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Networked Electronic Publications
Policy and Guidelines

Electronic Collections Coordinating Group
National Library Of Canada
October 1998


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

Overview
History of Collection
Legal Deposit of Electronic Publications
Background and Legal Implications
Selection Policy and Legal Deposit

II. BASIC POLICY STATEMENTS

Acquisition
Access
Preservation

III. SELECTION POLICY

Overview
Electronic Collecting Status
Selection Guidelines and Criteria
Selection Criteria Canadiana Networked Publications
Selection Criteria Non-Canadiana Networked Publications
Selection Criteria For NLC Electronic Publications
Guidelines For Format Selection

IV. ACCESS POLICY

Overview
Access Options
Bibliographic Access
Access Software

V. PRESERVATION POLICY

Overview
Archiving Guidelines
Conversion
File Compression

Cooperative Preservation

APPENDIX : TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS


I. INTRODUCTION

OVERVIEW

The present shift toward electronic publishing in a networked environment raises a set of issues that expands and changes the way the National Library of Canada is fulfilling its heritage mandate. The current Collection Management Policy (1990) has already addressed the acquisition and preservation of electronic publications on physical media, but separate policy and guidelines are required to deal with identifying, locating, acquiring, reporting, storing and preserving networked electronic publications. Such publications are obtained over networks via protocols such as file transfer, electronic mail, or hypertext transfer. If these publications are not captured and preserved, major gaps in the Canadian heritage and research tools of the nation will occur.

Given the National Library's mandate to preserve the Canadian published heritage, simply acquiring the right to point or link to an electronic publication stored at the publisher's site is not sufficient to ensure the long term accessibility and preservation of Canadiana items. NLC must obtain an electronic copy of an electronic publication selected for its permanent collections. Experience to this time indicates that preservation of electronic publications cannot be left to electronic publishers, just as preservation of publications in other media is not left to publishers. Long-term preservation means ensuring that a publication survives long after copyright has expired and any archiving activity of the copyright holder or publisher has ceased. By acquiring an electronic publication from the originator as soon as it becomes published, the NLC is assured of preserving the integrity of a publication as originally released. The Library is also able to verify and ensure that the electronic publication is in a form that is readable by standard software and therefore accessible for current and future generations of readers and researchers.

HISTORY OF COLLECTION

The NLC has been building its collection of networked electronic publications since the summer of 1994. Following the recommendations of an earlier study, 1 the NLC conducted a pilot project during the period June 1994 to July 1995 to acquire, store, preserve, catalogue and provide access and service for a small number of existing Canadian on-line electronic journals and other representative publications available on the Internet. This project was called the Electronic Publications Pilot Project, or EPPP. One of the first activities of the EPPP was to define which types of electronic publications the NLC should acquire and preserve. This was accomplished by stating what, for NLC purposes during the pilot, an electronic publication was not. These exclusions were stated in terms of Internet delivery protocol and style of content and included World Wide Web and Gopher sites, electronic mail, bulletin boards, and on-line databases. The EPPP issued a final report in October, 1995 2 which made a series of recommendations on a number of issues, including copyright, selection, and long term preservation. A revised public version of the final report was made available for distribution and mounted on the NLC Web site in June, 1996. 3 Much of the following policy and guidelines grew out of the recommendations of this project and the ensuing discussions and work conducted by various NLC committees since the Final Report's release.

Legal deposit of electronic publications

Background and Legal Implications

Legal deposit is the National Library's primary mechanism for acquiring publications issued in Canada. At present, it is still being determined whether current legal deposit legislation can be interpreted as covering networked electronic publications or whether amendments to the National Library Act will be required. The main advantage of extending legal deposit to network publishing is that it gives NLC the legal authority to acquire electronic publications for the national collection.

The NLC recognizes that there are inherent problems in applying a Canadian law like legal deposit in an international communications medium that does not necessarily recognize jurisdictional borders. For example, what would define a publisher as "Canadian" or a network site as "Canadian" given the ease with which networked sites can be mirrored and networked publications can be copied (i.e., many resources at a Canadian site may not be Canadian in origin) and given the volatility of network addresses (i.e., a document hosted at a Canadian site can be easily transferred to non-Canadian sites which are outside the jurisdiction of Canadian laws).

Selection Policy and Legal Deposit

The main difficulty in extending legal deposit to network publishing is that legal deposit is a relatively indiscriminate acquisition mechanism that aims at comprehensiveness. In the network environment, any individual with access to the Internet can be a publisher and the network publishing process does not always provide the initial screening and selection at the manuscript stage on which libraries have traditionally relied in the print environment. In addition, because electronic publishing is innovative and changing in nature, legal deposit legislation should remain open-ended enough to incorporate a wide range of existing and potential electronic materials and should stipulate as few restrictions as possible. Selection policies are therefore needed to ensure the collection of publications of lasting cultural and research value.

