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IGF 2020 - Day 4 - DC Equitable access to digital content: lessons from COVID-19

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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     >> MODERATOR: Good afternoon, good morning, good evening, everybody. 

     Welcome to the IGF session on Equitable Access to Digital Content, Lessons from COVID-19 brought to you by the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries. 

     You are very welcome to join us for this session.  My name is Stuart Hamilton.  I'm the Head of Libraries Development for the Local Government Management Agency in Ireland.  And I'm also the current President of the National Authorities on Public Libraries in Europe. 

     And I'm also very happy to be part of the Dynamic Coalition of Public Access in Libraries and have attended many IGFs in this capacity.  I'm going to chair the session today.

     And we are here to focus on access.  The Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries has got a long history now as being one of the key places within the IGF where public access to information is discussed alongside public access to broadband infrastructure. 

     Our Dynamic Coalition believes that the world's 406,000 public libraries offer an amazing and already existing resource to help policy goals in the digital and development context.

     Now specifically today we want to talk about access during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The last six months have highlighted crucial questions around access to key digital resources and services when crisis hits us.  And I know this because of the situation we faced here in Ireland.  On March 12 this year, overnight we had to close the country's 330 public libraries.  And we instantly saw massive shifts of our users online. 

     We have seen triple digit percentage increases in new users of our ebooks and online services for emagazines and newspapers.  We had hundreds of thousands of views for our online story times.  And we've had very crucial questions posed by policy makers about how we continue to provide access to wi-fi and PCs whilst our buildings are closed. 

     But it's not just Ireland.  I mean all over the world we have seen educational institutions and their libraries undertaking novel and new ways to ensure their students access to educational materials.  We've seen publishers and other vendors launch initiatives to extend or offer easy access to online resources.  We've seen a lot of conversations around the extension of open access, particularly resources that support research on COVID-19 and related areas or that ensure the continuity of education during lockdown.

     However, this has been far from uniform across countries and even within countries.  And this, of course, has deepened existing digital divides and created new inequalities. 

     Under lockdown conditions, lower income, remote and otherwise disadvantaged communities could have limited access or be entirely cut off from work, education, healthcare, or other dimensions of participation in society. 

     So we're facing very big questions about the money, the resources and skills that we need to meet the public huge demand for our services during the pandemic.

     And these discussions and their outcomes are going to change the library sector in years to come.  We think we have to have some fundamental discussion, investigation into the nature of digital inclusion in this new environment and the policies that we need to address it.  And the IGF offers that space to have the discussions.

     So what we are going to try and do in the session today is to take stock of what we know, to look at some of the emergency responses of libraries, of governments, and publishers and other key stakeholders to the COVID-19 crisis.  And to look at some of these responses and the impacts they have had on digital inclusion and access to information and content.

     We're going to particularly look at the current policy context and the lessons learned during the pandemic.  And then look at those -- how those policy questions will inform us in the future when there may be, hopefully not, but may be similar emergencies similar to this one.

     The format to the session is going to be in three parts.  We're going to establish the baseline first.  We're going to and look at where we are with policies around public access to broadband, public access to information in libraries, and looking at challenges we faced ensuring access to information during the pandemic. 

     And obviously we're going to focus very much on open discussion in the third part of the session where we want to hear from you about your own contexts. 

     We've got a great lineup of speakers, and I'm going to introduce them as we go through.  But I'd ask you to remember that this format, I think, gives you the opportunity to comment in parallel with the speakers and to use the chat function for your observations. 

     You can share your own experiences there, and you can ask questions, which I will do my best to round up or bring into play when we have an intervention finish or at the end when we get into open discussion.  I'm very much encouraging you to get involved in the chat function of this.

     So let's kick off, let's move on.  In the first part here, as I said, I want to establish the baseline for the session by looking at public access solutions in broadband policies. 

     And to do this, I'm going to call on Valensiya Dresvyannikova who is the policy and research officer at IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. 

     Valensiya's background is in public administration, but at IFLA she focuses on internet governance.  So it is perfect to hear about digital matters from the library sector's perspective.  She's going to set the scene for us and talk about how public access is an important tool for response and recovery. 

     Now, some of you may recall from last year's Dynamic Coalition meeting that our report looked at the role of libraries in broadband plans.  And this year we've had the chance to look at several case studies to see how this is being implemented on the ground. 

     So this initial intervention before we get on to COVID-19 will give us kind of insights into the impact of public access and what good practices can ensure maximum results.  So, Valensiya, over to you.

     >> VALENSIYA DRESVYANNIKOVA:  Thank you so much, Stuart.  Thank you, everyone, for joining us today.

     Hello, everyone.  As Stuart mentioned, I'm Valensiya Dresvyannikova, Policy Research Officer at IFLA, which is one of the founding members of our DC-PAL. 

     So as Stuart has highlighted, these past few months have, among many other challenges, underlined the urgency of taking more action to address the digital divide.  So What does this mean for public access strategies and for public access solutions? 

     On one hand, these last few months have shown us how public access solutions have adapting to continue to support digital inclusion throughout the pandemic. 

     Where possible, we saw libraries and similar facilities taking on a wide range of initiatives ranging from expanding wi-fi coverage to hotspot, laptop loans, and many, many other solutions.  And we'll have a chance to look at these in more detail very shortly thanks to one of our key speakers, Don Means. 

     We have also seen how questions around public access remained relevant throughout the different stages of lockdown, social distancing, of tentative reopenings, and second waves across different countries.  In many situations, public access, including access to computers and workstations, was seen as an important priority. 

     And there are cases, for example, in the UK and Belgium where libraries have worked to adjust and offer public access services naturally with strict safety measures through different stages of lockdowns and reopenings.

     This has been done, for example, by appointment or reserve computer use for essential tasks or prioritizing use for people who do not have individual internet access at home.  And it's also worth noting that where this was made available, these public facilities were often used for particularly essential tasks. 

     So access to government services online, to benefits applications, to job applications.  This points to the important role that public access can play both during the peaks of the pandemic and the recovery that is yet to come. 

     So when we look at lessons learned and the possible policy changes that support digital inclusion, access to content and access to services in the new-normal and during the recovery and for the possible future crisis, here we can look at the role -- it's worth looking at the role and the value and the potential of public access. 

     With the urgent need to bring more people online, we can start by taking a closer look, indeed, at what policy tools we have at our disposal and within what policy frameworks we are working at the moment.

     So, as Stuart mentioned, in 2019, DC-PAL has launched a report that examines the role of libraries in broadband policies.  While having looked at about 13 national broadband policies that reference public libraries, we have seen that the roles, the different roles that libraries can take to support this inclusion varied substantially. 

     The includes, for example, affordable access to the internet, of course, but also digital skills training, also local content creation and more.  Similarly, we have seen the different policy tools and mechanisms that can support and deliver on this -- on these roles. 

     So building up public connectivity infrastructure, equipping libraries with ICTs, using mechanisms such as universal service access funds or public/private partnerships and many, many other approaches.  So having charge of these policy options this year, we have built a list by looking at how these policies have actually been implemented in practice in several different countries. 

