Tomb of tomes

“Indeed, the problem for our great libraries is that books won’t stop coming. The British Library’s UK national collection is currently expanding at the rate of 12.5 kilometres of shelf space a year, and somewhere has to be found to put it all. In 1911, the notion of the copyright library was born, when Parliament decided that the British Library along with five others in Great Britain and Ireland would be entitled to receive a free copy of every item published. But, while the other five – the Bodleian at Oxford, Cambridge University Library, Trinity College Library in Dublin, and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales – have a right to claim any book published in the UK, in practice not all are. Cambridge University Library, for example, estimates that only between 70% and 80% of everything published in the UK are deposited there (they can also request anything within one year of publication). By contrast, the British Library must receive a copy of everything published in the UK each year.

“The British Library, you see, strives to live up to its self-imposed title of “the world’s knowledge”. That knowledge, though, is an odd thing. Along with the Magna Carta and the Gutenberg Bible, it includes Everybody Poos, by Taro Gomi (to help kids over toilet phobias). Not to mention Wayne Rooney’s autobiography, Jordan’s novel and a book called Do Ants Have Arseholes And 101 Other Bloody Ridiculous Questions. The MPs who in 1911 established the legal deposit principle for the five greatest libraries in the British Isles probably didn’t realise the full consequences of their decision.”
Inside the tomb of tomes, by Stuart Jefferies, the Guardian, November 24, 2007 (via BldgBlog, which has more, like some, pictures)

I hear our Library of Congress is going to offer an e-version of the Copyright process in the near future. I also think the price will be $35 for e-subs, as opposed to $45 for the paper way we do now. I know this because I just plunked down $45 (which is robbery) for a copyright. I can remember when it was $10 and it was $10 for, like, forever, so I’ll be glad if the price goes down a little and I can do it all on email.

In other Library of Congress and Mayerson happenings, I just got two ISSN numbers (see sidebar): they were gratis, easy to request (well, I could figure it out), accomplished completely on email, and the LOC turned request around in 72 hours. Was I impressed? Yes, very!

The LOC requests a copy of the magazine be sent in when it’s published, so there must be a warehouse full of magazines somewhere as well. Or maybe they just scan them and toss the paper copy. I dunno.

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