Turning Wrongs into Rights: Implementation of RightsStatements.org at Washington University

  • Micah Zeller Washington University in St. Louis


As many librarians who work with digital collections know, ambiguous or meaningless rights statements can cause confusion and limit downstream use of materials. Following DPLA and Europeana's lead in drafting simple, standardized terms that help metadata contributors more effectively communicate copyright and re-use status of digital objects, we evaluated materials in 50+ exhibits at Washington University Libraries in order to assign each an appropriate statement from RightsStatements.org and help facilitate the same for other contributors to the Missouri Hub. This poster focuses on the implementation of project statements and recommendations. Its purpose is to share and discuss practical steps and workflows that organizations can use to assign statements to materials in their own collections. This is rooted in the perspective of a medium-sized organization, with fairly typical staffing, that contributes to DPLA via participation in a regional service hub, but may be relevant to platforms and institutions of all types. The goal is to provide concrete help with evaluating the underlying status of items by collection and deciding which statement to apply. This may involve risk assessment and/or judgment calls, and the poster outlines a few factors that were considered and how decisions were made.