Comment scraped into Arcturus
Owen Stephens says:
I’m not sure if you are still looking for answers on this, and if so what answers you are looking for?
A brief summary of my knowledge, although I suspect you’ve gathered all this by now:
The BL has never (afaik) offered electronic delivery of documents without DRM. This service has always been called ‘SED’ (Secure Electronic Delivery). It was originally implemented using Adobe DRM (eventually Digital Editions, something else earlier I think), and this year has been moving/moved to using a new system called FileOpen.
My experience was that librarians did raise many of the concerns that you raise here when SED was first introduced (in 2005), and many libraries did not implement to start with because of DRM issues (sometimes principle, more often practical in my experience)
However, in the end I think the advantages of offering SED to users overcame any initial reservations about it.
In terms of getting more information on this I’d recommend asking questions on the JISCMail LIS-ILL list – I think this is where you’d get more detailed and expert answers – https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=LIS-ILL
Owen is in the Library Information Science area, and this is very useful, thanks.
I am interested to know that there were concerns. I wonder how many libraries raised this with their institution as a matter of academic freedom.
You say “I think the advantages of offering SED to users overcame any initial reservations about it.” I and Henry see no advantages. We see a pile of disadvantages. The BL is offering this to named academics who can presumably be trusted. If they can’t they can be brought to book, one by one. There is absolutely no advantage to the reader.
Note that Owen uses the current term “user” (sometimes “enduser”). This is not the “reader” who is a forgotten species; it is normally the librarian or purchasing officer. The conflation of user with reader is a serious issue.