     Through the past months and with the wonderful help of our colleagues in different countries, we were able to prepare several in-depth case studies that look at how library connectivity and public access policies and initiatives have been implemented in Colombia, in Kenya, in Lithuania and in Romania, and what the impacts of these interventions have been. 

     So to begin to introduce our cases, in Colombia, several projects associated with the national plan in 2014-2018 have contributed to wide broadband connectivity and to public access. 

     Through the national fiber optic project, hundreds of libraries and other public institutions have been connected to fiber infrastructure that Punta Semidigitale (phonetic) set up public access points in libraries and similar facilities across the country.  

     We looked at a particular case of a municipality where a network of local stakeholders works closely together to ensure a best possible fit to local circumstances and local needs and also expanded on this project with more initiatives. 

     And finally, in Colombia the project used an appropriation of ICT in the public libraries was developed by the Minister of Culture and the National Library and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and also focused on having libraries offer public access and ICT-enabled services. 

     In second set case study in Kenya, the National Library Service and the Communications Authority of Kenya have worked closely together to set up public access points in libraries across the country, in public libraries.  They have started with a pilot project, equipping 10 libraries with ICT with connectivity and training for the library staff. 

     And soon after this was scaled up to 46 more public libraries across the country.  This project is an example of how universal service funds can be leveraged to support digital inclusion through public access in existing facilities. 

     In Lithuania, the third case study, several different projects have been implemented.  Some with the government, some through European Union programs or with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Program. 

     These various projects in Lithuania focused on building access points for the public or infrastructure development or updating library connectivity infrastructure in particular.

     As a part of the current broadband policy, the Minister of Culture and the National Library are implementing a project that has renewed public access facilities in libraries, upgraded internet connection, and delivered various advanced technology facts for library uses.  For example, focusing on engineering and robotics and graphics design and more. 

     And finally, in Romania, a six-year build the internet program, running from 2008 to 2014, also funded by the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, has equipped 80% of Romania's libraries with the ICT equipment with internet connectivity as well as special skills training for the librarians. 

     This connectivity infrastructure and capacity building has then helped libraries across the country to introduce many digital inclusion services which were later referenced in the country's digital agenda. 

     These are just a few case studies, of course, and we are working to add more examples and further insights. 

     And while all of these cases have employed different mechanisms, they follow different formulas, what we did notice is there were several recurring themes and common findings that can offer us some more insights on good practices regarding public access projects and what works and what can be achieved. 

     A first set of shared themes has to do with the impact to public access.  Across all of the case studies, some recurring themes helped us highlight that, one, intervention supporting public access in libraries often help users from more marginalized groups, from more vulnerable groups.  Or, for example, in Lithuania later studies suggested that public access facilities in libraries are supporting digital inclusion of older community members as well as residents of rural areas, People with Disabilities, lower income or less formal qualifications. 

     In Romania, the infrastructure and capacity building intervention allowed libraries to introduce targeted services for youth, for children, as well as older community members.  In Kenyan libraries, public access facilities are particularly popular with youth and students.

     A second lesson was that setting up public facilities in libraries has made it possible to introduce more services to help meet the needs of communities.

     Well, it almost goes without saying that many, many, many libraries that have been benefiting from these projects have introduced digital skills training.  Whether in the form of formal training courses, whether in terms of informal support or help advice, this was a key element of their work to support digital inclusion.

     Public access facilities themselves contributed to broader societal development goals.  For example, whether it is educational goals or employment goals or access to health information or e-government services of their users. 

     But what was also striking is that once these facilities and libraries have been set up, this paved the way for offering more services that help meet the needs of their communities.  More different programs or offerings that are tailored for local needs.

     For example, in Romania, the rollout of services from different libraries ranged from entertainment to culture and heritage and skills building.  In Colombia, libraries are able to contribute to local content generation.  And actually one of the reports summing up the results of the intervention highlighted that libraries are able to introduce 300 new unique service projects for their communities.

     And in both Colombia and Lithuania, public access facilities also started offering access to advanced technologies, helping people get familiar and develop skills in different areas from engineering to robotics to artificial intelligence and graphic design. 

     This widespread adoption of various accompanying services alongside the fundamental public access facilities means that even when people have home connections, they continue to use public access facilities like these in libraries and in similar organizations.  Public access solutions essentially are about more than just connectivity.

     Also, once established, these services offered an excellent platform for further growth and expansion in Colombia, in Lithuania, in many other countries what we have seen is that having set up this infrastructure libraries are able to partner with national, local authorities and agencies and NGOs and commercial partners to further develop services and deliver on access to information and services in areas like agriculture, life-long education, literacy, or administrative matters. 

     So essentially what this shows is that -- what this helps show is that public access is an excellent steppingstone for many other interventions. 

     With all these potential in mind, the other set of lessons was about what works and what can help maximize policy interventions that support public access. 

     Lesson one was that taking stock of the infrastructure of community needs is very useful when preparing the rollout of such post interventions.  In general, a common formula for setting up public access appears to be ICT equipment plus connectivity plus training for the library staff.  And these are crucial elements, but it is also good to check if all the other fundamental infrastructure needs are met and are in place.

     For example, we're talking about conditions of premises or even things like furniture and equipment.  For example, in Kenya, an exercise that was undertaken at the very beginning of the intervention showed that local area network infrastructure would need to be set up for several libraries. 

     And for some, it was also important to secure an electricity source.  That is why the project has included building up local area networks as well as introducing solar panels as needed.

     The second lesson shared was that skills building for the library staff is integral.  This was introduced in many interventions including Colombia, Kenya, Lithuania and others.  And this enables librarians to deliver equitable additional skills learning opportunities, roll out new ICT-based services, amplify the impact and the value that public ICT infrastructure offers.

     Finally, there is across all of these case studies, there have been a diversity of possible funding sources that can enable and support a rollout of public access facilities. 

     Support can come from a combination of sources.  These include local government budgets, universal sponsor, private foundations, and so on and so forth.  It is also vital to ensure continued sustainability of public access facilities as these case studies have shown. 

     This entails planning for long-term expenses and maintenance of the facilities.  This has been had, for example, in both Colombia and the Kenya case studies.

     And what we have also seen is that leadership is critical, and coordination and partnerships can help ensure maximum impact for the rollout of these facilities.  For example, a partnership between a local non-profit organization, the public library network, and Mayor's office in a city in Colombia, the specific case study mentioned earlier, this helped establish a successful public access model that was tailored for local needs. 

     In Kenya, the National Library Service, KEN-LS, has also continued facilitating the rollout of the project once the infrastructure was set up.  They have helped coordinate the introduction of ICT-based services in libraries across the country on a trial basis. 

     And this means that they can replicate scaleups and most successful and in demand products across different libraries in the country. 

     Similarly, in Romania, the National Association of Public Libraries and Librarians, once the infrastructure was set up helped build and launch many different projects either in partnerships with organizations, with individual libraries, or by itself.  And individual libraries themselves were able to continue building on this and taking the impact further.

     And a final lesson was that impact evaluation and assessment are critical.  For example, once case in Kenya has shown that the -- has included building a system for reporting on the use of public facilities on -- often feedback.  And one of the findings was, for example, pertaining to the speed of the connectivity and the number of computers. 