II. BASIC POLICY STATEMENTS

  1. ACQUISITION

    1.1 General Parameters

    1.1.1 The National Library operates on the basis that anything that is made available to the public on a communications network, such as the Internet, can be considered as "published" for the purposes of collection.

    1.1.2 An electronic publication normally comprises the linked objects on one communications network domain which are judged to be intrinsic to the publication.

    1.1.3 The National Library collects networked electronic publications according to assigned levels of access and preservation which are determined by the publication's significance in fulfilling the library's mandate and in supporting library services.

    1.1.4 In collecting a distinction is drawn between Canadiana publications which are released initially, or solely in networked electronic format (i.e. original) and publications released in both networked and other media formats (i.e. multiple release).

    1.2 Canadiana

    1.2.1 The definitions of Canadiana, including the definitions of Canadian creator and Canadian subject, and the categories and types of materials collected as outlined in the Canadiana Collection Guidelines in the Collection Management Policy (1990), apply to the collection of networked electronic publications.

    1.2.2 The National Library endeavours to collect comprehensively and archive indefinitely original Canadiana networked electronic publications of Canadian origin and published abroad.

    1.2.3 The National Library collects selectively Canadiana networked electronic publications released in both networked and other media formats where appropriate to complement or enhance Canadiana collections in other formats.

    1.3. Non-Canadiana

    1.3.1 The collection intensity indicators (i.e. comprehensive, research, instructional support, basic information, and minimal), and chronological, geographical, and language coverage delineated for non-Canadiana in the Collection Management Policy (1990) apply to the collection of non-Canadiana networked electronic publications.

    1.3.2 The National Library collects selectively non-Canadiana networked publications in the areas of emphasis and to support library services.

    1.4 Versions/Editions

    1.4.1 The National Library does not necessarily collect every version/edition of all networked electronic publications collected. The frequency of capture will vary from comprehensive to representative and will depend on factors such as publication pattern, scope of changes, and the overall significance of the publication.

    1.5 Formats

    1.5.1 The National Library, whenever possible, collects, displays, provides access, and stores networked electronic publications in the formats in which the publications were published.

    1.5.2 The National Library does not collect every format of all networked publications collected.

    1.5.3 The National Library allocates priority to collecting standard format publications.

    1.5.4 The National Library ensures that formats collected include those accessible to the perceptually disabled.

  2. ACCESS

    2.1 The National Library is committed to providing universal, equitable access to networked electronic publications as a public good.

    2.2 All networked electronic publications collected by the National Library are in principle accessible to both on-site and off-site users.

    2.3 The National Library recognizes that there may be restrictions on access to some materials from time to time. Where necessary, and where possible, restrictions on access will be for a negotiated limited time period.

    2.4 The National Library provides access to its electronic information resources in such a way that intellectual property rights are respected as required by Canadian law.

    2.5 Networked electronic publications are organized, indexed, and made accessible.

    2.6 Bibliographic access to networked electronic publications is generally provided through the AMICUS database and associated products. Cataloguing levels applied to electronic publications are based on the same criteria as those for other formats. Bibliographic access to electronic publications acquired at the linked level may be provided by other means.

  3. PRESERVATION

    3.1 The National Library takes preservation measures to ensure the longevity and accessibility of its electronic collection.

    3.2 The National Library normally preserves electronic publications in electronic form.

    3.3 The National Library endeavours to preserve the content, the functionality, and the presentation of all archived networked electronic publications. Priority is given to the preservation of content.

    3.4 The National Library preserves networked electronic publications in standard formats and may convert non-standard formats to standard format when necessary and feasible.

    3.5 The National Library in general does not compress the electronic publications in its collections.

    3.6 The National Library may enter into agreements with other institutions to ensure the collection, preservation, and access, of certain categories and types of Canadiana networked publications.

III. SELECTION POLICY

OVERVIEW

The National Library is operating on the basis that anything that is publicly available on a communications network, such as the Internet, can be considered as published. 4 The potential volume of material to collect is therefore overwhelming in relation to the technical and human resources available. Furthermore, in the electronic environment, collecting is made more difficult because the distinctions between traditional categories of publications such as monograph, serial, manuscript, working draft, and record tends to be blurred, the units of publication are often smaller, and the structure and content of publications is frequently dynamic in nature. A level of selectivity is therefore necessary and this will be achieved by the National Library in two ways. First, though a system of assigning an "electronic collecting status" to a publication to indicate the access and preservation commitment intended and second, through the application of selection criteria which generally will be more restrictive than for publications in other formats.

Networked electronic publications allow for an expansion of the concept of collecting which is not limited to items which are physically maintained in a particular collection, whether that maintenance is via an electronic file on a server or a shelf in a library building. Collecting can mean the conscious and judicious provision of organized access to a wide range of publications, some for which the host organization or institution has taken responsibility to preserve and others whose long or short term preservation is the responsibility of others. The adoption of this approach to collecting by the NLC means that during the selection process, publications will be reviewed and an appropriate collecting status determined based on the access and archiving commitment desired for that publication. Factors considered will be the cultural significance of the publication and its importance in supporting services and the fulfillment of the National Library mandate. The National Library will therefore acquire some electronic publications, place them on NLC servers, and ensure their long term storage and access, while in other instances, it will simply point to electronic publications which exist on remote servers. Some publications, for example, those which are non-Canadiana items required to support services, will be made accessible on NLC servers but not archived.

