30 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 292 2017 From the outset, the idea behind the OWP was to create a process that was accurate and scalable, and which would reduce the uncertainty about a work’s orphan status to a sufficiently reasonable degree as to allow us to announce the work as a potential orphan. Core to this process was the idea that multiple individuals would review every book, checking first to see if it was in print and/or for sale, and then checking various sites to see if any contact information on the author, publisher, or estate could be located. Following documented workflows, the investigators would reasonably exhaust the avenues available to them, searching to what we believed was a sufficiently diligent point such that a reasonable user might feel comfortable using the work without permission from a rights holder. After achieving this level of confidence, the investigator reports were checked against each other via automation, and the results were used to generate a list of potential orphan works. This list would be made public with the idea that presumptive rights holders could identify books that were mischaracterized as orphans by the process. Even though the process was ostensibly designed to respond to errors in the investigation process, it was ultimately the scope of some of these mischaracterizations that led to the end of the OWP. Failure to Communicate The OWP was a large and complicated endeavor, involving many library staff at many levels of the organization. It is beyond the scope of this essay to engage with the mechanics of how things ended up going awry, and while there were many points of failure in the process I only feel competent to focus upon my own. For my part, I never fully expressed the agency I needed to express to successfully complete my role. I was both over- and under-responsible for certain decisions. I allowed my belief in the established process to override issues I saw in the implementation of the process. For example, it became clear to me that different on-the-ground investigators had varying levels of commitment to and expertise in
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