     The initial plans included two megabytes per second speed for the public access facilities.  That was the second half.  In the end of the intervention, all of this has been scaled up to 10 megabytes per second.  Again, based on the received feedback, based on the shifting community needs. 

     These studies showed that both the potential public access in ensuring meaningful inclusion as well as the policy tools that can help implement this. 

     And as we have continuously seen, access is -- of course, meaningful access comprises many dimension and this ranges from inclusion to skills to affordability to access to content and services.

     And this shows both how public access can help contribute to this and what good practices that may be worth replicating or learning from.  And this helps us move on to the broader discussion on -- on both access to meaningful access to content, to services, and how public access can continue to do this during and after the pandemic.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Valensiya.  So there is an awful lot of information to unpack there.  And the Dynamic Coalition is going to be releasing this sort of updated report which we will talk about later as well. 

     But I think what the intervention there from Valensiya does is give us a little background information that we need to understand really the impact that public access can have with those four case studies, with bits and pieces around, you know, what can be provided.  And the impact it can have, really particularly as you pointed out, Valensiya, on marginalized communities. 

     And in many cases exactly who policy makers want to reach in that context of digital inclusion. 

     There's a couple of things that I'm sure we will come back to from the start of your presentation there around sort of access to government services online and benefit applications which I think are relevant when we get into some of the COVID discussions.

     And that's where I want to go now.  We're going to move into the second part which is really about the new challenges that we are facing.  How can we continue to provide equitable access to content and services during the pandemic?  So what have the impacts been of our responses to the emergency and what further questions do they raise?

     So I'm going to start by calling on Nkem Osuibwe, who is the Director of Human Capacity Development and Training for AFLIA. 

     And you mentioned your connectivity in the chat there so I hope that you are with us.  I know that you are opening up knowledge and equitable access to information for the development of Africa.  And I understand you will talk to us today about how African libraries responded to the crisis and then how to take action on some of the gaps that emerged with particular reference to African realities and the challenges and possibilities.  So over to you.

     >> NKEM OSUIGWE: Thank you very much.  Can you hear me?  Can you all hear me, please?

     >> MODERATOR: I can hear you.  I'm guessing other people can, too.  Although I can no longer hear you now. 

     Nkem, can you hear us?  Someone was remarking to me the other day that a lot of these online meetings are now like seances whereby you're calling off into the ether for somebody. 

     Nkem, I'm going to give you another chance.  We can always come back to you.  Can you hear us now?

     Okay.  Well, I think it shows that often we do have connectivity problems and a new environment is no different here with online meetings. 

     I'm going to pause Nkem, and Don, I think I will come to you if that's okay.  I can see you online there.  So Don was going to be our second speaker and he's moved up in priority now. 

     Don Means is the founding chairman of the School's Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition, which is a DC-based advocacy organization promoting government policies and programs to get gigabit fiber to libraries and other community anchor institutions. 

     So he is here representing the Gigabit Libraries Network, which is a global coalition of tech savvy innovation-focused libraries.  And he's also in his capacity as the principal investigator for an IMLS grant enabling libraries to deploy their own community-scale wireless networks.

     So Don, I think we're going to hear from you on how libraries are supporting response and recovery in the COVID situation, and I think you're going to bring in examples from what must be one of the longest running shows of the COVID-19 period.

     >> NKEM OSUIGWE: Hello?

     >> MODERATOR: Hi, Nkem.  Has the connection -- I was going to bring in Don.  Are you able to hear us?

     >> NKEM OSUIGWE: Yes, I can hear you.

     >> MODERATOR: Okay.  Let's take Nkem whilst we've got the connection.  So, Don, we will come back to you.

     >> NKEM OSUIGWE: I will try not to rush too much, but I have to now that I have the --

     >> MODERATOR: Take your time, take your time.

     >> NKEM OSUIGWE: All right.  So I want to talk about access to information, how African libraries coped and then what we did and challenges that we were facing and possibilities.  And then actions that we have taken and what we hope to do. 

     So during the COVID-19 pandemic, at the height of it, because in Africa, it is -- we did shut down immediately.  And then I don't know why it is still here in (break in audio) as well as other parts of the world. 

     But when we started, African librarians started disseminating information about preventive measures even before the general lockdown across the entire continent.  And then during the lockdown, a few African libraries providing services, but mainly through the social media.  You know, serving as translation of COVID-19 information into different languages and then supporting remote teaching, learning and then research.

     We have drawn a survey to find out what was really happening then.  And from this survey, we found out that there are key areas that we need to deal with or that need to be dealt with as the COVID-19 has a new normal. 

     We found out that African librarians need functional emergency plans that will integrate how libraries can provide access to information even when the libraries are closed down.  Not just emergency plans of in the event of fire, you go to the exit, but what if the library does a shut for a long time.  What happens?

     So we are working on plans with libraries that (break in audio).  These are the things we can do even when we are not inside the library building.

     Then we also found out that there is need to improve the ICT internet infrastructure in African libraries to ensure that there are facilities for information access, even as everything goes online.

     Because we notice that the infrastructure for carrying out digital or online services is quite poor.  So we are working on that.  Then again, another thing that we found out in the survey is that we need to up-skill the competencies of African librarians to be able to provide access to information online.

     And then we also notice that the advocacy skills that we need to show off that so librarians can understand the issues at stake as pertains to internet and how to advocate for maybe better internet access.  And then how to advocate for revision of the library rule, digital inclusion. 

     Then we also notice there is need for libraries to advocate for policies that encourage open nets so there will be resources that they can access even if the library doors are closed.  Resources that -- e-resources that they can access.  Those are really the highlights of the next steps after our survey.

     And then I want to talk about taking action.  What are the realities, the challenges and possibilities? 

     Reality one, Africa is a continent, not a country.  Why this is coming up is that we found out that, you know, you want to do something with a group of people but because Africa is made up of different countries, there are different types of government in part, there are different policies, and you find out that you cannot now have a blanket solution because we are a continent, not a country.

     The challenge that we saw is the government policies that will enable increased access to libraries differ from country to country.  We found out that what are things in like a place like Cameroon and let's say Nigeria, they are all different. 

     And because of that, we now scheduled training for National Library Associations to understand what needs to be done, how to do it, and the standard with them to achieve.  Of course, with fingers crossed.  Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't work.

     And for the action taken, and we have been able to organize the first intervention which is more about internet governance and how to approach it, how to advocate for it, who to talk to and the issues at stake, so to speak. 

     And then the second reality, reality two is the cost of data is high in Africa.  The average price of one gigabyte of data is around 7.2% of the average monthly salary of Africans in different countries, give or take.  And this is way higher than many people can afford. 

     And that is the reason, you know, this challenge is there in Africa.  How do we get libraries to be favored, in quotes, in the provision by internet service providers.  How do we influence policy makers to recognize why does the subscription of libraries need to be subsidized?  Then again, how do we advocate for alternative routes for internet provision in African countries. 

     Possibilities, again, that we are looking at, again, more training for National Library Associations to advocate nationally because it is not something that we can do on the continent-wide level.  It is something that has to be brought down to the different countries so that they know what they are facing, you know, knowing the people in charge can now advocate for. 

