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Libraries in virtual space – it's all about trust Janne Andresoo, Director General, National Library of Estonia


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Libraries in virtual space – it's all about trust
Janne Andresoo, Director General, National Library of Estonia
Comunicare susținută în cadrul Conferinței Internaționale „Dezvoltarea cooperării bibliotecilor europene în spațiul virtual”, 1 noiembrie 2017, Biblioteca Națională a Republicii Moldova

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Libraries in virtual space – it's all about trust Janne Andresoo, Director General, National Library of Estonia

  1. 1. Libraries in virtual space – it's all about trust Janne Andresoo, Director General, National Library of Estonia Dear Colleagues! You probably all agree when I say that the services offered by national and public libraries can be considered as public services offered to the society. These public services, and the forms in which they are provided, have been and will be transformed by innovation and digital change. In my presentation I focus on some aspects of the modernising Estonian librarianship. I will speak about the importance of trust in the work of libraries in the digital age, I will introduce the new Estonian Legal Deposit Copy Act, I will speak about web archiving, and text and data mining. But I would like to begin by describing the context – in which environment are Estonian libraries operating, and why we are developing all the digital solutions. Estonian librarianship currently functions in the framework of two roadmap documents: Principles of the Cultural Policy up to 2020, which gives guidelines for developing Estonian culture during the period of 2014 to 2020, and The 21st Century Library. The latter is a detailed development plan initiated by the Estonian Librarians Association, which is governed by the Culture 2020 roadmap and elaborates it. Both documents see the National Library of Estonia as the central institution who digitises and preserves our cultural heritage, and makes it available. I would also like to point out that for the Estonian society, the digital solutions are not a thing as it is in itself (when paraphrasing Immanuel Kant). The search for digital solutions has been triggered by concrete reasons. There are six influencing factors that drive the Estonian librarianship to take the digital path: 1. Ideas of the information society have widely disseminated, information and communication technology have developed.The most important players in these developments have been firstly the technology that either exists already or will be created in the near future, secondly members of the society who are positively tuned to those possible technological updates, and the availability of the leaders of innovation in the public, private and third sector. One simple and efficient example that connects people from all layers of the Estonian society with the digital 1
  2. 2. developments, is the digital signature. (By the way, its use has enabled to save 2% of the GDP). Along with the ID-card and the digital signature, the third pillar of the digital society is the once-only principle of asking data. It means that no public institution is allowed to ask any person to once more provide the data that already exist in electronic format (the state does not ask us to repeatedly give our birth date, place of residence and other standard details). A very important development is the Estonian X-road. This national data exchange layer assembles all the state’s databases. The Estonian X-road allows to access data quickly and safely, and enables to avoid unnecessary input, at the same time ensuring the correctness of data. 2. Use of time has changed. The surveys conducted by the national office of statistics, the Statistics Estonia, show that people use their time resources in a completely different way when compared to their habits 10, 20 or 30 years ago. And one major agent that has caused the change is the emerging of new digital solutions. For example, in 2010 people in Estonia had an extra 40 minutes of spare time in each 24 hours when compared to the year 2000, as they spend less time on paid work and housekeeping. The majority of the gained spare time is spent with a PC or other smart device. 3. Reading habits have changed. These changes in media consuming have been caused by the extensive spread of smart phones and other smart devices. People are increasingly preferring to use electronic publications. However, both electronic and paper publications are in parallel use – people prefer to read some particular texts on paper, while other text types are preferrd in electronic format. Short texts are read more, for example media texts from smart phones, and longer texts are read less often. People are increasingly consuming sound and visual documents. The survey of the international media agency ZenithMedia that was carried out in 2015 revealed that each 24 hours people worldwide used traditional mass media channels 26 minutes less than in 2010, while the use of the internet had increased by 50 minutes. 4. Demographic situation. The Estonian population is shrinking and ageing, the proportion of those living in towns is increasing and the amount of country people is growing smaller. Today the inhabitants of 14 larger Estonian cities form 59% of the country’s population, in the next 30 years this number will be 61%. The current 2
