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Transferring Records


Transferring your records to RCAHMS

Digital copies of field survey records and research reports created by SRP projects will be added to RCAHMS' collections and made available to the public, researchers and professionals via Canmore, RCAHMS' on-line database. This database contains details of around 250,000 archaeological sites, monuments, buildings and maritime sites in Scotland, together with an index to the drawings, manuscripts and photographs in the RCAHMS's collections. It is the official and most comprehensive public record of Scotland's archaeological, architectural and historical environment, and is added to daily. By contributing to the collections and database, SRP projects will play a valuable role in improving understanding and preservation of Scotland's heritage, now and for the future.

Before you begin your survey please read this document carefully because it describes the terms under which RCAHMS will accept your records and care for them in the future. Instructions on how to submit your digital records to RCAHMS collections using the form on the SRP website are contained in our online form guidance notes. RCAHMS has also prepared guidance notes on using CANMORE.

As volunteers, we appreciate that groups participating in SRP will commit a great deal of their own time and effort to the surveying of sites and the creation of associated survey records. In this document we describe the steps that RCAHMS will take to distribute and care for these records in perpetuity. We also outline the steps we require you to take in order for RCAHMS to meet its obligations. This will involve both parties signing agreements: this document is intended to help explain why these agreements are required and what they will mean for you and your group. We realise that the terms of transfer may raise concerns and questions. You will find answers to the key issues in the second part of this document, but if you have any further queries please contact us (email srp@rcahms.gov.uk or telephone 0131 662 1456).

Terms of transfer

  • In order to curate your SRP records appropriately we ask you to assign the intellectual property rights (i.e. the copyright) in the records to RCAHMS. To do this, the group, or an individual designated by the rest of the group, should sign an Assignation of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement in favour of RCAHMS.
  • RCAHMS will acknowledge your group or SRP project as the creator of these records when they are displayed on-line and in any publications produced by RCAHMS and SRP. We ask you to tell us how you wished to be acknowledged in your Project Design Form.
  • In recognition of your work, RCAHMS will confer a perpetual non-exclusive licence to all members of the group which will allow records created by the group to be used freely for study, research and publication. The licence will also allow for these records to be supplied to Sites and Monument Records (SMRs) or Historic Environment Records (HERs). Any use made of the material for publication and dissemination must acknowledge RCAHMS as the copyright owner.
  • We will send the assignation agreement and licence to you once we have received your completed project design form. They are not available on our website.
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RCAHMS' obligations

  • Your records will become part of RCAHMS' Collections, one of Scotland's National Collections, which is professionally managed by a team of archivists and conservators. Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure their long term care, preservation and accessibility, even as technology and file formats continue to develop and change.
  • RCAHMS will make digital copies of your records widely and freely available to researchers on-line via Canmore, and in the RCAHMS library.
  • As your material will be protected by copyright legislation from unauthorised use, RCAHMS will manage requests from researchers wishing to obtain copies of your records, or to use them in publications. Assigning rights to RCAHMS avoids us having to approach your group each time we receive such a request.
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Your obligations

  • The records which you deposit with RCAHMS must not contain any material which breaches copyright. This includes maps, plans or photographs from other sources which are still in copyright and whose owners have not given their permission for you or RCAHMS to publish them.

    This is particularly important if you intend to submit a survey report where you pull together evidence from various sources. In such cases, the following records may be included in your report:
    • Modern Ordnance Survey maps which have been issued by SRP for your project and which contain RCAHMS' Ordnance Survey Licence number;
    • Digital copies of maps from the National Library of Scotland's digital map library (including First Edition Ordnance Survey maps and General Roy's Military Map of Scotland);
    • Digital copies of old maps and photographs from the SCRAN website (including General Roy's Military Map of Scotland);
    • Copies of other maps, aerial photographs and documents which are out of copyright - but only where these have been copied from hard copy rather than downloaded from the internet.

    All sources must be properly referenced and copyright owners fully acknowledged – please see our document, Writing Reports, for further details.

    N.B. Your permission to use modern Ordnance Survey maps and material from the National Library of Scotland and SCRAN websites has been specially arranged by SRP, and only extends to reports created for your own use and for transfer to RCAHMS. If you wish to use this material for any other purpose you must seek permission from the copyright owners.

    Please check with us if you are unsure about the copyright status of any sources you may wish to use.

  • You must identify any material included in your records which you do not own copyright of.
  • Every member of your group must be made aware that the intellectual property rights of records created by the group will be transferred to RCAHMS and must consent to this.
  • The name or title under which you wish your material to be acknowledged must be agreed by all members of the group involved in its creation.
    • In most cases this will be the name of your SRP project (e.g. SRP Braemar).
    • If your project is being undertaken by members of a local history or archaeological society, you may wish to acknowledge the society (e.g. Haddington Local History Society).
    • If you are working alone, you may prefer to acknowledge yourself.
  • If you wish to publish records created by your project you must acknowledge RCHAMS as the copyright owner. The correct form of acknowledgement is '© RCAHMS'.
  • If you give copies of records created by your project to your local SMR or HER you must tell them that RCHAMS is the copyright owner and ask them to acknowledge this if they make the records available to researchers.
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Key issues and questions

  • What are intellectual property rights?

Intellectual property rights are defined in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. In simple terms, the Act recognises that people have rights over work that they create, whether it is a piece of art, a photograph, a piece of writing, or an idea. It says that people have a right to be acknowledged for any works they have created and defines how long this right should last - different terms apply to different types of records, created at different times. Works cannot legally be copied without the consent of the owner of these rights.