     And then a position outlining the visible standards and codes for provision of internet in African libraries.  And then seeking websites or platforms that can offer offline possibilities to African libraries. 

     On the actions we are taking is that the next webinar will address the training aspects of this.  We have started work on standards for the entire continent.  Then we have reached an agreement with the Wiki Fund to provide the African libraries the opportunity at least to access Wikipedia even when offline, even when offline.  But it has been tied to a lot of activity to activity where the libraries will compete, you know, depending on how they perform.  Go home with the software, with the program that is the wiki fund so they can be able to account Wikipedia when offline. 

     And digital infrastructure in African libraries is minimal.  Again, you know, it is easier for somebody, let's say, in South Africa or libraries in South Africa that you can't compare the libraries in South Africa with the libraries in Chad.  That is why I started with the thought that Africa is a continent and not a country.  So, you know, these differences are there.  But generally the digital infrastructure is minimal. 

     So the challenge there is how do we influence the policy makers to recognize why this is important in African libraries, for African libraries.  For access to information, for access to education.  Why, why, why we need it.  So that is the number one challenge, how do we convince them? 

     And then again, and how do we reach out to internet service providers to see what they can do because we have seen what NTN has done in South Africa and Etel in Uganda.  And we are wondering, you know, we are working towards can you expand your scope of operations with this since there are libraries all over Africa that can use your services that you can help with this or that.  It is not easy now, but it is a possibility that we are looking at. 

     Then right now, the action we are taking on this is that we are running the African libraries to find out what is it that you really, really have?  What do you need?  Do you think your community can cope with this or that? 

     You know, because if you leave it open, general, you find out that you might be advocating for infrastructure that is not really needful in a community but that could serve another group of people better.

     So that is the point we are now to find out what is existing in your libraries.  That thing that is existing, how many people does this serve in terms of access?  Can you cope with all that?  Would you need more?  What do you need to do?  How many people do you think it will serve better?  That is the point we are at and that is what we are working on now.  Thank you very much.

     >> MODERATOR: Thank you, Nkem, that is helpful to have the view from Africa, a continent and not a country, as you say. 

     And with libraries getting out in front of situations before lockdown and getting information out there, we know we can play a role.  I'm sure we will come back to the points raised in the discussion. 

     I will go now to Don.  Don, I have pretty much introduced you.  And in the interest of time, we will go straight in and let's see your viewpoints on how libraries have responded to this crisis.

     >> DON MEANS: Thanks, Stuart.  Valensiya, also thank you.  Can it only be 12 months since we were together in Berlin?  It seems like years.

     But it's great to be back with the DC that does important work in raising awareness libraries play in providing public access.  There is no one that does it better.  It is part of their charter in the first place. 

     So, as Stuart said, we are the Gigabit Libraries Network.  It is about a 15-year-old open consortium.  And we are active in policy and also on a project level where we have raised funds to then support various projects.

     I also have an unstable internet connection, like Nkem, so I hope it is holding up.  I just upgraded my service so it's unstable. 

     We started fiber to the library in 2007 with the basic idea that the fastest, least expensive, most equitable way to deliver next generation broadband in every community was to run gigabit fiber to the 17,000 public libraries in the U.S.  We are still working on that. 

     Stuart mentioned the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition we helped co-found on the same principle that these are priority endpoints, public service points.  And also by connecting them you have extended the infrastructure deeper into communities and to markets, which allow last mile interconnections so that we can reach every home and business. 

     It is a double win, and it is a -- we would say it is a primary role for universal service funds is to connect libraries, schools and clinics and so forth.

     The roles that we saw, we came to libraries from that infrastructure perspective.  We have been working kind of community network since the 1980's actually.  But we saw three important roles we saw for libraries in that regard.  Kind of emerging digital roles over 10 years ago. 

     One was as early adopter.  People usually don't think of libraries as early technology adopters, but in fact in the context of the wider population they are.  Many people had their first experience of broadband at a library.  We were all doing dial-up and people said oh, you need to get this broadband stuff, you get a lot more bits.  They go, what are you talking about?  Well, they went to a library and experienced streaming media through the internet and go wow, that's cool, whatever that is, I want it at home. 

     So this role of libraries playing the role of demo site and showcase for really what are consumer products and services helped drive demand for those. 

     Now this is a point I'm trying to make that libraries foster expansion of services and commercial services and that the provider should understand that important role about libraries.  It is true since books themselves 100 years ago. 

     The other couple roles.  One was touched on, of course, relates to access to public information services.  So-called eGov.  And as more agencies in the U.S. are under budget constraints, they are pointed over to the library. 

     You know, you want to fill out a form for the vehicle department?  Go to the library and they will help you.  Well, it is a natural that libraries can be the human face of e-government which is faceless by definition.  We are sort of talking face to face here. 

     And the third role relates to disaster and crisis response.  And we thought about it then in terms of what we consider sort of normal disasters like floods and fires and so forth, you know, libraries playing a role of shelters and distribution points, information hubs.

     Well, we didn't anticipate the pandemic, but here it is.  It is a crisis, indeed.  And so that led us to early this year in March with the declaration of the pandemic to launch what Stuart referred to as libraries in response.  Or we set that up with the basic question of what is a library if the building is closed?

     It was just, you know, that okay, what do we do now?  And as has also been touched on, the demand for digital services has gone way up.  And at the same time, the availability of physical materials has dropped to nothing or just slightly.

     And so we ask this question, we started having weekly sessions which are ongoing.  I will put that in the chat.  We've had 26 sessions so far around this basic question of what is a library if the building is closed?

     We've had everybody, architects, librarians, advanced thinkers, we've had, you know, the founder of the internet, the father of the internet Vint Cerf, the head of the Federal Libraries Agency in the U.S., we've had librarians from Europe, from Africa, from the Americas talking about their various circumstances.  It is amazing how similar they are.  And the first point that we have covered in this is access.

     We divided it into really four topics.  Internet access, digital services, physical materials, and social infrastructure, which was not something -- it is obvious, but you have to think of it and we didn't think of it in the beginning until we had a presentation from a librarian in Denmark who reminded us the role that libraries played in social cohesion and community identity even. 

     So the first one is internet access which relates to the second one, digital services.  So in the U.S. before the pandemic, roughly one in three adults access the internet at a library in a public library.  That is like people 14 and over.  That is 80 million people.  It's a stunning number.  And most of them had some other source of internet access, but many did not, it was their sole source.

     But there are all kinds of reasons.  More comfortable.  The internet connection is stable and faster.  It's quiet.  All of the kinds of reasons that people go to the libraries.  For help, for example, is a really important one that's also been touched on today.  It's not just access, it's not just connectivity, but it's the enabling part, the support, the training and the kind of thing you get at libraries which librarians do.

     But internet access or access to digital services is kind of missed here in a lot of cases that the library's demand for digital services has gone up but so has the demand for internet access because you can't get to the library digital services without some kind of access. 

     So we have been busy in developing projects using wireless technologies, open frequencies like TDFlight Space which is just kind of emerging around the world (break in audio) around the walls of the building.  I may have dropped there for a second, but it looks like I'm back. 

