|Sector||Rights management and digital libraries|
|Target Users||Libraries are the main target user group for ARROW, but the neutrality and flexibility of the system makes it adaptable to any kind of entity interested in rights information management, regardless of the legal framework or business proposition|
|Nature of the initiative||The ARROW Association is a not-for-profit association gathering public and private stakeholders currently chaired by the Italian Publishers Association.|
The ARROW system facilitates rights information management, i.e. the identification of rights, rightholders, and rights status of a work, including whether it is orphan (i.e. a copyrighted work whose rightholders cannot be identified nor contacted) or out of commerce. This enables libraries, as well as other organisations wishing to create a digital collection, to obtain information on who are the pertinent rightholders, which are the relevant rights concerned, who owns and administers them and, where possible, how and where they can seek permission to digitise and/or make available the work. ARROW enhances the interoperability between sources of rights information held by rightholders, CMOs, Books in Print (BiP) databases, libraries and other relevant stakeholders, who make their databases available for search via the ARROW interface.
At the end of EU funded phase (2008-2013) ARROW service is up and running in 16 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and the UK) and it is supporting real use cases emerged both from the public and the private sectors.
Thanks to the implementation of ARROW workflow, two countries are piloting the use of the system: two digitisation programmes have been set up in UK, while in France ARROW is being used to serve the new out of commerce legislation.
Furthermore, since ARROW complies with the principles established by the EU Orphan Works Directive due by 29 October 2014 and has been listed among the appropriate sources to be consulted in conjunction with a diligent search process for rightholders and rights status identification, the countries where the service is in place will be able to exploit ARROW system as a relevant source of rights information.
The ARROW business infrastructure consists of a technical and a social infrastructure. The latter’s main component is the ARROW Association, a not-for-profit entity established in September 2013 created to manage the system after the end of the project phase. The Association, currently chaired by AIE, is open for membership to all relevant stakeholders and will take the business decisions necessary to ensure the functioning and sustainability of the ARROW system, which is based on a reliable exploitation plan.
ARROW is a service resulting from two consecutive European projects, ARROW and ARROW Plus, coordinated by the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) and involving a consortium of European libraries, organisations representing authors, publishers and Collective Management Organisations (CMOs).
ARROW (September 2008 – February 2011) was co-funded under the eContent Plus programme of the European Commission; ARROW Plus (April 2011 – December 2013) was co-funded by the European Commission ICT Policy Support Programme.
The value proposition of ARROW is based on a core service consisting in allowing an efficient, automated search of the most relevant sources of bibliographic data so as to facilitate retrieving information on rightholders and rights status of books, with the objective to streamline rights information management, and through this also support digitisation projects.
The ARROW system was originally developed to serve specific library requirements and needs, with a main focus on programmes to digitise and make available cultural heritage; by offering a technological solution for rights clearance that can be adopted in any digitisation programme, ARROW addresses one of the key issues stated in the i2010 Digital Library initiative, that is to facilitate the inclusion of copyrighted works in digital libraries, thus overcoming the so called '20th century black hole'.
Libraries continue to be the main users of the services that ARROW offers, as well as other cultural institutions, museums, archives and similar entities. This represents a substantial market for the ARROW service, which can assist in identifying whether the prospective works are in or out of commerce or orphan, and provide information on where the rights to digitise and make available of such works can be cleared. This translates mainly in consistent time and resource saving when conducting a diligent search in the framework of small scale as well as large scale digitisation projects.
Nonetheless, ARROW is business neutral, therefore any player in the book market, commercial or non-commercial, can potentially benefit from the use of the system.
Any private company in need for a tool to perform searches for rights information or rights clearance, including search engines such as Google and others in the e-book or e-value chain, such as Amazon, Microsoft, the Gutenberg project, the World Digital Library, the Internet Archive and individual publishers or aggregators are potential customers of ARROW.