The collecting status will be applied in tandem with specific selection criteria. The National Library will only endeavour to be comprehensive in collecting and archiving "original" Canadiana networked publications and will collect selectively Canadiana publications released in both networked and other media formats where appropriate to complement or enhance Canadiana collections in other formats. 5 In addition, the National Library will not necessarily attempt to preserve all versions/editions of a particular electronic publication collected. In the on-line environment, publications can and do change frequently and it is not feasible to capture all instances of change in all cases. A decision on the frequency of capture desirable for a title will need to be made based on the publication pattern, the importance of the publication, and the amount of significant changes. Some titles will have versions/editions collected comprehensively, while others may have a "snapshot" taken on a regular basis. Non-Canadiana publications will be collected selectively in the areas of emphasis and in order to support library services.

ELECTRONIC COLLECTING STATUS

The Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE has articulated a Collection and Preservation Policy 6 that outlines four digital collecting levels which include a designation of preservation commitment. The original Berkeley concept of "collecting" which is tied to access mechanisms and preservation commitment has been adopted and revised by the National Library to reflect our collecting practices as a national library. Three levels of electronic collecting status will be used by the National Library : Archived, Served, and Linked. The examples of the application of collecting status which follow are not meant to be comprehensive or exclusive but are cited to give a general idea of how levels will be applied.

Archived:

The publication is hosted/mounted on the National Library's site and the NLC has made a commitment to keep the intellectual content of the publication available on a permanent basis. Responsibility for maintaining access to the publication rests with NLC and the types of access available can include on-line, near-line and off-line as appropriate. Once Archived status is designated, a publication cannot be downgraded to another level.

Archived status will be applied to original Canadiana publications, "original" meaning those Canadiana publications released initially, or solely, in electronic format and may also be applied to multiple release Canadiana publications, "multiple release" meaning those Canadiana publications released in both networked and other media formats, e.g., print.

Served:

The publication is hosted/mounted on the National Library's site but the NLC has not (yet) made a commitment to keeping it available permanently that it has for "archived" materials. This status can either be applied (1) as an interim or transition status for a publication awaiting a decision as to Archived status, or (2) to a publication for which there is definitely no commitment to archive and another institution/organization is recognized as having primary responsibility for the publication content and its maintenance.

Served status would generally be assigned to multiple release Canadiana electronic publications, or to original and multiple release Canadiana publications for which archiving responsibility has not yet been determined, for example, publications under negotiation with publishing bodies or other archiving institutions. It could also be applied to non-Canadiana publications required to support NLC mandate and services, for example, the National Bibliographies of other countries, reference collection materials, the official publications of foreign countries, and the publications of international organizations of which Canada is a member.

Linked:

The publication is hosted elsewhere and the National Library provides a link to the remote site by pointing to the publication at that location. The NLC has no control over the publication but is committed to the on-going maintenance of the link.

Linked status could be applied to the same types of non-Canadiana publications outlined in Served status above if it is determined there is no service requirement to have the publication mounted locally.

The National Library will concentrate its activities on publications at the Archived level in order to ensure permanent access to Canada's electronic heritage, while at the same time providing extensive access to other publications and support for different types of services that utilize the other levels of electronic collecting.

SELECTION GUIDELINES AND CRITERIA

The NLC is applying a deliberately broad definition of a networked electronic publication as "a digitally encoded information resource made available to the public through a communication network". 7 Within this broad definition, a narrowing of collecting focus is achieved by the application of sets of selection criteria specific to Canadiana and non-Canadiana publications and guidelines applicable to format selection. The criteria and guidelines will be applied in tandem with the designation of electronic collecting status. The selection criteria for Canadiana generally pertain to publications having Archived status, while criteria for non-Canadiana generally pertain to publications at the Served or Linked level. The intention is that these criteria and guidelines will be reviewed periodically in order to reflect changes in collecting priorities and relevant developments in the rapidly changing world of electronic publishing.

Selection Criteria Canadiana Networked Publications

  1. Consider a networked electronic publication to be Canadiana if (1) it is of Canadian origin, or (2) it is of foreign origin and has a Canadian subject, or the creator is Canadian.

  2. Apply the definitions of Canadian subject and Canadian creator and the categories and types of materials collected as outlined in the Canadiana Collection Guidelines in the Collection Management Policy (1990) to the selection of electronic publications.

  3. Determine the Canadian origin of an electronic publication using the following criteria (in order of significance):

    (a) the geographic location given in the publication or accompanying descriptive material (e.g. metadata provided by the author),

    (b) the location of the publishing organization if it can be established,

    (c) the domicile of the first author,

    (d) the nationality of the author(s),

    (e) the primary location of the publication on a public network, i.e. the distributor.

