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Posts Tagged ‘academic library’

Boston Marathon Bombings

April 17, 2013 2 comments

Hello all.  I just wanted to take a moment to let those of you who don’t follow me on twitter or facebook know that I and my loved ones are safe, although a student who goes to the university I am an academic librarian at is one of the (currently) three dead.  My medical library serves the medical school that is affiliated with one of the Boston hospitals caring for the victims, and we also serve as the medical library for that hospital.  Today is my first day back at work after my long weekend (which was pre-scheduled for Marathon Monday).  Things are very subdued on-campus.  My morning commute had a side of national guardsmen and extra police presence as I commute directly through part of the area that was put on lock-down after the bombings.

I am full of mixed emotions.  I am incredibly grateful that myself and my loved ones are safe, but I am also full of empathy for everyone who cannot say that.  I am angry that someone would attack a bunch of innocent people on a day that is about so many positive things.  The Boston Marathon is about athleticism, cheering on the accomplishments of others, and fortitude.  But it also takes place on Patriot’s Day.  Patriot’s Day is celebrated in Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin to commemorate the first battle of the American Revolutionary War.  It celebrates our freedom, and in Boston, it’s about celebrating being the birthplace of our nation.  And I hope that the people of Boston won’t let the events of Monday ruin our celebrations in the years to come.  You defeat terrorism by refusing to be terrorized.  My boyfriend and I have already made a pact that next year we are going to the marathon and we are cheering our guts out.  In the meantime, I am just continuing to live my life and trying to do whatever small part I can to support those who have much tougher rows to hoe.

If your heart has been touched by what has occurred in my city, I ask you not to pray, but to do something.  If you can afford it, donate to the official One Fund set up by Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino.  It is a verified safe way to get the funds where they will reach those in need.  If you can’t afford to donate money and are close by, donate blood. Or donate blood where you are in honor of the event.  If you can’t do either of those things, or even if you do those things, then please show support in other ways.  Express support online, offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.  Try not to let anyone fall through the cracks.  Let those around you know that somebody cares.

 

Boston Library Consortium Networking Day 2013: Strategic Thinking about Copyright for Libraries in a Digital Environment presented by Kevin Smith, J.D.

This week I went to the annual networking day for the Boston Library Consortium, an association of 17 academic and research libraries working together to provide better information to our patrons.

The speaker this year was Kevin Smith, J.D., a lawyer librarian (yes, those exist) who is an expert in copyright law for libraries.  He works at Duke University and also writes a widely regarded blog on scholarly communication.  The following are my notes from his presentation entitled “Strategic Thinking about Copyright for Libraries in a Digital Environment.”  Please feel free to ask me for any clarifications (to the best of my ability) in the comments.