  3. 3. population trends indicate that the fastest growing number will be the inhabitants of the two largest cities. There are several reasons increasing the demand for both Estonian and foreign electronic publications: for example, the habits of the younger generation, the growing Estonian diaspora, the increasing mobility of people (including the commuting between different parts of Estonia as well as between Estonia and Finland), also the educational needs of people. At the same time we have to admit that the demand will remain for printed books and other printed publications, because public libraries have their loyal readership that includes the older generation who are numerous and have stable reading habits. 5. The administrative reform of Estonian municipalities. This process is nearing the finish line – the local elections took place on 15 October. In 2002 the number of municipalities in Estonia was 241, after the recent elections it will decrease to 79. The key question of the reform was the connection between the size of municipalities and economic efficiency. In short – an analysis of administrative expenses that was previously carried out in Estonia showed that the decrease in administrative expenses and cost per unit would give a considerable scale effect. Formally all mergers have been carried out by now, but the the work actually begins in all new municipalities to ensure their successful operation and sustainability. These mergers bring the necessity to rearrange the work of public libraries: a probable trend is the increasing establishment of the central libraries of rural municipalities. For users, the way to the physical libraries of the new municipalities will grow longer: the the new territorial units are bigger in area and the distance between the outskirts and the centre will be longer. The National Library of Estonia will have a bigger role as the development centre of library services and as the exhaustive e-library of Estonian publications. In order to avoid that certain regions would develop into information-poor provinces, the e-library should offer access to all Estonian digitised and born digital publications in any corner of the country. 6. Economic development. If the budgets of the state and local municipalities will remain on the same level in the nearest future, then probably the resources spent on library services will not increase. In order to keep the services going, the National Library of Estonia and the public libraries would have to analyse and transform their present activities. 3
  4. 4. The above six factors have most influenced the implementation of digital developments in Estonian libraries. The use of digital solutions is a tool for elaborating the public service offered by libraries, and in this way it also improves one small part of public administration. But... the modernisation of libraries also entails risks Trust is a situation where one person or group of persons is ready to rely upon someone else’s future-oriented activities. In addition to relying upon someone else, the trusting person does not control the trusted person. Naturally the trusting person is uncertain about the result of the activities and can only hope for the best. In 1986 the German sociologist Ulrich Beck intruduced the term of Risk society to characterise the modern society. According to Beck this denotes the present-day and future society of Western countries who become increasingly dependent on scientific and technical knowledge. This knowledge and technologies bring along risks and hazards which can be far-reaching and whose results are thus difficult, if not impossible to predict. According to Beck the risk society is simultaneously ready to reorganise in response to real dangers as well as imaginary or exaggerated dangers. In this society we increasingly have to place trust into experts and specialists. This is the case also in Estonian librarianship, particularly in its digital area – this is a sphere that is somewhat outside the primary perception of a human being. The fundamental question accompanying the implementation of all new technologies is – how to ensure (1) privacy, (2) openness and transparency, and (3) security. The National Library of Estonia has followed certain principles for creating trust in this area: • We build confidence in publishers/authors that all material they have submitted to the National Library under the Legal Deposit Copy Act will be stored as securely as they would be in a bank vault; • When it comes to the preparation of laws and other agreements, we inform and involve all parties as extensively as possible as well as take into account constructive criticism; • We actively intercommunicate with other Estonian memory institutions in order to stay professionally well-informed; • We share the know-how of digital preservation with other institutions who preserve the Estonian cultural heritage; 4
  5. 5. • On the basis of international standards, we spread the technological risks when preserving Estonian cultural heritage. Legal Deposit Copy Act is the beginning of a new era On 1 January 2017, the new Legal Deposit Copy act entered into force in Estonia. My opinion is that the new version of this Act enables the modern approach to the mission of memory institutions: to collect and preserve publications important for our cultural history, and to provide access for future generations. By enforcing the Legal Deposit Copy Act, the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament) updated the arrangement of collecting legal deposit copies, and gave digital publications an equal importance along with the previously listed printed publications, sound recordings and DVDs. The new law regulates also web archiving and collecting of the output-ready files of films. The collecting of the output-ready files of publications on the basis of a law is quite rare in the whole world at the moment. All present-day printed publications are prepared as files and the new Act enables to collect Estonian national publications in the electronic format. This means that we do not have to digitise new Estonian publications in the future. The Legal Deposit Copy Act reduces the publishers’ expenses. The new Act introduced a number of changes for publishers, printing houses and music producers. The number of copies to be submitted to libraries for long-time preservation was