Ariadna Matas, Junior Policy Advisor, Europeana Foundation

In 2019, institutions such as the National Library of Scotland launched their collections site using rights statements; libraries in the US tweeted about the rights statements and creating flow-charts on how to use them in their legislation to promote their use; the National Library of New Zealand joined the consortium and are contributing to the work around expressing indigenous culture and intellectual property; the Hindi translation of the rights statements (translation number 9!) was launched at an international symposium in Delhi.

2019 has been about consolidation. Our core actions have made the operation of the consortium stronger, and ready to take on new challenges. With the start of the new year, we take a look back at 2019 and tell you about the consortium’s achievements throughout the year and plans for 2020.

Implementations around the World

We are very happy to see the rights statements being adopted by more and more cultural heritage institutions, to address rights situations where standard tools and licences such as Creative Commons do not apply. Throughout 2019, a key motivator to drive forward adoption was the increase in development of new translations by motivated users. We count now 9 translations from the English version: Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Polish, Spanish, Hindi and Lithuanian.

The National Library of Scotland, the Carnegie Hall Archives, BAnQ, the Connecticut Digital Archive, the Museum of Australia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona are just a few examples of institutions that have adopted the statements in their repositories. We have also seen efforts to teach institutions how to use them in Lithuania, for instance.

More translations are underway, and with that, hopefully an intention to start using the statements in other regions and countries.

Progress as a Consortium

In order to better support the development and implementation of the statements, we also work to ensure the sustainability and efficiency of the consortium, and we are very proud of the progress we have made throughout 2019.

To start off with, there were a few changes in people; both Working Groups welcomed new members and said goodbye to a few. The Statements Working Group appointed Jessica Coates, Copyright Law and Policy Advisor for the Australian Library Copyright Committee (ALCC) as Vice Chair. Julia Fallon, Senior Policy Advisor for Europeana Foundation took over as Chair of the Consortium from Paul Keller. We would like to thank Paul, who will stay on the Steering Committee, for his steady hand guiding the consortium through the past two years!

By the end of 2019, we developed an approach to support members of the consortium with the process of adoption and implementation of the statements in their region - starting with running a workshop with the National Digital Library of India. This event gathered practitioners in the country, and with them, we assessed the suitability of rights statements in their legal framework, and approaches to start using them.

We also substantially improved the technical side of our translation process. We have started using an online tool, Transifex, which makes it easier to manage and maintain the statements as the number of languages increases.

Finally, we are paving the way for a more sustainable membership model for the consortium. This will make it easier for different types of institutions to have a place in the consortium, and will allow us to better support each other. With an important part of this work developed in 2019, we hope to finalize it early this year.

You can read our annual report to get the full picture of what we achieved in 2019.

Ambitions for 2020

We’ve got an interesting year ahead of us - we’ll be implementing a membership model, and with that refining what we can offer to members to support their adoption of the statements. We are also exploring ways to establish a practitioner’s forum to support our members, and surface some more of the great examples of how you can build resources to determine which statements to apply. We’ll be sharing more about this, and our plans for 2020 in the coming weeks.