  • When we open a library and let the public in, we are taking risk. We plan and mitigate for them [risks]. Copyright should be no different. It’s not all or nothing.
  • Digital environment has rewards
    • opportunity to create new knowledge
    • new ways to reach community
  • Think about copyright in terms of the mission of your organization
  • In the past 5 years, there’ve been an unprecedented number of lawsuits [against libraries regarding copyright]. So far, libraries have won all of them.
  • Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley
    • doctrine of first sale applies to any material manufactured with consent of owner in the US [ie it doesn’t apply to pirated copies]
    • this leaves the status quo in place
    • Courts like libraries. They understand and appreciate what libraries do.
    • Library Copyright Alliance
    • copyright cuts across partisan lines
  • New Challenges: MOOCs and mass digitization
  • Author’s Guild vs. Hathi Trust
    • AG argued that what HT was doing with the scans, not the making of the scans themselves, was what was wrong
    • AG argued that libraries shouldn’t be allowed to rely on fair use
    • Judge said no, libraries can rely on fair use
    • Judge said fair use can support a mass digitization project
    • Is it fair use to digitize for greater access? We don’t know yet/it depends
    • Courts like transformative use
    • purpose –> even if the work itself isn’t change, its purpose is now for a different audience
    • Judge said these instances are transformative:
      • indexing
      • preservation
      • access for persons with disabilities
  • Strategy for Mass Digitization
    • recognize some material is public domain
    • seek permission from prominent or large-scale rights holders
      • people who are most likely to object and are possible to find
      • watchfile –> writers, authors, and their copyright holders
    • rely on transformative fair use
      • improve the context of the transformation (frame it)
      • fair use supports good library practice and good pedagogy (teaching)
    • have a “talk to” policy
      • a talk to policy is not a take down policy
      • you can learn a lot from people who originally call angry
  • GSU and UCLA
    • 70 of 75 excerpts on ereserve were deemed fair use
    • strict length limit of 10% or 1 chapter, whichever is less, was used
    • if we’re within limit, the subsequent semester rule (ereserves can’t be duplicated from one semester to the next) is impractical and unnecessary
  • non-transformative fair use
    • not clear that new form of access is transformative
    • ereserves are generally not viewed as transformative
    • address with context and creativity
    • It doesn’t have to be transformative to be fair use. It helps but isn’t necessary.
    • 4 factors of fair use
      • purpose
        • usually in favor of libraries
      • nature
        • usually in favor of libraries
      • decidedly small
        • can go either way
      • impact on market of original
        • This usually weighs against as long as holder is providing way to get license for digital use. If there is no way to get a license then it weighs against the copyright holder.
  • Strategy for eReserves
    • balance forms of access
      • having all the readings available digitally looks bad
      • balance purchases, licenses, and fair use
    • for fair use, stick to small portions
      • 10% isn’t the law, but it’s a good rule of thumb
    • always keep course site closed
    • be creative
      • think about what makes your site a unique exercise in pedagogy
    • seek permission when larger excerpt is needed
  • Strategy for Streamed Videos
    • almost anything shown in face to face classroom is legal
    • students are not a market that rights holder is allowed to exploit
    • look for ways to enhance the case
      • works that are unavailable
      • works where it’s difficult to contact rights holder
      • special pedagogical needs ie language instruction
  • Strategy for MOOCs
    • two separate MOOC tracks:
      • teaching content
      • course readings
    • teaching content
      • clearly transformative fair use but it’s more limited
      • be as obvious about transformative use as possible
      • link to original when possible
      • seek permission
      • Remember creative commons is a form of permission. Use creative commons when possible. For example, if it can be illustrated with any picture of a tomato, find a creative commons one.
    • course readings
      • when seeking permissions, talk to the marketing guys! MOOCs are a great marketing opportunity
      • MOOCs are new and are a huge opportunity
      • remind faculty of open access options, such as putting their author’s final draft into the institutional repository
  • Conclusion
    • balance risk with reward
    • If we don’t take at least some risks, we won’t get any rewards
    • Avoid extremes
  • Q and A
    • Tiered pricing has no legal support for academic use
    • fair use argument is harder to make the larger the scale. ie if it’s for a 30,000 person MOOC as opposed to a 25 person face to face class.
    • copyright law defines fair use for educational purposes as “teaching activities in classroom or similar space normally dedicated to instruction”
    • Dissertations are a work of public scholarship. The university can set what requirements they want to for issuing degrees. Indefinite embargoes should not be accepted, although a case could be made for the traditional 6 month, 1 yr, 2yr, or 5yr. 5yr should be an exception though.
    • Gray markets, such as ebay and Costco, are very important industries.

For more information on fair use, copyright, and libraries, please see my posts Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries and On Open Access (OA) and Institutional Repositories (IRs).

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

In January of this year (2012) the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) published what most academic and medical librarians now know of as “the code.”  Within copyright there’s an allowance known as fair use.  Since this is a gray area, the ARL interviewed hundred of librarians and came up with a code of best practices in fair use so that all academic librarians can put up a united front against the publishers who basically way too frequently think that there is no such thing as fair use.  I had the opportunity to attend two of the panels presenting the new code and information on fair use.  One was at MIT and the other was at Northeastern University.  This post will consist of my notes as well as links to the code’s website, guides, and contact info.

What is the Purpose of Copyright?

