The U.S. Copyright Office has the largest collection of copyright records in the world. Members of the public seek out these records to find copyright owners and to get copies of completed and in-process registration records, recordation documents, and registration deposits. Because many of these records pertain to works under copyright protection, it is vital that the Office provide accurate and timely data. The Office is undertaking a holistic review of all of its public records and how to best provide access to those records.
The Office is in the process of transforming its historical records. We are converting the extensive, paper-based pre-1978 entries into digital format for improved public access, enhanced online search capabilities, and continued record preservation. As part of these overall efforts, the Office has launched a proof of concept Virtual Card Catalog that provides public access to images of the entire Copyright Card Catalog from 1870 through 1977. Additionally, the Office is working towards publishing as many additional historical records online as possible (including record books), which currently are physically housed in the Copyright Records Public Reading Room.
Additionally, the Office is transferring many of its records from legacy systems and making them more interactive and available. The Office is defining the new data elements and structure, which is intertwined with other modernization efforts such as the Enterprise Copyright System.