29.05.2006 -

Advocacy for access to knowledge: International seminar on copyright and libraries in Kiev

End of last week, the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine, played host to experts from across the region at an international seminar on the role of libraries and access to knowledge, organized with the support of UNESCO's Information for All Programme (IFAP).

Thirty specialist librarians from twenty-five countries debated how copyright law impacts on access to information and knowledge, especially in the digital age and discussed policies and strategies to safeguard future access to our cultural and scientific heritage.


Access to knowledge is essential for the functioning of a healthy and democratic society. Libraries are conduits that enable all members of the community to benefit from global information resources, ideas and opinions. However legal and technological restrictions on the sharing and re-use of content over the last decade have restricted library services.


"Librarians must defend the interests of students, researchers and the general public who use the library. We must ensure that copyright is an enabler of access to knowledge, not a barrier. That is what this seminar is about", says Teresa Hackett, Project Manager eIFL-IP.


Organised by Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL.net) and local partner Informatio Consortium, the event is supported by UNESCO's Information for All Programme . High level speakers from Egypt, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Ukraine and the UK shared their expertise with participants in what was a lively two days of learning and debate.


"We are delighted that eIFL.net chose to hold this seminar in Ukraine", said Iryna Kuchma of the International Renaissance Foundation which runs a programme on Access to Knowledge . "There is a growing international movement for Access to Knowledge (A2K) which is pushing for changes to the global intellectual property system at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It is such an important issue and librarians have a key role to play", continued Kuchma.


Fair access to information for all is essential to nurture education and stimulate innovation. This seminar is the first step to mobilise a network of library copyright experts in the region.

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