  4. Preference should be given to electronic publications issued by the originator rather than taken from a secondary source.

  5. Select comprehensively "original" Canadiana networked electronic publications which are in accordance with the Canadiana Collection Guidelines. Determine if a networked publication is "original" by using the following criteria:

    (a) the publication is released initially, or solely, in networked electronic format,

    (b) the publication is a newly arranged compilation or selection of previously published materials,

    (c) the networked publication is a parallel publication to another format version (e.g., print) but the networked version contains enhanced information content and/or functionality, e.g. graphs, sound, indexes, etc., which is not present in the parallel version. The existence of links in the networked version, either within the publication or to outside sources, is not by itself considered a sufficient enough enhancement to give the publication "original" status.

    N.B. When the networked publication has previously been published in another format and the networked version contains no enhanced information content and/or functionality when compared to the originally published version, the networked publication is considered not to be original.

  6. Select Canadiana networked publications which are not original on a selective basis where appropriate to complement or enhance Canadiana collection in other formats.

  7. Priority in selection of Canadiana which is not original with regard to publication status and relationship to other works should be as follows:

    (a) A complete digitized "reprint" of non-electronic material no longer "in print",

    (b) A complete electronic publication which parallels a current publication in non-electronic format.

  8. Preference should be given to publications which are complete, independent, self-contained and coherent entities. Consider the boundary of an electronic publication as normally comprising the linked objects on one communication network domain which are judged to be intrinsic to the publication.

  9. Priority areas in selection with regard to publication content and type should be as follows:

    (a) Canadian federal official publications,

    (b) Publications in the areas of emphasis: Canadian Literature, Canadian Music and Music in Canada, and the Historical Approach to the Development of Canadian Society,

    (c) Canadian library literature,

    (d) Reference tools. (e.g. directories, indexes),

    (e) Canadian provincial government publications.

  10. Select the first and subsequent editions of a publication. To determine whether a new version should be regarded as a new edition, the following criteria should be applied:

    (a) the version of the publication is announced as a new edition, i.e., as indicated in wording or by means of a number, date, or code.

    (b) the publisher regards the version as a new edition.

    (c) the changes to the new version of the publication are significant.

  11. Determine the frequency of selection of new versions/editions of dynamic, frequently changing, publications on an individual basis. Selection can vary from comprehensive to representative based on consideration of the following criteria:

    (a) the significance of changes between updates,

    (b) the significance/importance of the publication,

    (c) the resources associated with handling, storing and preserving.

    N.B. On-line databases are to be selected when required for demonstrated specific reasons and are generally to be preserved on a representative basis only, i.e., the first and last version, and intermediate snapshot versions could be collected.

  12. Select public communications ( i.e. bulletin board systems used to support chat groups ; e-mail communication between groups and individuals, including discussion groups and listservs) on a selective basis according to the following criteria:

    (a) the topic(s) under discussion is significant and relates to the areas of emphasis or library and information science,

    (b) the communication is of a controlled nature, e.g., a closed, or moderated, list,

    (c) the National Library is a participant/subscriber,

    (d) there are no restrictions to collecting related to copyright or privacy concerns.

  13. Preference should be given to acquiring standard formats when an electronic publication is available in more than one format.

  14. Priority should be given to the selection of audio and video formats which are integrated as parts of other fuller text and/or image based electronic formats.

Exclusions Under Selection Criteria For Canadiana

The following categories of publications, as defined, are generally not selected for archiving in the Canadiana collection. Limited selection of certain categories of publication can occur under specific conditions as outlined. The Linked level of collecting can be used to provide access to these categories of publications.

(a) Items which can not be physically acquired and stored under full control of the Library's technical environment until the necessary technical environment can be put in place.

(b) Informal or incomplete publications. Included are the following publication types: works in progress, drafts, pre-prints, non-official versions/editions, abridgments, e.g. selected articles or chapters, abstracts, and table of contents.

(c) Promotional sites and advertising materials. Generally are not collected, although samples may be taken on occasion for their value as ephemera.

(d) Hypertext linked, open, highly distributed documents. "Open" documents contain links to other sources not under the control of the author, as opposed to "closed" documents, where all links point to items located at the same source. Open documents consisting primarily of pointers to other network locations are not physically depositable in that they can not be preserved in their integrity for the future. The approach taken for these documents is to ensure access as long as document exists on the network by establishing a link.

(e) Service Sites. Web sites which are listings of links for the purpose of organizing Internet information.

Selection Criteria Non-Canadiana Networked Publications

  1. Preference should be given to electronic publications issued by the originator rather than taken from a secondary source.

  2. Priority in selection with regard to publication status and relationship to other works should be as follows:

    (a) A current electronic publication not available in any non-electronic format.

    (b) An electronic publication which provides more functionality and accessibility than its corresponding print format version.

