Digital signatures and document supply – an investigation
Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 January, 2010
Like most universities we operate a document supply service. For articles from journals we’re required by copyright law to collect a signed form for each and every request from our customers; in our case a print off of a webpage. This isn’t an ideal situation since it means there’s generally a day between a request being placed and the signed form reaching my team – at which point we can place the request with the British Library.
So we’d like to explore moving to use digital signatures in some way. I’ve started making some initial enquiries with some contacts around the country, but thought it was probably worth blogging about it too. I suppose my questions at the moment are:
- What is the validity of digital signatures under law?
- Are there any kinds/types of digital signatures that aren’t acceptable?
- What is the best/most effective approach to take?
- What are the potential pitfalls and challenges (technological or otherwise?)
- How was it finally implemented/introduced to the community – for everyone or just those who wished it?
I know Cardiff and Plymouth at least are certainly at various stages of implementing this and so I’ve dropped a line to both of them; but whom else is heading down this path and what wisdom can they share?