Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What does that little red sign mean?

Researchers familiar with our Virtual Vietnam Archive have probably seen their fair share of the “Ghostbusters” like sign above and many have probably wondered what that sign really means.

The red sign means that a document is not available online. Why is it not available some might ask? There are two reasons for seeing the dreaded red sign. One, the document is copyrighted. Due to the stipulations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, copyrighted documents can be digitized as a form of preservation, but can not be redistributed in that format. This stipulation means that while we can scan the document to PDF or electronic form, we can not redistribute the electronic version over the internet or by burning it to a CD and giving it to someone else. Providing electronic versions of copyrighted documents to a third party constitutes a violation of the copyright law.

The second reason for seeing the little red sign is that the material in question has not been digitized yet. Many items are difficult and time consuming to digitize, video and microfilm are primary examples, or may be too fragile to digitize. Because these materials take so long to digitize, we create documents for them in the virtual archive so they are accessible via reference request.

The real issue out of all the red sign business is how do I get a copy of those materials? For paper documents you can request a copy be mailed to you. Send us a Reference Request from our web page with a list of the item numbers and item titles and we will make photocopies of the documents and mail them to your home. For videos and photographs we can make copies of the materials, but only if they are not copyrighted. If the videos and photos are copyrighted you will have to order copies of them from the copyright owner. Reproduction and postage fees do apply for reproduction requests. See our price list for the current charges.

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