reduced from 8 to 4, and all copies are now submitted to the National Library. The task of the National Library is to send, within 5 working days, 3 copies of the publications to other libraries collecting legal deposit copies: The Archival Library of the Estonian Literary Museum in Tartu, Academic Library of the Tallinn University and the University of Tartu Library. The new work arrangement has simplified the related communication between the National Library and publishers or printing houses, and reduces the expenses of the authors and submitters. Access to archive files also changed. The output-ready files of printed publications, online publications and e-books are now collected by the National Library of Estonia. The files received from publishers for long-term preservation are safely stored in the National Library’s digital archive DIGAR while the owner of the files – the publisher – decides about their access rights: whether they are made available via computer terminals without copying and saving facilities, or provided free access via the web. 5
  6. 6. The publishers were provided with a new environment of e-services. On 1 December in 2016, the National Library took into use the Publisher Portal - an environment of e-services assembling all e-services that the National Library provides to publishers. Via the new portal, publishers can inform the National Library of their new publications, and apply for the international standard numbers ISBN, ISSN and ISMN. The portal also enables publishers to submit for archiving their e-books and the output-ready files of books, to manage the legal rights of their publications, and view the statistics on the use of the submitted publications. The Library’s future plan is to develop additional possibilities that would make the submission of files even more convenient for publishers. These developments also serve the aim of supplementing our collections as exhaustively as possible. I believe that the Legal Deposit Copy Act is a valuable aid in storing the national heritage. The National Library is archiving the web in Estonia The web has been used since 1993. The first disadvantage emerged almost immediately: it is easy to change the material already published and no track is left of the previous content. And what is even worse – if the website disappears, it is impossible to restore its content. Should anything happen with a book, it is probably possible to obtain a copy from some secondhand bookshop or book collector, while a website is rather like a unique copy. We cannot accept a situation where a lot of information disappeares every day and part of it may be very valuable to someone – websites are also among our cultural heritage. The archiving of websites is currently considered to be the best solution to this problem. When a website is being archived, the archiving robot downloads from the given address the website with all elements necessary for displaying it (pictures, scripts, style files, flash files, etc.) and searches among them for links that would help to find the next pages and download them. While doing its job, the robot keeps within the limits determined in the settings. Search engines, like Google for example, use a similar technology for creating a search index while creating websites. The collected material is saved in the web archive’s file format, from which the displaying software forwards to the user’s browser screen all the necessary elements for showing the website as it looked like on the web when it was archived. Web technologies are getting more and more complicated and new technical solutions are implemented. For that reason the developers of archiving software find it difficult to keep up to date and all websites cannot be archived in full. Problems arise with websites using extensive scripts, routing and streaming. 6
  7. 7. National websites are a part of each country’s cultural heritage and thus in most cases they are archived by national libraries. The topic of archiving online publications has been on the table since 1997 when the National Library started to monitor online publications. The test project of archiving online publications was carried out from 2000 to 2005 and created a basis for building a test environment for collecting, registering and archiving online publications important for the Estonian culture. Since 2006 the National Library has been archiving online publications in pdf-, txt- and doc format in the digital archive DIGAR. For several reasons the preparations for archiving websites were discontinued for a couple of times and launched again in 2010. The Estonian Web Archive was opened to the public in November 2013 at the address . As of 31 December 2016, the archive contains 166 069 895 URL-s with a total capacity of 9,8 terabytes (TB). In order to ensure broad cooperation and engage other memory and research institutions, the National Library of Estonia initiated a web archiving working group in 2010 which currently includes 23 representatives from 11 organisations. The aim of the working group is to advise the National Library on the selection of the material to be archived and on making it available, to stand for the interests of researchers and to disseminate to the target groups information on the web archive. The working group has assisted in preparing subject categories for the subject catalogue and they have been implemented in the existing user interface. In Estonia, the archiving of online publications has been regulated by law since 2006. Under the new Legal Deposit Copy Act we collect and preserve online publications that have been made available to the public in the meaning of the Copyright Act by means of technical equipment or process as follows: (1) via the domain .ee or other top-level domain geographically linked with Estonia; (2) via other top domain, being substantial for Estonian culture; (3) by any citizen of the Republic of Estonia, by a legal person registered in the Republic of Estonia or by a natural person residing in Estonia, and being essential for the Estonian culture. 7
