Today, data repositories have been divided into at least three institutions. They are museums, archives, and libraries. J. Trant has defined these as “Museums most often have unique collections. Rarity and preciousness remain key to the attraction of their objects; it gives them their aura… Museum collections protect and reserve. Contrast this with public lending libraries, grounded in access and in public literacy. Their goal is to make materials available; their collections are predominantly books, printed in many copies, inexpensively produced, often weeded regularly. Archives consist of items that are not generally intrinsically valuable but essential as evidence, especially in context.” (http://www.archimuse.com/papers/trantConvergence0908-final.pdf).
As we explore the 21st century, we need to realize that the library is composed of paper and digital formats. The digital books started off as public domain paper documents. On the Internet’s predecessor, Arpanet, Michael Hart created the oldest and largest digital library in 1971. He named it Project Gutenberg. It was going to contain all public domain books in electronic format for free to anyone who wanted to download them and read them (https://archive.org/details/gutenberg&tab=collection ). “Its goal, formulated by Mr. Hart, was “to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books” and, by making books available to computer users at no cost, “to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/business/michael-hart-a-pioneer-of-e-books-dies-at-64.html?_r=0). This digital library now houses more than 30,000 books in 60 languages. The categories for this library are: “light literature,” “heavy literature” and reference works to the general reader. It also contains a few copyrighted books that are reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Ann Gilliland, one of the professors of the “Copyright for Educators & Librarians Course” stated that, “Material that is not in copyright, and or that is not copyrightable, and is free to use, is in the public domain” (Duke University, Emory University & The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).