How do archives, museums and libraries enable digital access to works in their collections when it is difficult to identify or locate the copyright owners of that material? If permissions cannot be secured, institutions may simply avoid socially beneficial uses of these works, preferring instead to digitise material for which copyright has expired or is easy to clear. But, when decisions about the digitisation of heritage collections are influenced by the copyright status of the material itself, this skews the digital cultural record.
This problem has been addressed in part by the EU Orphan Works Directive 2012 and the UK Orphan Works Licensing Scheme. But, are these solutions fit for purpose? At the heart of both regimes lies the concept of diligent search. Drawing on unpublished scrapbooks created by the Edwin Morgan, the first Scots Makar, this project presents the first UK study addressing the legal and practical realities of diligent search since the Directive and OWLS came into effect. In addition, we include a set of resources providing clear, authoritative and practical guidance on a range of issues relevant for institutions engaging in similar digitisation initiatives.