  8. 8. Since 2012, the National Library of Estonia is a member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) and takes part in cooperation in the field of standardisation, development of specific free software and exchange of know-how. Text and data mining, and the proposal of the European Commission draft Copyright Directive The extent of digital material is constantly growing in the National Library of Estonia due to collecting the output-ready files as legal deposit copies, web archiving and digitisation of printed publications. This gives an opportunity to offer, via text and data mining, new services to facilitate research. Text and data mining enables the automated analysis of digital information (for example, text, sound, pictures or data). This brings us again to trust – trust between the owners of texts and data, and their users. This trust should be supported by the corresponding legal regulation. In September 2016, the European Commission published a proposal of the draft Copyright Directive which is one tool in regulating the digital market. The draft has widely resonated in the interested parties and caused most extensive lobby-work in the corridors of European institutions. The proposal has three main aims: firstly, better cross-border accessibility of digital content via the internet; secondly, amendments to copyright provisions related to content on science and education, and engaging persons with disabilities; and thirdly, a fair and sustainable market for creative persons, creative industry and journalism. The new copyright directive aims to support libraries, museums and archives in digitising works and providing cross-border accessibility that would grant better access to Europe’s rich cultural heritage. Libraries are influenced by 4 sections: (1) copying of cultural heritage with the aim of preservation; (2) use of works for illustrative purposes in the studying process; (3) text and data mining; and (4) copying and making available of works that have been sold out in bookstores.The issue of e-lending has been left out. A number of proposals have been submitted for this draft, among others by organisations representing libraries like IFLA, EBLIDA and LIBER. Text and data mining has been treated also as new reading. Text mining enables to find the required information more easily and thus takes information search to a new advanced level, facilitating scientific and research work. 8
  9. 9. It has been argued if text and data mining is related to copyright, because according to copyright principles facts and data are not subject to copyright. In some cases it may cover material that is protected with copyright in relation to the copying of works or other material. For example, the Center of Estonian Language Resources needs texts for making them available to researchers in digital format for further examination. The existing directive already stipulates an exception for research work that could cover text and data mining. The exception of text and data mining is included in the copyright laws of the United Kingdom, and as of this year, also in the Estonian Copyright Act (Section 19(3) and (3)’). Article 3 of the draft directive stipulates a concrete exception for scientific research organisations relating to text and data mining. However, this exception leaves libraries in a vague situation as it does not clearly indicate if it always applies to libraries (for example those that are not in the administrative area of scientific research institutions). An important prerequisite for carrying out text and data mining is the legitimate access to works, it means that the given work must be stored in the library of the research institution, or the research institution has access to a database by license agreement. This exception allows text and data mining only for the purposes of scientific research. Libraries increasingly use technical solutions to fulfil their basic functions (for example describing works and systematising that helps to find the required information quicker). A special software enables to display the metadata of digitised and born digital works – the title, author, and other data; it also enables to carry out full text searches in a manner that displays only the text paragraph including the search word. In April 2017, the text mining working group was formed in Estonia which consists of the representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Institute of the Estonian Language, Estonian Literary Museum and National Library of Estonia. The aims of this working group are the following: (1) to identify the requirements to the text mining solutions that researchers expect from libraries; (2) to map the major partners who could cooperate with libraries in developing the corresponding services; (3) to prepare the initial task and project plan for the development of text mining services. Conclusion To sum up we can be assured that a library and especially a national library is an institution that has enjoyed deep trust in the society. In today’s world of post-truth and digital environment, trust towards libraries is raising to a totally new level. The National Library of Estonia is approaching its 100th anniversary with services that address new generations, the 9
  10. 10. „digital natives“, without neglecting our mission to be one of the institutions storing and making available the national memory. Dear colleagues, thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I encourage you all to look in the same direction. The implementation of digital solutions in the society needs a sound mind and a warm heart. I would like to wish to the National Library of Moldova wisdom, success and happiness in everything you undertake to achieve your aims! Thank you for your attention! 10