     Talking about how libraries can build community scale networks using open source or spectrum frequencies like wi-fi and TV white space.  This is important both to extend access because as I gave the example that 80 million people have to go to one of those 17,000 facilities. 

     It's out view that every neighborhood should have a library outlet.  It doesn't have to be a full-time librarian and books and everything, but it can be some point of presence for the library to be accessible and proximate to everybody.  Everybody in the world should be close to some kind of digital services and information like that.  And rather than depend on a third-party, a carrier or someone like that, libraries can create these themselves if they acquire a little more skills and technologies get cheaper and easier to do.

     So we have done these series, these sessions every week, nearly every week since March.  And we have another one coming up tomorrow, and I put the link there, and you are welcome to check it out. 

     IFLA is hosting and recording these sessions.  They are posted on the pandemic response page there at gig libraries.net.  You are welcome to come.  It is no charge.  We're talking with some various universities, some library schools about incorporating these into professional development programs. 

     There is just a lot of interesting stuff that has come up.  It is very wide ranging and not necessarily just from the librarian perspective but from as broad as possible perspective.

     So we are also in the process of translating and transcribing the sessions to be searchable and indexable and more accessible to more people.  The libraries are leading, we think, in response, which was the thing we started with. 

     But now we're talking about recovery.  It may be a little early, but we don't think it is too early to be thinking through this pandemic to beyond the pandemic and what it is people are going to be needing besides expanded access. 

     But that is absolutely what people are going to need.  They needed it before.  They need it now, and they will need it after, if there is an after to this pandemic.

     So I think I will stop there.  And thank you again for having me on.  And check this out and join up.  It is open.  And good luck, IGF.

     >> MODERATOR: Thanks, Don.  Thanks.  And I like the simple sort of triple conception of access to connectivity, to wi-fi and sometimes beyond the buildings, access to digital services.  And then that social cohesion piece. 

     And I think if those are things that you are interested in, the archives of Don's recordings are well worth checking out.  So many different perspectives on that. 

     Now moving on quickly, and also on the west coast of the U.S. Mark Graham is the director of The Way Back Machine, the internet archive.  I would imagine that is a machine that everybody participating at the IGF has had occasion to use at some point. 

     Mark will give us an overview of the Internet Archive's work during COVID-19.  It has had a high profile and a good one and some great work there. 

     So he's going to talk about the work with books and the Wayback Machine, a little bit on the Turn All References Blue project with Wikipedia.  And then I think a very interesting piece we hope on controlled digital lending which had a very high profile during the pandemic.  Mark, over to you.

     >> MARK GRAHAM: Great, thank you very much.  I appreciate that, Stuart. 

     So it'd is good to be here.  I'm actually relatively new to IGF.  I went to an IGF forum many years ago in Brazil.  I was the co-founder of the Association for Progressive Communications, APC.org, which is a frequent IGF participant. 

     And Don, I'm also remembering 25 years ago crawling around in a school in San Francisco with John Gage of Sun Microsystems on the net day project initially beginning to get, at that time, co-ax at the school. 

     So I am the Director of the Wayback Machine at Internet Archive.  The Internet Archive is a 23-year-old non-profit based in San Francisco with the mission of universal access to all knowledge. 

     The organization was founded and is still run by Brewster Kale.  And we work in a variety of medium.  We work in books, music, software, movies, and the web.  And other medium as well.  78 records and, et cetera. 

     I'm going to focus today on our work around books and also the web.  So what do we do?  How do we do it? 

     We basically take analog information like a book, we digitize it, we preserve it, we make it available.  We also take digital information like web pages and preserve them and we make them available.

     We do these activities at scale.  So today that is millions of books.  And today we archive about 1.5 billion URLs every single day into the Wayback Machine.

     We make our books available through Archive.org and also through the OpenLibrary.org website.

     We make books available, if they are publicly accessible, anyone can take them and download them.  If it is a modern book, we make them available through a controlled digital lending.  The controlled digital lending is a process by which libraries are able to make books available in a digital format.

     We have been practicing controlled digital lending at the Internet Archive for more than nine years.  And there are now more than 80 libraries that participate with us in controlled digital lending, that use controlled digital lending of making books available. 

     In a nutshell, what it is about, it's about a library taking a book, a physical book that it owns, digitizing the book and then lending digital copies of that book to people with two primary controls -- to patrons with two primary controls.

     The first control is that they can only make one book available at a time based upon the number that they physically own.  So if I own two physical copies of a book, then I'm a library, I can lend out two digital versions at a given time. 

     And the second control is digital rights management.  So these books are encrypted with DRM, the same kind of DRM that's used by the standard e-book publishers. 

     So once again, controlled digital lending has been followed by Digital Archive for more than nine years and more than 80 different libraries participate in controlled digital lending.  If you want to learn more about that, ControlledDigitalLending.org.  There's a white paper and many other documents about that.

     Earlier this year on March 24, the Internet Archive launched the National Emergency Library which basically was a relaxation of the wait list of books available through controlled digital lending.

     And we did this to meet the needs of people at home with libraries closing all over the world in the face of COVID-19.  We saw the participation of people accessing books dramatically increase and we worked to meet their need.  And we got hundreds, if not thousands of responses back from teachers and students and medical professionals and others thanking us for the efforts. 

     During the process, we were sued by publishers.  The lawsuit will -- is currently scheduled to go to trial in November of next year.  And in the course of that, on June 16 we ended our National Emergency Library.  I should note the National Emergency Library, we announced it would be a temporary measure and during the time of the pandemic.  And so it was always our intention for the National Emergency Library to be a temporary thing.

     However, while we stopped the National Emergency Library, we continue to make books available for lending through controlled digital lending.  And we also continue to acquire and digitize books. 

     To accelerate this effort, we purchased one of the world's largest used bookstores last year called Better World Books.  And Better World Books is now wholly owned by a non-profit, so it is a non-profit used bookstore.  And we currently are taking books from the conveyor belts at Better World Books and putting them in shipping containers and shipping them to the Philippines where we have a factory setting where we digitize the books. 

     Prioritized based on books referenced in Wikipedia articles.  It also references earlier to other folks here about Wikipedia.  And we currently are digitizing several thousand books every day.  The shipments containers of books going from the U.S. to the Philippines. 

     We bring the books back here to the U.S. and we store them in our physical archives so that we can then lend out a copy, digital versions of them that we have physical copies of safety tucked away in our physical archives.

     So I have now mentioned this idea that a book can be referenced by Wikipedia, and wouldn't it be great if it was accessible via a click.  So that is the vision behind Turn All References Blue.  That anything -- I will blow it up a little bit -- anything anywhere online that references some other thing that could be available online we think should be available and it should be available via a click. 

     You shouldn't have to go search for it and then go to some other system and apply for a registration or something.  If you are reading a Wikipedia article and you see a reference to a journal article, you see a reference to a book, you see a reference to some other medium, maybe a news article, television news or radio, for example, we think all of those resources should be a click away.

     So we are working hard to do that.  For the last many years we have been archiving every single link that is added to each of the articles and all of the 300 Wikipedia sites worldwide.  That is millions and millions of URLs every single day if you count all the links that are referenced from all of those links.