  • To promote the creation of culture by giving people who create it a perk with limited monopoly and encouraging new makers to use existing culture.  The human process of creating culture is collaborative at its base.

Biggest Balancing Feature:

  • Fair Use–legal, unauthorized use of copyrighted material–under some circumstances

So what is fair use?

  • a space for creativity
    • for lawyers
    • for users
    • for judges
  • created in the 1840s by judges but not in writing til 1976

Four Factors of Fair Use

  1. Reason for the use
  2. Kind of work used
  3. Amount used → is it appropriate?
  4. Effect on the market

The Good News

  • Judges love it and love using the factors
  • Supreme Court: fair use protects free speech
  • Judicial interpretation has shifted greatly since 1990

Things Judges Ask

  • Is your use transformative?
    • Are you adding to the culture
    • Are you an innovator
  • Did you use the amount that is appropriate to satisfy the transformative use

Transform?

  • use of works in scholarly study when they’re not intended for scholarly study
  • PLUS custom and practice of individual creative communities especially when well-documented
    • When judges hear a good story about why what you’re doing as a community is transformative, they want to side with you

Best Practices Codes

  • Communities that use them:
    • documentary filmmakers
    • scholars
    • online video
    • dance productions
  • principles not rules
  • limitations not bans
  • reasoning not rote

Why Fair Use Matters to Librarians

  • Libraries preserve culture. To keep them alive means copying especially digital.
  • Patrons need answers now.
  • Can libraries stay relevant to the future by serving patrons from a distance?
  • Projects/needs that seem important aren’t getting done or are being abandoned because of risk aversion (fear of getting sued).
  • Put legal risks into perspective “mission risk.”

The Code of Best Practices
“Nobody really wants to sue. They just want to scare you.”
“Fair use is like a muscle.”
The more people who expressly go forward with fair use, the more protection we all have.

  1. eReserves
    It is fair to provide access to teaching materials (digitally) for students and professors.

    1. Spontaneity is not the law.  You can reuse course reserves (repeated use).
    2. The 1976 Guidelines are not the law.
    3. If you’re not in the class, you don’t get access. Passwords.
    4. Are you making a good faith effort to limit the use to fair use?
    5. There’s a difference between access and distribution.
  2. Exhibits both physical and virtual
  3. Digitizing to preserve at-risk items, but only when you can’t buy it and it is in a format that is becoming outdated but not yet obsolete.
  4. Digital collections of archives and special collections
  5. Access to research and teaching materials for disabled users.
  6. Institutional repositories, for example dissertations, theses
    Writers of dissertations/theses have a right to deposit their work in the repository without getting copyright rights from those whose work they’ve quoted/cited.  This code aims to help libraries stand by authors and help places like ProQuest understand fair use.
  7. Data-mining/Finding aids.
    1. When you google, you’re not searching the internet.  You’re searching google’s copy of the internet.  This is legal under fair use.
  8. Making topically-based collections of Web-based material.
    1. You’re collecting for a particular reason for a different use than the original creators had.

General Advice

  • Libraries are not liable for bad things that their users do.
  • Get your counsel involved when things aren’t in crisis mode.  It will help them understand you and your needs for potential future crises.
  • Bring the code of best practices to the counsel as a conversation piece.
  • Reliance on code of best practices is good evidence of good faith.
  • Librarians need to own fair use reasoning and get students and professors to do it too.
  • This is a free speech right.  We need to empower patrons and move them to agency.
  • A library can avoid or reduce liabilities by having proactive staff.  Develop fair use practice standards in your community.
  • You can create your own culture that doesn’t view fair use as risky.
  • In the context of fair use, the perfect document with all the answers is unattainable.
  • Key questions to ask:
    • Is it appropriate?
    • Is it reasonable?
    • Are you using it in good faith?
  • It is not the case that by asking for permission you waive your fair use rights.
  • Sometimes asking for permission can even strengthen your fair use claim.
  • Checklists make rote something that is inherently fluid.  Instead you should simply be able to articulate if asked why it is an appropriate use.
  • We should be able to explain fair use to our people in plain language.  No legalese.

