We’ve reached a milestone in the project, sending out our first batch of items for digitisation last week (622 pages of text, maps, photos, and plans) . The items relate to local factories such as Corah, Liberty and D. Byford & Co., and were selected for their relevance to two of our four themes (Organisation of the Factory and Conservation and Regeneration). We’re hoping to get them back around the middle of March, so the addition of metadata via CONTENTdm can begin.
In the meantime, I have been attempting to track down authors, firms, publishers and architects to either contact them for permission to use items, or to enable me to establish which are orphan works. I’ve consulted the WATCH files, FOB database, Companies House, the Web2Rights risk management calculator, SUNCAT, COPAC, ALCS, the Writers Guild, the Society of Authors, RIBA and the British Library, as well as Google, the history of a swimming club in Bristol (their chairman had the same name as an author I was searching for), a local knitting blog, and Crockford’s Clerical Directories, to name but a few avenues. If anyone out there has suggestions on where else I could check to find further information please let me know, as I am keen to do my due diligence check as thoroughly as possible.
As a result of my investigations (I do sometimes feel a bit like Sherlock Holmes) I would estimate that approximately 367 pages/items (59%) are orphan works either because we don’t know who the creator is/was, a firm has gone out of business or because we know the creator, but they are most certianly deceased and did not leave any beneficiaries as far as I can establish. I’m actually surprised that the percentage is that low, but it may be that as I receive responses from presumed rights holders, the figure will increase.
My gut instinct for these orphan works, backed up by the results of the Web2Rights risk management calculator (which indicates low risk for all but one item), is that we should go ahead and make them available, relying on our takedown policy should rightsholders come forward. Indeed, if they do come forward I shall be very glad of the information as it will allow us to present a more rounded view of the companies in question.
Aside from copyright matters, I have also been fine-tuning and updating our tracking workbook, which consists of 4 spreadhseets – Items to be digitised; Digitisation; Copyright; Progress (through workpackages), adding a column for our academic colleagues to specify metadata keywords for current and future selections, and Terese and I have been to the Local Record Office to see the resources they will be digitising for the project.
So we are progressing well for two of our themes, and should soon be entering their next stages (metadata, upload and OER creation) whilst ingesting/digesting the selections for the remaining two themes (Deindustrialisation and the Ecology of the Industrial City).