British Library plans archive for film and sound

Britain could have its first national archives for electronically published material, film and sound by 2000 if proposals being finalised by the British Library are adopted by the government.

The plans being drawn up by a working party will propose that the legal deposit system, requiring publishers by law to send copies of all printed material to the British Library, is widened to include electronic publishing, film and sound.

It will be presented to the Department of National Heritage later this year. If the Government approves the proposal, the national archives could up and running by the end of the millennium.

The move would allow Britain to establish its first comprehensive sound archive - holding everything from Take That's latest CD to obscure recordings of Oxford choirs - and create the first full British film collection, plugging a long-identified need.

Equally important, the extension would allow Britain to start an archive of material published electronically on CD-rom, microfiche, laser discs and, where possible, on-line - available by telephone or cable.

Gaps are already developing in the British Library's holding, as material which used to be printed is increasingly produced only in electronic form.

The plans have been drafted by a British Library working party which includes a representative of the other five copyright libraries in Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, Scotland and Wales.

The scheme is being overseen by the British Library chairman, Sir Anthony Kenny, who told the Independent that unless the system was overhauled, the British Library would become marginalised.

He warned: "The third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary [due in 2005] will almost certainly appear only in electronic form. Unless the legislation is extended to electronic publication, the copyright privilege is going to become very much nullified."

The British Library proposals are not thought to require huge financial outlay on the part of the Government.

The material would be supplied by the record and film companies and publishers, with the main costs likely to be in technology and staff. An application would be made to the Millennium Commission to pay for some of the start-up costs for the electronic archive.

Sir Anthony is hoping this would be managed by the British Library, while the British Film Institute and the National Sound Archive would be the likely homes for film and sound material.

What will be less easy to decide will be the criteria for inclusion of material. While the general principle will be that it should originate in Britain, it remains unclear whether work produced by British people abroad would be included, for example, orwhen work by Britons and foreigners is "British".

Another concern is that the electronic publishing industry will oppose the proposals because they want to avoid making their commercially valuable software available for free.

Sir Anthony admitted: "The most important thing will be to persuade the publishers that it is a good idea.

"We feel that if it is presented carefully enough, and the conditions of access are worked out, they won't be deprived of legitimate profit."

Ray Templeton, the director of information services at the Library Association, welcomed the scheme. "We believe there is an urgent requirement for the legal deposit system to be extended," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Recruitment Consultant

competitive + incentives + uncapped comms: SThree: Did you know? 98% of our di...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Did you know? 98% of our directors started with SThree as...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sa...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Sales Executive - OTE £28,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen