Little Orphan Annie Manuscript

For whatever reason, I am having a difficult time understanding Orphan Works in a comprehensive way.  I get it that they are works in which the owner of the copyright cannot be determined or works for which the owner of the copyright cannot be contacted, but I am trying to find real examples of orphan work to help boil it into something I might encounter.

To get a better picture, I checked out the University of Michigan’s Orphan Works project to better understand just what an orphan could be, but the orphan work candidate list did not populate when I clicked on the link.  I found on Tech Dirt that 95% of newspaper articles written prior to 1912 are orphans.   Exploring this Duke University Law project proposal on the subject helped me to understand the barriers researchers could face when exploring a subject heavily dealt with using orphan works (in this proposal, the example was research on a Native American Activists), but also that orphan films are representative of a large portion of America’s film culture.

Maybe I am thinking about this with the wrong perspective here, but instead of focusing on the strategies needed to search as best and as legally as possible for the owner of an orphaned work, I am more just wondering how these works truly become ‘orphaned.’  And are there ever recent texts or creations that fall into this orphan category, or are these orphaned docs mainly from a time frame of the pre-1912 newspaper articles mentioned above?

Either way, I am really looking forward to hearing more tomorrow about how archivists deal with this issue of orphan works, the accession of them and the management of them as researchers explore them in the archive.

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