  • Why does RCAHMS want rights to the records that I have created?

This makes it much easier for RCAHMS to care for the records in the long-term and make them available for others to use, both now and in the future.

Original material that you produce during your SRP project is your copyright. This includes digital photos, scans of your own plans and sketches, and written reports. When RCAHMS makes this information available via the Internet it is effectively publishing it. In order to publish material in any format (including digitally), we must first have permission from the copyright owners to do so.

While copyright of every original piece of material (i.e. each photograph, each plan etc) belongs to the person who has created it, SRP projects involve much group work and identifying each unique portion may prove personally and legally difficult. This problem will be compounded in the future as groups may cease to exist and members may lose contact: if we cannot trace copyright owners in the future, this will severely restrict the uses which can be made of your records.

  • Why should RCHAMS benefit from all the hard work that I have done?

RCAHMS will not benefit materially from the transfer of rights and will not prevent the group or group members from using the records they have created. The transfer agreement is very broad-based and is intended to cover as many likely uses as possible (see below for full details).

By transferring the rights in your records, RCAHMS can accept responsibility for curating your records in perpetuity and ensuring their long-term accessibility. It will also make them available to a wide audience and respond to any requests to copy and distribute copies to third parties.

  • Does our assignation have to be signed by all members of our group?

Ideally it should be signed by everyone who has participated in the project and in the creation of records. Alternatively, you may find it easier to nominate one or two individuals to sign the assignation on behalf of the group - but this will only be legal if everyone consents to this arrangement and it is the responsibility of the group to gain this consent.

  • Can a group member sign his or her work?

Yes, if they wish, but the assignation must also be signed. Do also bear in mind that it would only be appropriate for individuals to sign a piece of work if it was wholly their own individual work.

  • Will our work be acknowledged by RCAHMS?

Yes, although RCAHMS will own the copyright of the records you created, it will acknowledge your group as the creator in any future publication of the work - this includes copies which will be accessed via Canmore. In order for us to do this, it is important that the name under which your work is acknowledged is agreed by all members of the group and reflects the group involvement. In most cases this will be the name of your group or your SRP project. It is the responsibility of the group to gain this agreement, ideally in writing.

  • What will RCAHMS' license allow us to do with the records which we created?

RCAHMS will confer a perpetual non-exclusive licence to all members of the group which will allow records created by the group to be used freely for study, research and publication. The licence will also allow for these records to be supplied to Sites and Monument Records (SMRs) or Historic Environment Records (HERs). In all cases, the records must be used with appropriate attribution.

'Perpetual' means that the license will last forever.

'Non-exclusive' means that RCAHMS retains the right to grant licenses to anyone. N.B. The license does not permit your group or members of your group to issue licenses to others.'Publication' includes

  • Publishing a free information leaflet or a book
  • Publishing an information leaflet or a book that people would pay for
  • Publishing material on your group website, or on a member's personal website
  • Creating a permanent display for the public - e.g. notice-board or information panel
  • Giving copies of records to friends or colleagues
  • Using material in presentations to a local society or at a conference, for example

This list is not exhaustive - if you are unclear whether an intended use is covered under the terms of the agreement, please contact us to check.

In all your publications please remember that you should only include your material and that which you have copyright permission to use. The license which RCAHMS grants will only apply to the records which you have created and does not extend to the use of third party material such as digital records from the National Library of Scotland, SCRAN and other websites, or to modern Ordnance Survey mapping. If you wish to make further use of this material, you must contact the copyright owners for permission.

'With appropriate attribution' means that if you publish the records or distribute them in other ways, you must acknowledge RCHAMS as the copyright owner. N.B. If you give copies of the records to your local SMR or HER you must also inform them that RCAHMS is the copyright owner and ask them to acknowledge appropriately.

  • Will we have to ask RCAHMS every time we wish to use the records?

No, the license permits you to use the records without consulting RCAHMS.

  • Can I still enter my photographs in photographic competitions?

Yes, you may. If they were to be published by the competition organisers, they should acknowledge RCAHMS as the copyright owner and you as the creator.

  • Will RCAHMS charge us for using the records?

No, the only time that charges may be incurred is if you lose your copy of the record(s) you wish to use and have to request a copy from RCAHMS. In this instance, you would have to pay only for the cost involved in making the copy.

  • What if I have already given copies of our records to someone who is not a member of our group?

Up to the point of assignation, rights in your group's records are not owned by RCAHMS and you can do what you wish with them.  You should however, be careful not to distribute work which contains parts belonging to others, as that would not be legal.  After assignation, we give you the right to publications - a publication in legal terms is a distribution of a copy.  Giving to a friend or colleague is a type of publication since you are giving them a copy to read and enjoy but this does not give rights to the recipient for future distribution, sale or publication.

N.B. the assignation agreement refers only to the digital material which you transfer to RCAHMS. So, copyright in your original survey plans and sketches will not be affected.

  • What about records that we display on our project pages?

The transfer agreement and license only relate to material which is to be transferred to Canmore (thereby becoming part of RCAHMS' collections). Images and other information posted on the project pages remain your/the groups' copyright.

  • I would like to participate in SRP, but I am not willing to transfer rights in the records I create to RCAHMS.

Contact the SRP team to discuss your concerns. If you are still not happy after discussing this with us, we will try to find an alternative way for your records to be transferred to RCAHMS. If we are not able to reach a suitable arrangement you can still participate in SRP, without transferring your records to RCAHMS.

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