  3. Select non-Canadiana titles in the following areas on a selective basis:

    (a) Publications which support the areas of emphasis: Canadian Music, Canadian Literature, Historical Approach to the Development of Canadian Society.

    (b) Library literature.

    (c) Reference tools (e.g., directories, indexes).

    (d) Publications which support resource sharing (e.g., union catalogues)

  4. Apply the collection intensity indicators (i.e. comprehensive, research, instructional support, basic information, and minimal), and chronological, geographical, and language coverage delineated for non-Canadiana in the Collections Management Policy (1990) to the collection of non-Canadiana networked electronic publications.

  5. Linking to the latest version of a publication should be considered an appropriate collecting level for most publications.

  6. Preference should be given to linking directly to a publication as opposed to linking to the Web site on which the publication resides.

  7. Preference should be given to linking to the most user-friendly format when an electronic publication is available in more than one format.

  8. Linking to a single format supported by the National Library systems should, in most cases, be sufficient to provide access to a publication.

Selection Criteria For NLC Electronic Publications

The following criteria outline what types of National Library of Canada produced publications which are part of the NLC Web Service are to be added to the Electronic Collection. In general, paper publications produced for public distribution by the National Library will normally have an electronic equivalent, as will displays and exhibitions undertaken by the Library.

INCLUSIONS

(a) Items having print equivalents which are catalogued and accessible in AMICUS.

(b) Items having an ISSN or ISBN.

(c) Items which are "entire" publications and not chapters or sections from larger publications.

(d) Items which had they been released in other formats, e.g. print, would be made accessible via AMICUS.

(e) Database-based items which would be catalogued if they were available in a physical format (e.g. CD-ROM).

(f) Items which result from a "deliberate gathering" of material to create something which is unique and original.

Examples:

NLC Annual Reports, NLC Publications Catalogues, NL News, Forthcoming Books, all bibliographies, all Digitization projects, all virtual exhibitions, Canadiana Quick Reference.

EXCLUSIONS

(a) Items which are evidently parts of other publications.

(b) Policies which are not considered to be formally published. These are to be held in the NLC records management system.

Examples:

Reference policy, Virtual Canadian Union Catalogue proposal.

Guidelines For Format Selection

Policy related to selection of electronic publication formats was first developed in the EPPP Report (October, 1995) and later outlined in a draft working document, Canadiana Electronic Publications Selection Criteria (January, 1996). A firmer and more up-to-date policy on formats was developed in 1997 by the Electronic Collections Committee in order to aid Acquisitions staff in their daily decision making when selecting electronic publications. The guidelines and general principles developed are as follows:

  • The basic underlying principle is that the collection policies and guidelines for both Canadiana and non-Canadiana, in other words, the content of the publication, is the paramount consideration in selection of an electronic publication and is then followed by a consideration of formats available.
  • The development of selection guidelines on formats for electronic publications must be centered in a recognition of the evolutionary nature of the media and the acceptance that format choices developed today must be reviewed and amended on an ongoing basis. It is therefore practical and helpful to establish certain general principles which can act as guidelines in the selection of formats. Acquisitions staff can then maintain a priority listing of current formats based on these general principles.
  • The choice of format types at the time of selection of Canadiana publications should be inclusive in order to increase our future options for preservation. A more exclusive approach, including conversion to other formats or weeding, can take place, if necessary, at a later date when the survivability of the format is more evident. When conversion does occur, the inclusion of a format history in the catalogue record of the publication will guarantee that the historical context is preserved. For non-Canadiana, a single format which is supported in-house is sufficient.
  • The emphasis is on the selection of standard formats but in order to broaden the Library's short term access options for a publication, a mix of standard and proprietary formats is acceptable, in particular, when a non-standard format differs in content or presentation, or is more user-friendly. With proprietary formats, it is preferable to select only one format from the same vendor. Word processing formats are to be excluded unless they are the only format available. Formats collected should include those accessible to the perceptually disabled.
  • Given resource constraints, it is not realistic to suppose that the National Library can collect and preserve all formats of an electronic publication. Even though the correlation is not a direct one, it is recommended that the Library apply the same guideline to the number of formats collected as is currently applied to the number of copies of a publication, i.e. that at the discretion of the selector, the maximum number of formats collected will generally be three. This recommendation is made in recognition that there is a certain redundancy of content in differently formatted electronic publications which allies them more closely to copy than edition status.

