LOC looking for opinions on copyright search

The Library of Congress would like the opinion of the end user as they develop a plan to include copyright records prior to 1977 to the website. Check out their blog, try out a few searches and give them your opinion.

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Copyright and Plagiarism: A Reading List

  • Debbie Mieszala’s Stop, thief! A plagiarism primer (NGS Magazine, April-June 2012) is a funny but very important look at the world of plagiarism.  If you are an NGS member, read it today!  If you   are not an NGS member, run, don’t walk to your closest genealogical library and read it carefully.  As Debbie points out “Keeping plagiarism out of our work is of utmost ethical importance.  Nobody wants to hear the words “Stop thief”‘ And certainly, nobody wants them to be true.”  The Further Study section at the end of the article offers links to many helpful articles and websites.

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Virtual Copyright Card Catalog a possibility

Back in February I reported on the LOC Blog – Copyright Matters.  At that time the Copyright Office was well into the digitization of the volumes of the Catalog of Copyright Entries.   Last week they reported that the project was nearly complete.  You can find 645 volumes on the Internet Archive ranging in date from 1891 to 1978.  These volumes provide the initial registration

 information for items copyrighted, but do not necessarily reflect current ownership for items still covered by copyright.   They are a good first step in the search for copyright information.  If you are looking for copyright information later than 1 January 1978 you can access the records from the LOC Copyright page.

Clicking on the Find records Prior to January 1, 1978 will open a .pdf file that tells you about the Copyright Card File and how to use it.  There is also an explanation of the Online Records.

It is the ultimate goal of the Library of Congress to provide access to that card catalog for all patrons, whether they are in the library or sitting at their home computer.  The digitization of the catalog is well underway with the cards dating back to 1955 nearly complete, but the idea of indexing it is somewhat daunting.  OCR is being considered along with other possibilities with the goal of making the card catalog searchable.  You can read more about that in Copyright Matters- April 26 .

In an earlier Copyright Matters blog, the public was asked to comment on the worthiness of a virtual card catalog.  While I seldom comment on blogs, I felt this was worth the time.  After all, how hard is it to pull out a file drawer and check a catalog card.  If the entire catalog was put online in the same order that you would find in the library there is no disadvantage.

In fact there is a huge advantage, I can virtually pull out that drawer and search through it for my answer without leaving the comfort of my armchair.  No longer will I have to wonder if an item is still in copyright, or hire a researcher to check for me.  The library listened and the feedback was positive.  They are looking at ways to implement the virtual card catalog for use until a searchable one might become available.

I’m looking forward to both the virtual catalog and the ultimate searchable one!

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