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VRA Bulletin

Intellectual Property Law

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Information As Capital: The Commodification Of Archives And Library Labor, Jasmine E. Burns Oct 2018

Information As Capital: The Commodification Of Archives And Library Labor, Jasmine E. Burns

VRA Bulletin

This paper explores the commodification of archival information through the exploitation of library labor related to the ongoing management, preservation, description, and digitization of unique and rare materials. Through this discussion, the author highlights the cultural, social, and economic factors that play a central role in creating an ideal environment for the sale and distribution of public information by commercial vendors. The result of this commodification is a reclassification of library labor from what Marx defines as “unproductive” to “productive” labor, which the author demonstrates through a case study at her own institution. Finally, the author provides recommendations for maintaining ...