     Because of this, we have been able to identify more than 12 million links that have gone bad that now return a 404 on a Wikipedia site and fixed them by editing those links and pointing them to the Wayback Machine where people can get the web page that had been there before the link went bad.

     We are now also adding links to books. We've now added more than 600,000 links to books this year.  More than 200,000 books so far. And my queue right now of books to link up is about 100,000 additional books that are waiting for our software to link up. 

     We are doing this right now in 46 different Wikipedia language editions.  And the vision is to pursue this on every single Wikipedia language edition in the world.  We are not by ourselves, but in partnership with many other entities around the world.  And I welcome the participation of more, especially National Libraries and other organizations that can help us acquire books in multiple languages so that we can digitize them and connect them up to Wikipedia articles worldwide.

     Every year we host a library leaders forum.  We just finished three 2-hour sessions of that the last few weeks.  And the videos for those I'm going to make available via a link as soon as I figure out how to copy and paste my links into the chat thing here, which I think I'll do after I finish talking.  I'm also going to add some links to some videos, the recent video of our founder Brewster Kale talking about the lawsuit.  And a recent video of Chris Freeland who is the head of our open libraries program.  The open libraries program is the program of libraries that participate in controlled digital lending.

     And, you know, I think we may be going a little over.  So I'm going to stop there and maybe leave more time during the open session for questions and answers.  Thank you very much.

     >> MODERATOR: Thanks, Mark.  And good luck as you explore the chat on the right-hand side and try to get the links in there because they are quite interesting. 

     I mean what I think we are getting to now is some things, really concrete things that have come out during the pandemic response.  And the work of the Internet Archive and the response it made with the emergency library really is one of those things.

     And I think why Mark's presentation is valuable is not only to draw our attention to that but also to draw our attention to the corresponding response it received and the environment in which it went into with the lawsuit against it.  And some of this sort of tension, tricky areas between trying to make more digital information available and then finding, you know, the restrictions that are there from the current policy and legal environments. 

     And our final intervention I think is going to touch on some of these issues as well.  Teresa Hackett is the program manager at Electric Information for Libraries, or EIFL.  Another cofounder of the Public Access Dynamic Coalition.  A tireless advocate for an international copyright law reform. 

     She's developed a lot of widely used resources for libraries in this area and she's done a lot of work on building the capacity of librarians to tackle what can be very tricky copyright issues. 

     So Teresa is going to look at access to knowledge is a public health issue in the pandemic and some of the issues that have emerged for libraries.  And she's going to talk a little bit, I think, about the library and publisher responses to COVID-19.  And then get us a bit closer to some of the concrete measures taken by governments in this area.  And then I think she's going to finish with a look at options under global intellectual property framework rules to help safeguard the central library service.  I will hand it over to you.

     >> THERESA HACKETT: Okay.  Thanks very much, Stuart.  And I'm going to try and do all that in 10 minutes.  I have got some slides so I'm going to share my screen, if that's okay.

     >> MODERATOR: Go for it.

     >> THERESA HACKETT: Yep.

     >> MODERATOR: I hope you are allowed.  If not, we will work it out.

     >> THERESA HACKETT: Can you see my screen?

     >> MODERATOR: Yes.

     >> THERESA HACKETT: Okay, great.  So thanks very much, Stuart, for the invitation to speak at this event. 

     It has been really interesting so far to hear all of the practical aspects.  And now I think Mark's presentation has led us quite neatly into some of the policy areas.  And particularly the areas of copyright and access to knowledge. 

     And I would like to acknowledge two of my copyright colleagues, Louise Villeroyal and Camille Francois from IFLA who have given me some ideas for putting this presentation together.  I will talk about access to knowledge in the pandemic.  Looking at access to knowledge as a public health issue.

     And I guess until now, we have thought about access to knowledge for education and research and the life-long learning and employment and health information and engaging citizen engagement. 

     But in the pandemic, what we have found is that access to knowledge has actually become a public health issue.

    Because if you are visiting your physical library or working in the library or handling library books, then this is a public health issue.  We know, for example, that there are some problems where you have books that are in quarantine.  Those that should be in quarantine for a certain number of days or hours.  And there is a lot of pressure on those books, especially textbooks when students need those books to do their exams.  So we know that there is some, you know, issues around quarantine. 

     So copyright law and copyright exceptions can facilitate social distancing.  So if, for example, your copyright law allows the library to make a copy of the book or the article or the journal that the user or the student wants to access and then they can send that, they can scan it, digitize it, and send an electronic copy to that person so that they don't have to come to the physical library to get that information, then copyright exceptions are facilitating social distancing and facilitating public health guidance by our public health officials to stop the spread of coronavirus.

     So some of the issues that emerged for libraries in terms of copyright are the issue of lending print books during the lockdown.  And that is usually done by what we know as controlled digital lending that Mark has just been talking about. 

     The other issue that has emerged is textbooks in electronic formats.  So there are very often no purchasing options for libraries to purchase e-textbooks.

     So the library has the physical textbook.  The university library has the book in their library.  The students can't get it because the library building is closed.  But at the same time, the library cannot purchase that electronic version of the textbook from the publisher because the publishers want to sell those books directly to the students or to the lecturers rather than the libraries.

     Connected with that, there are problems with the pricing models for e-books which can be very expensive.  And then, more generally, there has been issues with the provision of online education and learning and copyright use terms and licenses for e-resources.  And then the use of using -- the ability to use research tools like text and data mining that is very important in a pandemic.

     So looking now at some of the responses from the different stakeholder groups, there have been a number of responses from the library community.  And I give here just a couple of examples of different approaches. 

     One of the first responses was from ICOLC, the International Coalition of Library Consortia, that issued a statement back in March asking publishers for temporary relief in their licenses to help with the closure of libraries.  For example, waiving the limits on the number of simultaneous users that can access the e-resources and lifting restrictions on the photocopying and allowing the use of all of your copyrighted sections even if they are restricted in the license.

     the Association of Research Libraries in Europe called on the European Commission and Member States for a public interest defense that would support libraries and research in times of crisis. 

     Another European NGO, Communia, argued that the basic rights should be applied as a break on the exclusive rights, exclusive copyrights in exceptional situations like COVID.

     And then over in the U.S., library copyright specialists were reaffirming the role of fair use in supporting teaching and research.  So fair use has been helpful to libraries in the U.S. in adapting to this COVID situation.

     In addition, there have been a number of responses from Civil Society of which libraries are part of the coalition.  So there was an open letter in April calling on LIPO to take a stand so that IP systems are supported during the pandemic and encouraging Member States to use flexibilities in copyright law to support access to education and research in these times.

     And then there have been a number of pledges, open COVID pledges.  One led by Creative Comments, another by the Association for Learning Technology asking rights holders to make their content freely available during the pandemic times.

     Then publishers have also been responding in a variety of different ways.  So, for example, for home schooling, some publishers have made access to digital learning materials free of charge during the pandemic.  Other publishers have given permission for read aloud sessions from public libraries where this is not already permitted under copyright law, of course.