The Georgia State Case
Basically, a publisher sued Georgia State for their use of eReserves.  Read up on the case and the ruling here and here.

  • Classroom Guidelines created in the 1970s were intended as a floor but interpreted as a ceiling.  1990s cases against coursepacks found coursepacks aren’t fair use, so now they pay a use fee.  Code of Best Practices is the first to look at it from a library perspective.
  • What happened at GSU?
    What was at issue was not the software (ie Blackboard) but the amount of info on Electronic Reserves.
  • Publisher’s argument:
    * should have sought and paid permission for every item on Electronic Reserves
    * argued fair use checklist is weighted to fair use
    * GSU could have subscribed to annual access
  • Library’s argument:
    *  use of excerpt from books in this setting is fair use
    *  checklist properly used
    *  If GSU had an annual license from CCC, Cambridge University Press is not part of it anyway.
  • So how much is fair use?
  • CCC is contractually obligated to let publishers know if they think an infringement is going on.
  • If you’re arguing market impact, you have to show it.
  • 75 cases were submitted, of those only 5 instances of infringement found.
  • Court declined to issue injunction and ordered plaintiff to pay defendent’s legal fees.
  • Is the use transformative?
    *  using it in a new way
    *  the obvious exception is straight reproduction for classroom use
    *  the things that teachers use to teach are not usually created with the intention to use to teach, so this use is innately transformative.
    *  non-transformative use is 10 to 20%
    *  transformative use can be the whole thing.
    *  Textbooks are not transformative (made for teaching) so less fair use leeway.
  • The actual damages to the publisher was $750
  • Licenses “must be easily accessible, reasonably priced, and that they offer excerpts in a reasonable format.”
  • “We’re creating a situation where fair use will disappear if we don’t use it.”
  • The lawsuit is really just about scholarly nonfiction books.
  • This case isn’t precedent for anyone but GSU.

You can find much more information, including contact info for the panelists, on the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use website.

 

Friday Fun! (New Job! *Confetti*)

February 24, 2012 8 comments

Hello my lovely readers!

I am so incredibly happy to get to give you all a big update in the life of moi this week.  Tuesday morning after the long weekend, I got a phone call offering me my first professional librarian job!!! Although I’ve been doing the work of a librarian for quite some time now, this position actually requires an MLIS and is in the exact same area of librarianship as my interests.  I don’t like to name exactly where I work on this blog, because this blog represents just me and not my workplace.  Suffice to say, then, that I will be working in educational librarianship in a library that supports one of the medical schools in the Boston area.  The library is the ideal mix of medicine and academia, and I’m so stoked to start work there in mid-March.

This of course means that my life over the next couple of weeks and at least through March is going to be crazy (crazy in a good way).  I’ll have a new schedule, new commute, new health insurance, new paycheck schedule, new….well everything!  It’s all wonderfully exciting and still kind of hard to believe after over a year of job hunting.

Of course this means that other things, like my writing and this blog, are going to have to be pushed to the back burner for a bit until I adjust to all the newness.  One thing I know about me is that I can sometimes push myself too hard, and I don’t want to do that this time around.  So, I’m going to push the release of Waiting For Daybreak back to May or June.  You can also probably expect a few less posts a week here, although I will be doing my best to write up everything for all books finished that week over the weekend and schedule them ahead of time for the next week (Wow, did that sentence make sense?)  There will also be slower responses to comments.  These are all good things, though, because this just means this blog has returned to being my hobby instead of what I’m doing to keep my sanity while job hunting, lol.

I do hope you guys will keep following along, because I’m still the same me, just a far far happier one now. 😀

The Impact of Interdisciplinary Study and Research on Library Spaces

April 15, 2010 1 comment

Both my Academic Librarianship and Librarianship for Science and Technology classes have been discussing the move in academia and science toward interdisciplinary work and research.  Why would a bunch of librarians be discussing that?  Well, how our patrons work and study directly impacts how we help them accomplish what they need to do.  For years the disciplines were clearly stratified, and that led to the creation of separate spaces for different disciplines–particularly separating science and the humanities.  Now that interdisciplinary work is in vogue some libraries and librarians are trying to mesh the branches and library spaces back together again.  I’m not so sure that’s the best idea.