For instance, the value proposition of ARROW for entities that don’t belong to the library domain like Collective Management Organisations consists in delivering an interoperable system to manage rights information and allowing the maintenance of orphan works registries. CMOs administer rights on collective basis on behalf of authors and/or publishers, and need frequently to identify rightholders and rights status of works: this comprises CMOs involvement in the administration of rights to digitise and make available out of commerce and orphan works, that can be managed through the use of ARROW.
Authors and publishers can also benefit from the use of ARROW when they are in need for rights information. This occurs typically when they require information in conjunction with republication of out of commerce works in their own or third party backlist.
ARROW offers a custom-oriented and cost and time efficient system to support the determination of copyright status as well as the identification of out of commerce works, in order to facilitate rights information management. This also allows the establishment of an orphan works registry and to build and/or interconnect out of commerce registries. A system that enables a cost and time saving rights management meets expressly stated requirements from ARROW’s main customers from the public, not-for-profit as well as the commercial sectors and from political environments. The ARROW project’s validation of the system produced empirical evidence of resource saving when using ARROW in diligent search compared to current existing tools. From this perspective, the ARROW consortium has documented substantial resource savings for users in relation to activities which require rights information management: British Library produced a report on their resource saving, documenting that performing diligent search using ARROW reduced, on average, the time spent from 4 hours to 5 minutes per book.
Furthermore, ARROW is explicitly listed among the sources to be consulted by the EU Orphan Works Directive in the diligent search for rightholders, and is also fully compatible with the principles of the EC-facilitated Memorandum of Understanding on out of commerce works, thus broadening the scope of the services that can be supplied. Indeed, ARROW provides services far beyond the orphan works domain: out of commerce digitisation plans open even more promising business opportunities for the ARROW system.
Since ARROW may be used regardless of the business model, institutional mission of the users, legislative basis and form of licensing arrangements, different use cases may emerge presenting different scenarios and different user needs, and thus requiring specific customisations. Many elements can vary, such as the legal environment or the stakeholder agreements supporting actual digitisation plans, the terms of which must be taken into consideration and implemented into the system.
Therefore, the ARROW services will normally consist of:
- the analysis of the rights information needed for a digitisation programme, together with the stakeholders involved, so as to transform the terms of the agreements into technical requirements for the system;
- the implementation of the required customisation so as to serve a specific programme;
- the actual use of the system to query the databases of the network and the data processing in order to receive the requested answers.
Finally, the Rights Information Infrastructure managed by ARROW consists of a number of tools that can provide values in various other ways, such as offering access to information through a centralised registry, including a Registry of Orphan Works, with the option of some form of cooperation with the Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM), which is responsible for the European Orphan Works Registry.
The role of technology
The ARROW system consists in a distributed network of data sources made interoperable through the use of standard based tools. The workflow is country based and consists in a series of steps to process and store the outcome of the automated diligent search process:
- the user submits a request to digitise and exploit a publication or copyright material by manual input of bibliographic information via web form (suitable for single title requests), by batch upload of MARC21 XML records (suitable for small-medium digitisation projects), by B2B query function (suitable for mass-digitisation projects);
- ARROW queries a network of databases connected to the system: The European Library (TEL), to identify the book and to cluster it with all other manifestations belonging to the same intellectual work; Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) to gather the available author data needed for the identification of copyright status; Books in Print (BiP) database in the country of publication, to know if any of the books concerned are actively commercialised by any publisher; Reproduction Rights Organisation (RRO) or other Collective Management Organisation repertoires in the country of publication, to check whether the rightholders can be traced;
- ARROW collects the best available rights information on the work, determining whether it is in copyright or in the public domain, whether it is commercially available or out of commerce, and whether the rightholders are known or the work can be considered potentially orphan;
- the user receives immediately the answer to the request: in case of unavailable rights information on the work at the end of the process, the results feed the Registry of Orphan Works.
To cope with data sources diversity (national libraries bibliographies and authority files, book supply chain data, rights management data) interoperability in information exchange is enabled by ONIX for Rights Information Services message suite developed for ARROW and released as an EDItEUR open standard ONIX-RS : the queried data sources feed the system with information expressed in ONIX-RS metadata format that ARROW aggregates, thus enhancing the interoperability between different sources of information.
