No!!!!! The cry rose up from record offices and other archives across the land and emails and tweets flew, as archivists took in the message. On 23 April Tim Padfield, copyright expert at the National Archives, announced via the archives-nra mailing list that he would be retiring in May.
Why were we concerned? Because Tim Padfield has played a vital role in helping archivists cope with and influence changes in copyright law. In his essential textbook, he has explained the complexities of the legal situation, enabling archivists to make effective and informed decisions and understand any risks that are taken. He has lobbied for changes to the law, taught workshops, kept the profession informed via email, and offered help with individual problems. I feel that my own awareness and understanding of copyright issues would be much poorer without years of leafing through successive editions of Tim’s book and reading his helpful archives-nra emails. Fittingly the Archives and Records Association have just voted to make him an Honorary Life Member.
It’s good to add that Tim will continue to be involved: he’ll represent the ARA in lobbying nationally and internationally and will prepare a new edition of the book once there is more certainty about recent changes to the law. That’s good news! We (and our users) need all the help we can get in navigating the complex and everchanging world of copyright law.