Report from IGF 2010: Libraries on the agenda

12 Nov 2010

For the first time, EIFL co-organized a workshop at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2010 along with OER-Brazil, with the goal of raising the awareness of the key role that libraries play in ensuring access to knowledge. IGF is an important policy forum with a mandate from the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that aims to influence Internet-related public policy issues through a multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent approach.

The IGF 2010 was held September 14 -1 7 in Vilnius, Lithuania  and was attended by more than 1400 people, along with a record breaking 600+ remote participants (people who attended via the internet). Major stakeholders of internet governance including civil society groups, policy makers, intergovernmental organizations, government officials and industry addressed the following six themes at workshops and plenary sessions:

  • Managing critical Internet resources
  • Security, openness and privacy
  • Access and diversity
  • Internet governance for development (IG4D)
  • Emerging issues: cloud computing
  • Taking stock of Internet governance and the way forward

Through our workshop, "Why we need an Open Web: Open Knowledge Governance for Innovation", and EIFL staff contributions during sessions throughout the conference, we explained the role of libraries in the knowledge society and communicated the successes that libraries have had in influencing policy. Above all, we demonstrated that libraries are well positioned to provide access to knowledge and are thereby contributing to sustainable economic and social development.

We had a great lineup of workshop speakers who addressed the many facets of the open web, including open standards, open source, open access, open data, open science, and open educational resources, and the role of libraries in promoting the open web.


Our workshop was moderated by Stuart Hamilton,Senior Policy Advisor at IFLA, and remotely moderated by Teresa Hackett, EIFL-IP Programme Manager. The speakers were:

  • Emilija Banionyte, Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (LMBA)
  • Eddan Katz, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
  • Iryna Kuchma, EIFL
  • Julia Mortyakova, The Right to Research Coalition, SPARC
  • John Wilbanks, Creative Commons , who joined live from SF

Workshop presentations and video of entire workshop available here.


Our workshop concluded with the following recommendations:

  • Require open access to publicly funded scientific research.
  • Commit to public domain status for publicly funded data.
  • Start tracking and rewarding researchers who share their research results in open articles, and share open data, materials, and tools.
  • Increase funding for library resources and new training for librarians
  • Commit to the advancement and increased usage of open educational resources
  • At the international level, the World Intellectual Property Organisation should advance discussion on copyright exceptions and limitations
  • Consider a patent policy that does not hinder the process of open innovations.
  • Encourage researchers and students to publish in open access journals, and self-archive in open access repositories.
  • Encourage libraries to set up open access repositories, help researchers and students to self-archive, help to publish open access journals and create open educational resources, help in data curation and sharing.

EIFL Interventions during plenary session and workshops

EIFL staff attended plenary sessions and many workshops at IGF. Below are brief summaries of our contributions.

1) Teresa Hackett prepared remarks for the “Security, Openness and Privacy” session, but she was not called upon to speak. Here is a brief summary of her statement. Teresa noted the importance of having a global legal framework in order to allow people to share knowledge thereby stimulating innovation and economic development. She also stressed the urgency of the issue as we are seeing controls over information expanding and more restrictions on access and use of digital content. These issues are particularly important for libraries because they serve a public interest function and even more so for libraries in developing countries where they provide critical access to learning resources.

2) At the “Internet Governance in Africa: Impact on Africa” workshop, Iryna Kuchma advocated for national and regional policy makers to introduce policies that require open access to publicly funded research results.

4) At the “Internet and FOSS: Applications and Challenges in Africa” workshop, we shared the importance of the FOSS community and libraries in Africa working together as many libraries have implemented FOSS digital library solutions. Together they could develop strategies on how to encourage policy makers to support the use of FOSS.

5) In the workshop, “Digital Inclusion: reaching the most socially excluded people in the society”, Rima Kupryte commented on the important role that public libraries play in serving communities through a variety of services and urged governments not to forget public libraries as important stakeholders and requested that they provide more financial resources to enhance public library services. This contribution was noted by the Chair of the session and the importance of public libraries was reported to the plenary session on “Access and Diversity.” 

6) At “Openness: towards digital copyright revolution and constant monitoring?”, Teresa Hackett commented on the strong international copyright protections that exists for print and digital material, and updated participants on current discussions at WIPO on exceptions and limitations in favour of users of copyrighted content, including a proposal for an international treaty for blind, visually impaired and other reading disabled persons.