Interoperability has emerged as one of the key features of the system also in the development of ARROW BiP software for the countries addressed for the reinforcement of their national data source infrastructure, as far as the bibliographic data to be ingested in the software from the local databases needed to be converted by ARROW in the suitable format for the BiP data model.
Once the ARROW system is fed with the data extracted from the sources connected, the ARROW workflow elaborates the information in order to return a response to the user request, basing on internal algorithms of copyright status and publishing status calculation: the ARROW algorithms differ from existing alternatives because they are included in a comprehensive workflow that integrates in one single tool the retrieval of relevant information to make the calculation and the calculation itself, thus enabling the complete automation of the diligent search process.
Moreover, during ARROW Plus project the system performance has been considerably improved thanks to the implementation of several enhancements, crucial to enrich the data needed to infer the copyright status of works: for instance, the named entity parsing tool applied to natural language text fields contained in library records submitted into the system – allowing the recognition of all contributors’ names available for ARROW – supported a remarkable increase in the accuracy of ARROW results.
ARROW is now established in 16 European countries for a total amount of more than 50 stakeholders associations involved and over 40 data sources feeding the system.
Since the development of the book data infrastructure is crucial for a country to be included in ARROW workflow, ARROW developed a Books in Print software for those countries lacking of such essential service for the book trade. The ARROW BiP software has been adopted by Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and will be locally customised to bring benefit to the whole book sector, far beyond the ARROW scope.
In terms of results obtained through the actual use of the ARROW system, three use cases provided the most encouraging outcomes, since they refer to real use of the system, and therefore go far beyond the mere demonstrator.
In UK ARROW collaborated with the Wellcome Library of the private charity Wellcome Trust and the British Library for two digitisation programmes featuring similar elements: the lack of particular legislative background to deal with orphan or out of commerce works, so that the value was there when the system enabled reaching rightholders to ask permission, and the inclusion in the programmes of books first published in several countries, which can be approached only thanks to a European platform.
The Wellcome Library had been undertaking a large digitisation programme with the aim of creating a free, publicly accessible, online research resource, featuring digitised books, archives, films, photographs and audio related to the history of genetics. Given the subject matter, a key challenge with this project was the inclusion of published material that was known to be, or was likely to be, in copyright. To assess the feasibility of including also copyrighted works in a large digitisation project, a pilot programme was set up comprising approximately two thousand books from the Wellcome Library’s collection related to genetics and inheritance, published between 1850 and 1990 in various countries in the world. The rightholders search was to be completed and licenses gathered from individual rightholders, using the intermediation provided by the local RROs.
For the centenary of the First World War, the British Library launched, in the framework of Europeana Collection 1914-1918 initiative, a dedicated digitisation project. The British Library needed to upload and process via ARROW some thousands of records describing books from its catalogue, published in various countries around the world. After the technical analysis conducted by the ARROW team, for the design and the implementation of the specific requirements and customisations for this use case, the staff of the British Library in charge of using the ARROW system has been trained on how to use the system, and in December 2012 British Library started using the ARROW system for around 2,000 books.
In France, ARROW has served the ReLIRE use case launched by the Bibliothèque nationale de France after the issue of a new legislation regulating the out of commerce works. The design and implementation phase ran from July to November 2013: in this phase, requirements and specifications have been implemented into a customised ARROW system to support the French project. The new specific service for OOC status retrieval implies a new workflow definition while maintaining the current process configuration. The service has been provided processing first 100,000 records in early December 2013. From 2014 on, the collaboration will continue on full commercial basis with the Arrow Association.
The capability of serving also this case demonstrated the flexibility of the ARROW system to accommodate different legal backgrounds and business environments: requirements and customised specifications implemented to serve different use cases have enhanced the whole ARROW system while providing the desired service to the user.
The ARROW system runs at European level elaborating requests from different European countries, therefore ARROW is designed to support both the setup of a centralised infrastructure and the integration of other databases. Under this perspective functionalities are designed to consider country specific requirements to enable ARROW system scalability and interoperability with local data sources.