     In other cases, publishers have agreed with libraries to make certain library books available for research on a streamed basis. 

     And then other publishers have sent reminders that copyright law does still apply during the pandemic and that licenses are needed for certain activities, especially for working from home or in companies where their employees are sharing materials and a license may be needed for that. 

     And then in terms of higher education, there's also been a lot of activity.  Many publishers have responded so they reduced their digital licensing fees, or they provided content -- COVID-related content, access to COVID-related content for free or in some cases making their whole portfolio available. 

     They lifted restrictions on the concurrent users or remote access.  So ICOLC have been keeping a tracker of all the responses by publishers in the area of higher education.  So there is 112 publishers in the tracker. 

     What is interesting, we can see that already 50% of those concessions have expired.  So I put a screenshot on the screen there.  And it is just from one of the pages.

     So you can see that the publishers that are listed in dark color in black there where the concessions are still applying.  For all the other publishers, in these instances the concessions have expired. 

     Of the 50% that have not expired, some will be expiring at particular dates, maybe in December of this year, but most are to be determined.  So I think it is a sign of the changing times and the developing situation with regard to lockdowns and access to digital resources.

     Government is supposed to be responding, of course.  So at the beginning back in March we had 15 major countries wrote a letter to scholarly publishers asking for COVID publications and data to be immediately accessible to support public health. 

     UNESCO mobilized and is encouraging them to promote science and cooperation at this time.  The World Health Organization issued a resolution.  And one part of that resolution was asking for the removal of obstacles to universal equitable access to affordable health technologies consistent with the WTO TRIPS agreements or the agreements of trade-related Aspects of international property rights.

     The World Health Organization also developed the COVID-19 technology access tool which is a voluntary asking rights holders to voluntarily share their knowledge and IP to advance science and technologies for COVID. 

     I think what is interesting about that is that until now there have been no commitments made into the C-TAP by pharma, by the pharmaceutical industry.

     And then WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, has launched a policy tracker where they are keeping a track of all of these legislative and regulatory measures as well as voluntary actions by rights holders. 

     So then I thought it would be maybe also good to look at what binding government measures have happened and have taken place. 

     So we look first at the area of copyright.  I think the first country out of the blocks was Hungary in April.  In Hungary, the government issued a new decree easing copyright rules for the online use of education in an emergency.  I believe that some of those measures are being made more permanent.  And they are doing a fast implementation on Article 5, the article to do with online distance learning.

     And then also the government of Japan brought forward provisions for the use of material in online classes by one year.  So they were due to come into play next year and they have been brought forward.  And they have also offered to pay the copyright fees for the first academic year. 

     Australia is moving ahead with amendments to exceptions for education and library services and draft legislation is expected by the end of this year.  And the motivation in the case of Japan and Australia was that the need for change was highlighted by COVID.

     But I think what we can see from these three examples -- and they are the only examples that we have been able to find -- is that in most cases they are not initiating new developments, they are fast tracking developments that were already happening so bringing developments forward.

     So then maybe I thought it could be useful then to look at the patent side, another aspect of intellectual property rights.  Things are moving more fast in that area, maybe governments are moving forward into vaccines and so on. 

     Here we can see we've got seven governments have made resolutions or taken action specifically on patents during for COVID.  So it's a mix of resolutions or government use authorization or compulsory licenses. 

     And I think what was also interesting about this group is half of the countries are from the developed world.  And I think what we can see from both those examples on the copyright and on the patent side, that while there has been  a lot of declarations and high level resolutions and all this great rhetoric, it has actually not been matched about by any concrete action or not by a lot of concrete action at the national scale.  And so we have these aspirations but when it comes to the actual country, not that much has happened so far.

     That is what makes this initiative, this recent initiative interesting.  So at the WTO TRIPS Council meeting in October, India and South Africa made a joint proposal which is co-sponsored by Eswatini and Kenya.  And what the proposal is to have a waiver from certain TRIPs provisions for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19. 

     The provisions include copyright and related rights, patents, industrial designs and trade secrets.  So very important that copyright is part of that resolution or part of that proposal. 

     And the proposal is that it should be in place until widespread vaccination is in place globally and the majority of the world's population have developed immunity. 

     Now, this has been discussed in the TRIPs Council.  The TRIPs Council will reconvene before the end of the year and make a decision.  And then that decision will go to the ministerial conference for a decision. 

     And the motivation from South Africa when they were presenting the proposal at the TRIPs Council, was that nine months into the pandemic voluntary approaches have proven to be insufficient and in a global pandemic we need concrete action and we need a global solution.

     So another option available for governments in the pandemic is there is a very interesting provision in the TRIPs agreements called Security exception, Article 73.  And this states that nothing in the TRIPs agreement should prevent Member States from taking any actions that it considers necessary for its security interest in times of war and also in times of other emergency in international relations. 

     And so some of the examples that governments might want to -- measures that governments might want to take are a waiver from the implementation, application and enforcement of copyrights, which is similar to what the South Africa India are proposing in the TRIPs Council. 

     You could also take an indemnity against -- give indemnity from infringement claims during times of COVID and also to take up some measures dealing with competition, for example, to alleviate the problem of the e-book pricing that I mentioned at the beginning. 

     And importantly, or just a note to mention here that least developed countries can already do these things without having to avail of the security exception because least developed countries have their own general waiver of TRIPs which is until July 2021 next year.  And, in fact, right now an extension to that waiver is being discussed and negotiated at the WTO.  So LDCs already have policy space to do these things, and then other countries can invoke the Article 73.

     And then, finally, what is so interesting is to look at this in the context of everything else going on in COVID.  So we've had unprecedented government interventions in all areas of our lives that we would never would never have imagined until very recently.  So we've had interventions in real property law, so no rent increases and moratoriums on evictions.  There have been intervention in competition where supermarkets are allowed to collectively discuss supply chains to keep food on their shelves.  And there has been deep interventions in the area of civil rights with travel restrictions and business closures.

     So I guess the question is, is it now time for us as a library community to safeguard our essential library services and to put this on the map as well?

     So thank you, Stuart.  That is a very quick run-through.  And I'm happy to supply the slides.

     >> MODERATOR: Definitely some interesting slides in the chat.  I draw the panelists' attention to the chat if you are not looking at it.  Teresa, you raised a few questions there.  I've got a lot myself. 

     We've got about 15 minutes left, and I think it's important that we actually tackle a couple of questions that have come up from some of our participants. 

     And we do have one from Moustapha.  And Moustapha, you may have to qualify this a little bit for us.  I think it came in when Mark was speaking, I can't be sure. 

     But Mark, I will let you take it and see if you can pick it up.  But it's a question saying he wants to know the quality of projects that you are funding, is it related to online education?

     You can interpret that how you will, but maybe what are the online education elements of some of the stuff that you are working on?

     >> MARK GRAHAM: I also have to say in full disclosure, my wife, Dr. Lisa Petrettis, runs OERCommons.org which is one of the leading libraries for metadata about open educational resources. 

     So OER and education is really core to the mission of and practice of the Internet Archive.  In particular, one initiative between Internet Archive and the parent organization or OER Commons is the universal school library, recognizing the unique needs for students in America, K-12, the definition of school library which are being either shut down or destaffed at quite a rapid clip. 

