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LIB-014 Media Currency Policy and Plan for Obsolete Media Formats

Policy on Media Currency and Format Obsolescence

Category: Library

Number: LIB-014

Responsibility: University Librarian

Approver: Library Management Team

Approval: June 1, 2013

Revised: November 5, 2013


The Arthur A. Wishart Library's Audio-Visual Collections are an integral part of research, teaching, and learning at Algoma University. Providing access to a range of materials broad enough to support curriculum, research, and study one of Library's principal missions. Over time these formats become obsolete and the technologies for re-playing them are no longer produced.


This policy applies to the entire Arthur A. Wishart Library user community. 


The current interpretation of this Policy applies to the VHS format. This Policy may be updated as required to address other materials that become or are deemed becoming obsolete.

Policy: Principles for Determining Obsolescence

1. Audio-Visual Collections are subject to rapid changes in media and technologies. In identifiable situations, the Library has determined that faculty and students require certain titles in its collections, currently only available on aging VHS format tapes, for educational use. These titles also meet the following conditions:

1.1 The title is not commercially available in a current audio-visual format and/ or technology of the titles for purchase through a thorough search of the appropriate vendors or supplies.

1.2 There is no rights holder identifiable through a thorough search of appropriate sources.

Under the Copyright Act of Canada (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42), §30.1 Management and maintenance of collection:

30.1 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright for a library, archive or museum or a person acting under the authority of a library, archive or museum to make, for the maintenance or management of its permanent collection or the permanent collection of another library, archive or museum, a copy of a work or other subject-matter, whether published or unpublished, in its permanent collection: […]

 (c) in an alternative format if the library, archive or museum or a person acting under the authority of the library, archive or museum considers that the original is currently in a format that is obsolete or is becoming obsolete, or that the technology required to use the original is unavailable or is becoming unavailable;

Process and Workflow

Audio-visual items in VHS format that meet the above criteria will be processed in the following manner:

1. Items that are commercially available in a current format will be purchased by the Library, if faculty and/or students still require those items for educational purposes.

2. Items that are not commercially available in a current format will be converted into a digital copy with the assistance of Algoma University's Information & Technology Services department.

2.1. A digital copy on hard disk will be place in ITS-managed storage device for archiving purposes only.

2.2. ITS will create a single DVD copy will be tested then returned to the Library with the VHS original.

2.3. The Library will 'elastic band' the VHS and DVD together as a precaution in the Audio-Visual collection.

2.4. The Library will circulate the DVD copy to faculty and students for educational purposes only.

3. With respect to faculty who have legitimately purchased VHS format materials that meet the same criteria and checks applied to the Library's VHS materials (above in Part 1; e.g. there is no commercially available version in another format), they may:

3.1. Donate the VHS materials to the Library and the Library will follow its the process above; or

3.2. They can retain their VHS materials and ITS will make transfer the content to DVD for them for their personal (1) or educational (2) use as defined in the Act); or

3.3. They can sign out a VHS media device from the Audio-Visual equipment inventory held in the Library.

3.4. With regard to faculty owned copies: all Library users, including faculty, are also responsible for knowing their rights and responsibilities under the Act


1. Backup copies
29.24 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright in a work or other subject-matter for a person who owns - or has a licence to use - a copy of the work or subject-matter (in this section referred to as the "source copy") to reproduce the source copy if

(a) the person does so solely for backup purposes in case the source copy is lost, damaged or otherwise rendered unusable;

(b) the source copy is not an infringing copy;

(c) the person, in order to make the reproduction, did not circumvent, as defined in section 41, a technological protection measure, as defined in that section, or cause one to be circumvented; and

(d) the person does not give any of the reproductions away.

Marginal note: Backup copy becomes source copy

(2) If the source copy is lost, damaged or otherwise rendered unusable, one of the reproductions made under subsection (1) becomes the source copy.
Marginal note:Destruction

(3) The person shall immediately destroy all reproductions made under subsection (1) after the person ceases to own, or to have a licence to use, the source copy.


2. See generally  § 29. Fair Dealing

Marginal note: Research, private study, etc.

s. 29 Fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire does not infringe copyright.