General Principles Followed In Format Selection: Canadiana

The following principles are ranked according to the importance and influence they have in the format selection process for Canadiana:

  1. Ability to acquire complete publication.

  2. Ease or probability of preservation.

    • preservation of publication integrity (content, fixity, internal references)

    • downloadability

    • survivability (ability to convert, to migrate)

  3. Ability to assure current access/ease of use for clients.

    • user requirements i.e. "lowest common denominator"

    • popularity,

    • searchability

    • "attractiveness"

  4. Ease of acquisition (i.e. automated).

    General Principles Followed In Format Selection: Non-Canadiana

    The following principles are ranked according to the importance and influence they have in the format selection process for non-Canadian publications:

    1. Ability to link to the latest, complete version of the publication.

    2. Ability to assure current access and ease of use for clients.

    3. Ease of link maintenance.

IV. ACCESS POLICY

OVERVIEW

The National Library is committed to providing universal, equitable access to networked electronic publications as a public good, therefore, all networked electronic publications collected by the National Library will be in principle accessible to both on-site and off-site users. Access to the National Library's electronic information resources will be provided in such a way that intellectual property rights are respected as required by Canadian law. The National Library recognizes that there may be restrictions on access to some materials from time to time. Where necessary, and where possible, restrictions on access will be for a negotiated limited time period. All electronic publications will be organized, indexed and made accessible through the NLC Web service, or its successor. Access will include bibliographic access integrated with full text access to publications and other listings as appropriate.

The NLC's role is one of a working research library rather than strictly a national repository with preservation responsibilities, therefore, the NLC pursues free and universal access to all electronic publications in its collection with negotiated rights access as a fall back position when required. There will always be some electronic publications that the NLC can make freely available to all its clients, even to clients employing devices external to the library, either because the copyright on the work has expired, or the copyright holder for the work has granted permission to make the publication freely available on the NLC server. For other publications, access restrictions will be kept to the minimum possible and the NLC will at the very least make all of the electronic publications in its collection available to clients on NLC premises.

The NLC will keep track of copyright permissions and restrictions on electronic titles in its collection by recording the copyright status and by using existing interpretations of Canadian copyright law and fair dealing. Yet it is "the NLC position that public access rights to e-publications, with limitations to make such access similar to the borrowing of publications in other media, should be made available to the public without risk of copyright liability to the NLC". 8

ACCESS OPTIONS

The possible approaches to providing access to publications and the potential applications of these approaches includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Open Access. No restrictions on access apply to on site or off site clients, either because the copyright for the publication has expired or, the holder of the copyright has granted permission to the NLC to make the publication available freely.

Controlled remote access. Remote access is limited to only one access at a time, the electronic equivalent of InterLibrary Loan; or remote access is available only to specified groups, for example, registered libraries, registered clients; or remote access is limited to differential information levels of the publication i.e., bibliographic data, table of contents, abstracts, and full contents.

Time windowing. Initial restrictions are placed on the number of remote accesses to an electronic publication within a given time frame, followed by more liberal access afterwards.

On-site consultation. Access is limited to only NLC users (users on our domain) on site within the Library. An enhanced level of this option could allow publications to be sent electronically to registered libraries in the NLC network for provision of on-site access on the network library's premises.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC ACCESS

The electronic collecting status assigned a publication will be a factor in determining the appropriate cataloguing treatment. Bibliographic access will generally be provided through the AMICUS database and associated products, although access to electronic publications collected at the Linked level, for example, may be provided by other means. An electronic publication receiving regular cataloguing treatment will have a cataloguing level applied based on the same criteria as those set for other format publications, for example, according to subject criteria, or currency.

ACCESS SOFTWARE

The National Library will facilitate access to both standard and non-standard formats of electronic publications. If a publication has significant content and if the publication, or a portion of the publication is only available in a proprietary format which is not convertible, the NLC will still seek to acquire the publication, and will provide pointers to the appropriate viewers at the top of the page.

V. PRESERVATION POLICY

OVERVIEW

The National Library will normally preserve electronic publications in electronic form. Appropriate preservation measures, including proper environmental conditions for storage, security measures, and conversion and migration strategies and schedules will be taken to ensure the longevity and accessibility of the electronic collection.

Preservation at any stage of a document life cycle is concerned with provision of access both immediately and at some point in the future. Because of the ease of copying seamlessly and without damage to the original (unlike the print equivalent), preservation and access in an electronic environment become more closely entwined. The storage of publications is generally based on the speed of access desired which is in turn tied to actual, or anticipated, use patterns. Criteria other than frequency of use may also govern the storage level such as, the need to support services, e.g., Reference and ILL, the need for immediate availability of the publication, or the publication's overall functionality.

A dilemma for the preservation of access to electronic publications is that the information content is embedded in an electronic medium requiring software which is subject to rapid obsolescence. Preservation of the publication as originally issued can result over time in the information content becoming inaccessible and lost, whereas, concentrating solely on the preservation of the content can result in the loss of many aspects of the visual presentation and even of the functionality of the publication.

The National Library will endeavour to preserve the "look and feel", i.e. the presentation and functionality, of archived publications recognizing that this may prove difficult for some materials. Archiving activity will concentrate on the preservation of the intellectual content with an acceptance that certain interactive, dynamic, presentational aspects of the original may not be retained. Keeping electronic publications in the form exactly as received from the publisher as expressions of publishing culture and history and as testaments to the intellectual process involved in research and reading may not be possible in many cases.

ARCHIVING GUIDELINES

CONVERSION

The National Library will attempt to avoid conversion of networked electronic publications by allocating priority to acquiring "format neutral", i.e., standard format, publications. When conversion of proprietary format to standard format is necessary and feasible for long term preservation purposes, it is accepted that the superior presentation of the format is sacrificed to long term preservation needs.

