Recent changes to Australia’s Copyright Act will allow the National Library of Australia to broaden significantly its efforts to preserve the country’s digital cultural heritage.
The Civil Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, passed in June, was an omnibus bill that included among its provisions a number of amendments to the Copyright Act 1968.
“It’s a really significant event for the National Library of Australia and for Australian libraries in general,” said Alison Dellit, the NLA’s director, Australian Collection Management.
The library has had a web archiving program that’s been in operation since 1995. (“It’s a world of brightly coloured text and rotating GIFs”, Dellit said.)
That harvesting has occurred on a voluntary basis through negotiations with publishers. The library will now be able to increase scope of web harvesting and therefore the material available to researchers.
The National Library of Australia is halfway through a project to replace the underlying infrastructure used to collect digital material such as ebooks and websites.
The NLA’s Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement Project is due for completion in 2017, Dellit said.
“It involves the complete replacement of the underlying software behind our web harvesting as well as the technology that we’ll need to bring in ebooks and in fact our storage, preservation and delivery systems for digital content,” she said.