Digitisation of Danish literature is possible - and necessary – University of Copenhagen

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01 November 2016

Digitisation of Danish literature is possible - and necessary

Digitisation

According to Jeppe Eimose Waagstein, PhD student at DIKU, it's both technically, economically, and legally possible to digitise all Danish literature from the 20th century. Above all is it necessary if we want to secure our cultural heritage in a situation where literature competes with new types of entertainment and the Danish language is challenged by the English literature.

In an opinion piece in Politiken on 22 October 2016 and in the Danish Union of Librarians' magazine Perspektiv, October 2016 (p. 26-31 - in Danish), Jeppe Eimose Waagstein has given his suggestion on how a possible digitisation model should look, and how to cope with the challenges standing in the way of the project.

- Literature has a leading role in learning, culture, cultural understanding and pleasure. To secure that our great literary heritage continuously is accessible to the population, it should be digitised. It will give the Danes easy access to the immense collection of accumulated knowledge and strengthen the possibilities to communicate the literary world to new generations that are used to find information digitally, he writes.

In Norway, they started digitisation 10 years ago - a model Denmark should lean against according to Jeppe.

Law, economy and cooperation

In the opinion pieces he goes through the legal, economical and cooperative aspects such a digitisation would require:

  • Legally, it would require that the libraries and copyright owners agree on a general license agreement about the copyright protected works in order to produce the copies and display them digitally.
  • Economically, he estimates that the total costs of a digitisation will be between DKK 240 - 480 millions. The digitisation will release resources from the library budgets and a big part of the financing can be found in the existing budgets.
  • The digitisation will, because of reductions in the cultural area, require that public libraries agree on directing the released resources to expenses for licences and the digitisation work - and not to cover holes in the municipality budgets. Furthermore, the libraries and the copyright organisations will have to agree on a licence agreement.

Read more about Jeppe Eimose Waagsteins suggestions in connection with digitisation of Danish literature on bibliotikarforbundet.dk (in Danish)