Functionality, especially backwards compatibility, of access software will be monitored and older versions of electronic publications will be converted to be readable by newer versions of the software. Software is frequently upgraded and sometimes loses "backwards compatibility", i.e., the ability to handle electronic files created for use with an earlier version of the software. Monitoring the functionality of access software will be mandatory as new versions appear to ensure continued access to publications. If the software disappears from use, then every effort should be made to convert the publication to a standard format.

Shareware and freeware software are also subject to upgrade, but the mechanisms for announcing and distributing new versions are sometimes inadequate or lacking. The NLC will not attempt to retain and archive electronic publications in shareware, etc. format.

There is also potential for obsolescence of either the EDP equipment or the software platform upon which access software is run. It is not reasonable to consider archiving hardware. If hardware obsolescence precludes access to publications in the future, publications would necessarily need converting from one format to another. Additionally, decisions on how to best transmit knowledge of the "look and feel" of the original format would be needed.

FILE COMPRESSION

Where possible, the National Library will acquire networked electronic publications in an uncompressed format and store publications in an uncompressed format. Because certain compression algorithms lead to some loss of information from the original, and because this loss of "faithfulness" to the original is not acceptable for preservation purposes, the NLC will avoid compressing files for long-term storage whenever possible. In the situation where a publisher publishes an electronic publication only in a compressed format, then all consumers of the electronic publication would have the same loss of detail which occurred during compression. The publisher has made the decision to compress the file and risk information loss, and the NLC is therefore acquiring and preserving a copy of the electronic publication which is "equal in quality to the highest priced edition" of the work, as required under Legal Deposit. 9 When a networked electronic publication arrives compressed, however, it should be stored in uncompressed format because the preservation of compression/decompression technologies poses an unnecessary additional complexity. The main reason for compressing data is to save in data transmission cost and time as storage savings are not appreciable.

Even given the above policy, NLC will want to accept some data loss through compression in certain cases. For example, audio or video digital objects can be very large, and compression/decompression can be performed in a manner such that data loss is undetectable by the human eye or ear. Such cases would have to be identified and agreed upon using accepted criteria; it may be that some cases will have to be judged individually. Not using compression at all would be impossible in some cases. NLC will only compress for preservation those files and objects for which there is no detectable loss of information. Only standard compression/decompression techniques will be employed.

COOPERATIVE PRESERVATION

The National Library may enter into agreements with other institutions to ensure the collection, preservation, and access of certain categories and types of Canadiana networked publications.

The National Library is initiating discussions with the Canadian library and publishing communities on long term cooperative preservation and storage activities with the goal of defining a national strategy. Until such a cooperative program is established, the NLC will continue to identify, acquire, make accessible and preserve as much electronic Canadiana as possible.

A cooperative initiative already begun in 1997 is the Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries (CIDL). The stated objectives of CIDL are to " recommend approaches to achieving coordinated development of digital collections and services (roles and responsibilities, selection criteria/considerations that will balance national objectives with local interests, needs and constraints);...define roles and responsibilities for the long term archiving of significant digital resources of Canadian origin; develop positions on issues of access policy and practice". 10

One possible scenario might be where institutions across Canada would each be responsible for a set of electronic publications, migrating them to new storage media and keeping these media in environmentally sound conditions so that the information remains available to future generations. Storage of one copy of a publication at a named site may be sufficient; or two or more copies may be stored at several locations. Bilateral decentralized arrangements are desirable, but will be time-consuming. In another scenario modeled upon the National Library's responsibilities as the repository for the microform masters of Canadian newspapers, NLC might assume a role in storing electronic hard copies (e.g., diskettes, tapes, CD-ROMs, etc.) of publications which are being stored on remote servers.

A third scenario might be to work with other federal players and, through national consensus, create a central repository for electronic information. This, in the end, might be the most cost-effective way to ensure the long-term availability of the published heritage. Regardless, the National Library must be prepared to act as the archive of last resort for Canadian electronic publications.

APPENDIX : TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS

Archiving

Material is hosted on an institutional server and there is an intention to keep the intellectual content of the material available on a permanent basis. Archiving is used in the broad sense to cover the concepts of collecting, preservation, and provision of long term access.

Boundary of Hypertext Electronic Publication

NLC interprets the boundary of an electronic publication as normally being the linked objects on one Internet domain. The boundary of an electronic publication is an issue with hypertext electronic publications because it can be difficult to define where a work starts and ends and where copyright starts and ends. Publications may exist on two or more (and sometimes on many) remote servers and Internet domains, with hypertext links being used to "assemble" the parts into a coherent whole. This is not an issue in the short term, when a large number of the hypertext links could reasonably be expected to function over the limited lifespan on-line. However, in the long-term if a publication consists partially (or wholly) of a series of hypertext links, many or none of the links may be operational at a future time when the publication is accessed. The integrity of these off-domain URLs cannot be maintained or preserved. Assuming that an electronic publisher has obtained copyright clearance for all the objects on the domain of the publication, limiting an electronic publication to one domain also greatly reduces the complexity of hypertext copyright issues.

