18 April 2017

Meet The Team: Prof Charles Oppenheim

This is the first of a series of blog posts written by NKCC Consultants. Its a pleasure to introduce Professor Charles Oppenheim, Senior Consultant at NKCC.


“I was until 2009 Professor of Information Science and Head of the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University. I am currently a Visiting Professor at three UK Universities. I have not just been an academic though. I have been an information scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, and spent 12 years in the information industry, working for database producers and online hosts. I first got involved with intellectual property rights in my first job, as a patents information officer at Glaxo in 1970. It was there that I learned about both patents and trade marks. My involvement with copyright came somewhat later, in 1984, when I became Product Development Manager for an online host called Pergamon Infoline, long since vanished. It was here that I learned about copyright law and about negotiating licences, as my main responsibility was to negotiate such licences. I quickly realised that knowledge about all these topics amongst library and information personnel wasn’t that great. I published my first article about patent information in 1974, about trade mark searching in 1987, and on copyright and its impact on library work in 1989. I gave my first of many conference talks on these topics in 1977, and have been a regular on the library and information conference circuit ever since.

I have therefore been involved in, given talks on, and published on Intellectual Property Rights and other legal issues relevant to library and information work and to academic research for nearly 45 years. In that time I have published well over 500 journal articles, conference papers, reports and books on these topics.

I have been involved in advising Governments on these topics in various ways over the years. For many years I was a member of the Legal Advisory Board, a body that gave advice to the European Commission on copyright matters. I have been a member of the Library and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) since 2000. I have also been heavily involved in professional matters, becoming President of, and then an Honorary Fellow of, the Institute of Information Scientists, and subsequently became an Honorary Fellow of CILIP. I have been involved in numerous other professional associations, and have been on the organising committees of dozens of conferences.

I was first asked to do consultancy in these fields in the 1970s. However, I didn’t get into such consultancy in a significant way until I arrived at Strathclyde University in 1992 as a Professor there. Since then I have undertaken consultancy for individuals (especially authors), small businesses, commercial organisations, database producers, academic institutions, libraries, information brokers, Government Departments, health service providers, funding councils, libraries, museums and archives, scholarly societies, professional associations – and am involved in developing Green Party policy on Intellectual Property Rights. My proudest professional moments have, however, been my involvement in the Infotainers, a team of information scientists who performed Monty Python type shows for professional conferences between 1980 and 1990.”

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