     So yeah, I would say, you know, we make millions of books available.  If you go to OpenLibrary.org right now, you can see we have got them categorized by grade level, by subject matter, et cetera. 

     So absolutely.  Education and learning, life-long learning for students in school but throughout people's lives is a core part of the mission of the United Archive. 

     And I noted we recently have launched an alpha version of Scholar. 

     So scholar/qa.archive.org.  And we have more than 30 million open access journal articles there.  I don't mean just pointers to them.  I mean we actually have archived more than 30 million journal articles and PDFs that are available through the Wayback Machine. 

     And just this morning in response to an article, a research paper many of you may have read a couple of months ago about the disappearing online journals, there was an announcement by the directory of online of open access journals and DO -- of a consortium of organizations including the Internet Archive that have come together to specifically preserve journals from small publishers. 

     I could go on and on.  In the interest of time, I will stop here and note there are many links that I put in the chat.  And I'm always available, [email protected], for any questions from anyone.  Thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: Again, drawing people's attention to the chat.

     And also there's a great example in there from Russia from Maria, see if you can capture that because there is really good stuff in there about the Russian library's response. 

     Teresa is going to share her slides in some way, shape or form, we'll work out how to do that. 

     But there' a question that you might want to put to Teresa which is from Avis in Cameroon asking about sort of revisions of law, policy and regulation that enable the use of platforms for education. 

     I might narrow that.  I think maybe you could say something about the work that IFLER and IFLA and the other library organizations have done in terms of trying to find a standard on copyright exceptions and limitations.

     >> THERESA HACKETT: Yeah, sure.  So thanks, Stuart. 

     So I think it is very important to have policies in place and also to have laws in place.  And one of the areas that we have been working on globally is to ensure that every country has a copyright law that enables libraries to undertake basic activities and that there is a kind of a level playing field for libraries all around the world.

     And I think one thing that we have seen from the pandemic is that this -- the librarians all around the world in many different countries have been sort of frantically reading their copyright laws and delving deeply into the laws to see are we allow to do this?  What's the position?  Can we do this?  Do we need permission? 

     So it's really highlighted the importance of having a legal framework that supports these activities.  And some of the activities are really quite basic activities and some of them -- and it's just that they have become critical in COVID times.  Like the governments in Japan and in Hungary and in Australia have realized.  Because digital is normal, and why should I not be able to -- be prevented from using digital technologies? 

     So we are working together to -- with IFLA at the World Intellectual Property Organization so that we can have basic rules that will apply to libraries everywhere and that there be particularly regarding cross-border so that libraries can share resources when needed.  Especially research resources and unique resources that are not available locally.

     So that is something we are working on.  I'm not sure, Stuart, if that answers your question.

     >> MODERATOR: That is good.  And if you have links, do throw them into the chat. 

     We have got only a very short period of time left, and I want to finish with Valensiya in just a second.  But I do want to see if the panelists can do something very important and very quick for me. 

     If there was one policy change that you would want that could safeguard digital inclusion through access to information, as in this COVID-19 context, what would it be? 

     And you need to do it in one sentence.  So I would like to see this.  This is a function of us not having much time left.  So Nkem, I don't know if you can hear us.  Can you go on that one?

     >> NKEM OSUIGWE: Yes, I can hear you, thank you.

     >> MODERATOR: What one thing do you want to see?

     >> NKEM OSUIGWE: More access to information through libraries and libraries to have the infrastructure for people to access information even if the doors are closed.

     >> MODERATOR: Very good, I like it.  And, Don, I come to you next.

     >> DON MEANS: Sorry, Stuart, I just dropped, I didn't hear what you said.  I think you asked for a single action?

     >> MODERATOR: Single policy change you would like to see to secure digital inclusion in this COVID period.

     >> DON MEANS: I would like to see universal service.  Adopting this core value that everybody should have some type of basic level of access.  And that is public access.  In our view, that is the cheapest way to provide that.  It's not the best, but it is something to get you started or in a backup. 

     And so using funds from this huge telecom market, the tiny portion of that to provide access to everybody is a single best use of that and thing that can be done, I think.

     >> MODERATOR: Good stuff.  Thank you very much.  Mark?

     >> MARK GRAHAM: I would like to see the courts and governments around the world uphold the principles and practices of controlled digital lending, extending the role of libraries in the digital age. 

     And also, as noted by Teresa, address issues of e-books in particular, the general trend in which e-books cannot be purchased but only licensed, which is part of an overall movement that the lawsuit against controlled digital lending is really about.  Which is whether or not any of us, especially libraries, will be able to own books and journals and other materials or whether forever we will only be able to license them under strict conditions by select publishers in which the availability to the patrons can be severely limited or blocked completely.

     >> MODERATOR: And while I was going to basically use my one for that, I couldn't agree with you more as somebody who is now working very much with national purchasing of e-books for public libraries to see the prices being three times the price of a print book.  It is not sustainable so we need to take action.

     >> MARK GRAHAM: And only for a year.

     >> MODERATOR: Yeah, yeah, and then explode after 26 uses.  Thank you very much for the snap reactions.  Valensiya, very quickly, what is next for PAL-DC?

     Oh, sorry, Theresa, I didn't give you -- go on, Theresa.

     >> THERESA HACKETT: Can I have a snap reaction? 

     Support South Africa in the proposal at the WTO TRIPS Council.  I think that would be a great help in the pandemic.  And I also echo the e-book issue. 

     And I put a link in the chat there, there is a -- I will put it again because the UK librarians are organizing campaign on the e-textbook issue and I think it's got some very good interesting information there.

     >> MODERATOR: We've supported that through a statement in Ireland as well.  Valensiya, what is next for the DC-PAL?

     >> VALENSIYA DRESVYANNIKOVA:  The very immediate next steps would be, of course, be to take stock of everything discussed here and feed that into the following decision-making process. 

     We, of course, also look forward to finding out more about different countries' experiences with supporting inclusion in different countries and drawing lessons from that. 

     And just as a way of wrapping up the session, one of the outcomes would be to, indeed, summarize the policy advice that has been given and offered so far. 

     So this is the moment to sort of bring it all together and see if I got your opinions correctly.  In general, the key policy changes to support should include access to content, access to services, through the pandemic. 

     What you would need is improvements to the infrastructure, including public access and libraries.  Universal service, supporting the principles of universal service.  Potentially drawing on, where possible, funds from universal access of funds by telco, et cetera, et cetera. 

     And then we have the point regarding the need to build up sustainable models of access to digital content.  And that includes addressing the questions around controlled digital lending and getting engaged in available international and national processes such as the WIPO process as Theresa pointed out to stand for sustainable access to additional content.

     >> MODERATOR: That is pretty good.  And we look forward to seeing that codified and written down and taken forward and we will feed into the Dynamic Coalition meeting next week in the immediate short term. 

     So again, there's a fantastic, interesting piece of information from Russia in the chat there if you haven't seen that. 

     Thanks, everybody, for joining us.  There has been a lot of information here.  And we really (garbled audio).  Goodbye.   

 

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