A friend (whose mother is a low-level librarian at a large Australian
institutional library) pointed me to this paper abstract:
It appears to survey the precise problem we have. What I don't have is
the paper itself, if it was a paper and not just a talk. Contacting
the authors may be a good start. (What's changed in seven years?)
My thoughts on the problem:
Our problem is that making digital copies of things available - any
digital copies of things - will give the copyright industry the
willies. Particularly if there's any way to do it that does not
require prior permission of the copyright holder.
Libraries have typically not required such permission, and state
reference libraries typically have rules that the publisher *has* to
supply a copy. We need to play up the "preservation of
culture" angle and look as absolutely noble as we know how to.
Libraries are conservative, of course, for obvious reasons.
(Individual librarians would tend to have more sympathy for our view.)
But "state reference library" level has a bit of clout. I hope.
Basically, it's going to come down to bits of the law that are
actually squishy and we have half a hope of shaping. Even if the law
currently says "no", I'm pretty sure we can advance a reasonable case
that this is unreasonable and exceptions need to be made. But it'll be
quite a battle, particularly given we have ~=0 resources beyond our
As a last resort, we already have the Internet Archive onside, which
is already a library and digitises whatever it likes under US law.
What it has trouble with is giving anyone any practical access to the