Key Initiative 1 — Digital Content Programme

Driving access to content, and digital resources, for library users

[Meets Strategic Directions 1, 3, 4]

IFLA working collaboratively to build a legal, technical and professional base that enables libraries to play a major role in collecting, preserving, and offering wide access to all types of physical and digital materials:

  • digital legal deposit – with a focus on legislative certainty for deposit and library user access
  • digital lending – with a focus on library user access to e-resources, and inter-organisation/cross-border uses compatible with fair practice
  • mass digitisation – with a focus on IFLA facilitating information exchange for the library sector
  • digital preservation – with a focus on legal mechanisms for harvesting and preserving born digital information and local content hosted on websites and in social media


  • Advocate within the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) domain for an endorsed instrument – treaty – that provides legal certainty for:

    • a basic foundation of exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives in all countries that would benefit access to knowledge for library users in all WIPO member states;
    • the creation of accessible format works which may be transferred by libraries across borders as part of interlending services on behalf of users;
    • equitable access for library users while maintaining a balance between the rights of rights holders and library users.
  • Advocate for the adoption and promotion of open access policies as set out in IFLA’s Statement on Open Access:

    • within the framework of the United Nations institutions (UN, UNESCO, WHO, FAO), and
    • develop case studies and best practices to support advocacy for open access
      [Cross-organisational Taskforce to co-ordinate these activities]
  • Policies and standards:

    • Develop and endorse the IFLA Statement on Legal Deposit outlining benefits of and considerations for print and electronic legal deposit whether in a mandatory or voluntary system of legal deposit;
    • Develop and endorse the IFLA Statement on Orphan Works encompassing issues to be considered in promoting the public interest in access to such works while protecting owner’s rights and countering the risk of infringement;
    • Secure UNESCO endorsement for the IFLA Manifesto for Digital Libraries and IFLA endorsement of the supporting Guidelines;
    • Position paper on digital lending; [Taskforce, to determine the scope, content and IFLA positions, and considerations for implementation]
    • Develop and endorse Guidelines on Privacy and the Use of Social Media, addressing issues to be considered in the use of social media in, and by, libraries; [Working Group]
    • Audit IFLA Standards to identify gaps and priorities and initiate actions to develop required standards;
  • Commission a major 2020 vision research report modelling the evolving digital information environment; detailing options for libraries internationally to position themselves within an evolving digital information environment, and the social, cultural, economic and legal consequences for these options; with a discussion of the preliminary findings at IFLA WLIC 2012; and the report would provide a base for the library sector for promotion, advocacy and outreach for the following 2 – 5 years.
    [Establish a Steering Committee comprising representatives from across the sector to prepare the brief, advise on commissioning of the report, guide it through to completion, and advise on its promulgation]
  • Hosting a portal for information exchange on issues critical to the practice of librarianship in the digital age

    • within the IFLA web environment develop virtual spaces for information exchange on those topics in the digital area in which the international library community is already showing much activity or in which much expertise is available already, such as the area of Mass Digitisation. The virtual spaces will be a source for the international library community and IFLA’s partners to draw upon for expertise, for broadening and sharing resources and for enhancing capacity building. In this way IFLA extends its activities by linking to activities of related organisations. At the same time the virtual spaces will be sources for Key Initiative 2 and Key Initiative 3.