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Friday, May 16, 2008

OA to Indian manuscripts

Sudhir Krishnaswamy, et al., Legal and Policy Framework for Promoting Equitable Access to Documentary Heritage, report submitted to UNESCO, March 31, 2008; deposited May 15, 2008. Abstract:
The National Mission for Manuscripts of India, in association with UNESCO, completed a research study to assist in the development of legal and policy framework and protocols for promoting equitable access to documentary heritage, relevant to India and other South Asian countries. ... [T]he study seeks to accurately identify and critically examine the legal and policy framework for promoting equitable access to documentary heritage. The National Mission for Manuscripts is the most important institution in India dealing with bibliographic databases and the conservation and preservation of valuable manuscripts. The study covers the legal and policy framework which envelops the lifecycle of the Mission's work: access to manuscripts, their digitisation and creation of databases. By critically examining the legal rules in the practical context of the Missionís work, the research team has put together the first review of an initiative aimed at the protection of Indian traditional knowledge. The study illustrates working patterns of the Mission within the legal and policy framework of the country. It is a helpful sourcebook for understanding South Asian legal and policy framework for accessing documentary heritage collections. While the study does not set out to be the final word on these policy initiatives, it definitely makes significant progress in the policy debate and legal literature in this field. The conclusions presented in the form of draft legal agreements and policy recommendations will, with no doubt, be valuable tools for South Asian countries that share similar legal and policy framework within the sub-region.