted by the Communications Consumer Panel earlier
this year confirmed that this is an area of particular concern for consumers and
new business models such as targeted advertising and new services such as
Google’s Streetview have taken this issue to front of the public’s mind.

54. If handled properly, new business models such as targeted advertising could be
important revenue earners because, as Meglena Kuneva, EU Consumer Affairs
Commissioner said in March this year: “Personal data is the new oil of the
Internet and the new currency of the digital world.”

55. The ICO and the Information Commissioner have taken the initiative in
addressing the principles which should apply to the use of personal data,
building on the bare legal requirements of the Data Protection Act and focusing
on ways in which businesses and individuals can mitigate risks from the
provision and use of online data. Businesses that collect and use personal data
for commercial purposes are required to respect user rights including access to
personal data. Businesses are legally responsible to the ICO. We support the
ICO’s plans to develop a new code of practice “Personal Information
Online” for consultation later this year.

79. Public Service data and content play an increasingly important role in the
digital economy. The Government has embraced the vision of the Power of
Information Task Force and, in respect of important data sources for innovation,
such as geospatial data, agencies are significantly improving access to data and
clearer licensing pathways from innovation to large scale commercial use.

80 Government commissioning represents a third of the total investment in
professional UK online content. Despite existing guidance many public online
commissions still prohibit the re-use of IP. This leads to wasteful warehousing
of rights. NESTA will pilot a simplified IP framework for digital media bringing
together PACT, the Cabinet Office, Kew Gardens and Arts Council England.

Monday 24 August 2009

Safe Storage and Transfer of Research Data - Free Seminar

For those of you in, or near Edinburgh, the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (WTCRF) is running a free lunchtime seminar on Wednesday 23rd September on the topic of ‘Safe Storage and Transfer of Research Data’.

The seminar will provide an update on the current policies for storing and transferring data (which have been recently revised) and will also provide an opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions. It is particularly relevant to both NHS Lothian and University of Edinburgh staff, and especially those who work across both institutions.

For more details please see the WTCRF site