Contact: Information Officer
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For Immediate Release
NCLIS Issues Report from Symposium on Mass Digitization
Focus is on Implications for Information Policy
Washington DC May 10, 2006. The Chairman of the U.S. National
Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), Dr. Beth
Fitzsimmons, announced today the publication of a report from the
symposium "Scholarship and Libraries in Transition: A Dialogue about the
Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects." The symposium was held at the
University of Michigan on March 10-11, 2006. The URL for the free
24-page report is
Persons wishing to request a hard copy of the report may send a request
to [log in to unmask]
The idea for the symposium was inspired by the announcement in December
2004 for a partnership between Google, Inc. and five major research
libraries to digitize over 10 million unique titles. This partnership
launched a new era of large-scale digitization heretofore not imagined
feasible or affordable. However, the "Google 5" project has generated
many questions about the legal, social, economic, and other impacts of
this and similar projects that will inevitably follow Google's lead.
The symposium brought together scholars, librarians, publishers,
government leaders to discuss their concerns and issues. NCLIS
co-sponsored the symposium, which was planned and organized by the
University of Michigan Library staff and funded mainly by the University
After the symposium, because of their responsibility to address the
information and learning needs of the American people, NCLIS
Commissioners summed up nine major issues that have information policy
implications and connected them to key points made during the symposium.
The nine issues or areas that the Commission identified to have
potential impact on national information policy are:
1. Copyright: How should important aspects of copyright-fair use,
orphan works, opt-in vs. opt-out models-be handled in digitization
2. Quality: When is the quality of OCR good enough? What about
quality of content and authentication?
3. Libraries: What are the roles and priorities for libraries in
the digital age?
4. Ownership and preservation: Who will assume long-term ownership
of books and journals and other media? Who will take responsibility for
long-term preservation of books and journals and other media, and
preserving the public record?
5. Standardization and interoperability: How can the silos of
digital initiatives communicate with each other?
6. Publishers: What are the roles of publishers and booksellers in
the digital age?
7. Business models: What business models are needed in the era of
mass digitization? How will the open access movement affect the
economics of digitization?
8. Information literacy: What should be done about information
9. Assessment: What types of assessment are being used? How will
we know if digitization and electronic access are meeting people's
This report sums up the key points under each of these nine topics and
concludes that finding workable solutions will have to involve authors,
scholars, publishers, libraries, associations, and government agencies.
The solutions will involve education and awareness, policies,
responsibility, standards, quality, cooperation, rights, sustainability,
technology, and assessment.
The Webcast of the entire symposium may be found on the symposium Web
page: http://www.lib.umich.edu/mdp/symposium/ .
The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
(NCLIS) is a permanent, independent agency of the Federal government
charged by Public Law 91-345 to advise the President and Congress on
national and international library and information policies, to appraise
and assess the adequacies and deficiencies of library and information
resources and services, and to develop overall plans for meeting
national library and information needs.
# # #
Kim A. Miller
Special Assistant - Technical
U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
1800 M Street, NW; Suite 350 North Tower
Washington, DC 20036-5841
202-606-9200; Fax 202-606-9203
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