Edition

The concept of edition is not standard to networked documents where changes to text can be often both fluid and frequent. The provision of access can be to multiple versions or to a current version only, depending on the circumstances. Approaches possible are:

(1) overwrite so that all that is being archived is the current "edition,"

(2) decide the publication is monographic in nature and collect it as a new edition whenever there are significant changes,

(3) treat as a serial publication,

(4) collect a representative sample of versions/editions.

Electronic publication

Networked electronic publication 11

"A networked electronic publication is a digitally encoded information resource made available to the public through a communication network."

The definition is purposely meant to be broad and capable of encompassing many different possibilities. Selection criteria will be used to narrow the scope and describe the types of electronic publications that the NLC will collect.

Canadiana networked electronic publication

"A Canadiana networked electronic publication is any information resource which fits into the above definition and which originates in Canada, or that originates elsewhere provided the creator is Canadian or the material has a Canadian subject."

Relevant definitions from National Library Act s.2

"book" means library matter of every kind, nature and description and includes any document, paper, record, tape or other thing published by a publisher, on or in which information is written, recorded, stored or reproduced.

"published in Canada" means released in Canada for public distribution or sale, otherwise than by Her Majesty in right of a province or municipality.

Original networked electronic publication

An "original" publication is one released initially, or solely in networked electronic format. A networked publication parallel to another format version of the publication (e.g., print) is considered to have "original" status if the networked version has enhanced information content and/or functionality, e.g. graphs, sound, indexes, etc. If the networked version simply has the added feature of links established within the publication or to outside sources, this is not considered sufficient to give the publication "original" status. A networked electronic publication based on a compilation or selection of previously published materials is considered to be an "original" publication.

A networked electronic publication is considered not to be "original" if the publication has previously been published in another format and the networked version contains no enhanced information content and/or functionality when compared to the originally published version of the publication.

Dynamic networked electronic publication

A dynamic electronic publication is distinguished by a high update frequency in which any component of the publication can change at any time. It is often intended by its creator to be accessed only in its most current state and the current version is often considered the only valid version. Databases are often, but not always, examples of this type of publication.

Format

Formats are the various ways in which information is stored. The file format is a software algorithm for encoding the data, as well as any information about the data (e.g. structure, layout, compression algorithm). Hundreds of different file formats exist, but only a limited number are essential to digital library activities.

Integrity of a publication

Those features of a publication that distinguish it as a whole and singular work. These features include: content, fixity, reference, provenance and context.

On-line databases

Databases are defined as "dynamic" data collections in that they are periodically revised and updated, often on a continuous basis. It is difficult, if not impossible to identify discrete "editions" and some databases are more in the nature of information services than publications in the strict sense. This category includes commercial databases, library catalogues, statistical databases, geographic information systems, and other large data sets requiring search engines.

Preservation

"Preservation is the managed, NLC-wide activity involving all staff which insures the longevity of the collections. Preservation activities include conserving the collections, creating preservation surrogates, controlling the environment, and establishing conditions of use".(NLC Preservation Policy, 1989). For electronic publications, activities include the organizing, describing, refreshing, migrating of electronic information to ensure the availability of long term access.

Site

A collection of linked documents , mostly with the same basic Internet address (internal links) although there can often be links to documents on other sites (external links). It is a general term which is often referred to loosely also as "home page".

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Notes

1 Thacker Jane and Bruce Crisp. Electronic publications and the National Library of Canada: discussion paper and recommendations. EC93:20, April 1993. 46pp

2 National Library of Canada. Electronic Publications Pilot Project Team and Electronic Collections Committee. Electronic Publications Pilot Project (EPPP) Final Report. 25 October, 1995. This was an internal document which was presented to NLC Executive Committee.

3 National Library of Canada. Electronic Publications Pilot Project Team and Electronic Collections Committee. Electronic Publications Pilot Project (EPPP) Final Report. June, 1996.

4 See the NLC's definition of a networked electronic publication in the Appendix, pp.25-26.

5 See definition of an original publication in the Appendix, p.26.

6 Digital Library SunSITE Collection and Preservation Policy. Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE. 1996. URL: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Admin/collection.html

7 National Library of Canada. Canadiana Electronic Publications: Definition and Selection Criteria (EC96:06 (rev)).

8 National Library of Canada. Brief Concerning Internet Content-Related Liability. September 13, 1996.

9 Canada. LEGAL DEPOSIT, National Library Act (excerpts with respect to legal deposit) and National Library Book Deposit Regulations, 1995.

10 National Library of Canada. Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries A National Alliance. June 1997, pp. 4-5)

11 See Definitions section of National Library of Canada. Canadiana Electronic Publications: Definition and Selection Criteria (EC96:06 (rev)).