People need to feel not just welcomed but also at home in a place if it’s going to become a home away from home.  If we want repeat patrons, patrons who come and stick around, patrons who get excited about the library and want to learn to use the resources, then having a vast undefined space isn’t going to cut it.  People like their space to reflect who they are.  It’s cool for a scientist to walk into a room and see brain models.  It’s fun for a women’s studies student to walk in and see a poster of Margaret Mead.  Sure, both of those things can be in one room, but at the academic or special library level that reads as unfocused.  Not to mention the ease of use that results from being in the science library and knowing that the librarians present are specialists in your area of study.  In an integrated library, you might luck out and get the science librarian on the reference desk, but it’s equally likely that you’d get the history librarian.  Sure, they could go get the science librarian or have you make an appointment with her, but that’s not as easy, is it?

Similarly in the virtual world it’s a lot easier to quickly use a website geared toward a specific audience than to use one geared toward everyone.  That’s why public libraries have sections of their website devoted to children, teens, and adults.  They could make one page dedicated to everybody, but that would be hard to do and hard to use.  Now I know you’re thinking that just because an academic library is planning on integrating all its branches into one building it doesn’t mean that they won’t create multiple websites for different users.  Well, I ask, if you wouldn’t do that online, why would you do it physically?

I’m not saying there isn’t a place for interdisciplinary spaces in the academic and special libraries.  There absolutely is.  I love the idea of study spaces designed for interdisciplinary work, but what I like even more is the idea of an interdisciplinary branch library with a librarian or two specializing in interdisciplinary work.  That would be truly helpful to our patrons, not eliminating all distinction altogether.

National Library Week 2010!

Today is the start of National Library Week here in the US–a week to honor and recognize libraries for all of the awesomeness that they entail.  I thought I’d honor the week with a post about the important role libraries have played in my life.  I hope you all will chime in and do the same!

My parents didn’t have much money when I was little, and on top of that, my mother homeschooled my brother and I.  The bi-weekly trip to our local public library was completely an adventure.  I couldn’t believe that all these stacks and stacks of books were available for me to read!  Since we lived on a secluded road in backwoods Vermont, I didn’t get to see many other kids my age on a regular basis.  My brother was 5 years older than me, and all the other kids on the road were boys a bit older than me at least, so books became my friends.  When I was done with schoolwork, I’d run off to read.  When books were done, the scenes and characters became the back-drop for my play.  The only reason I was able to pursue reading so enthusiastically was because of the library.

When I reached high school, I was allowed to go to public school.  The library became a safe place for me to go and explore all these new ideas and worlds I was being exposed to.  Books that I took out from there and read led to me changing some very fundamental ideas I had held up until then.  I would not be the person I am today without that experience.  It was more than having access to the books.  It was knowing that I could take them out and read them without judgment from the librarians or fear that they would run and tell somebody what I was reading.

In university the library became my work study place of employment.  The library yet again was providing me access to books, both in the free form and in the money for textbooks form.  I couldn’t get over the whole working environment.  The librarians were, by and large, really cool!  They were hip and sympathetic to my sometimes overwhelming life as a first generation college student.  I was introduced to WorldCat and was amazed at my ability to hit the “Get It Now!” button and get nearly any item from other libraries in the US.  (I’m sure the inter-library loan department wasn’t quite of fond of my love of the Get It Now button as I was, haha).  The library was my go-to place to hang out with my friends, for quiet study, to work on a computer between classes (I didn’t have a laptop for most of college).  Almost all of my friends from university are sorted under a Goldfarb Library tab on Facebook.  It was yet again a safe place for me to live life and figure out what I think and who I am.  Needless to say, it’s also where I figured out that I wanted to be a librarian, and is it any wonder when I see what impact librarians have had on my life?

When I look back over my life, it’s easy to see that I wouldn’t be the person I am today at all without libraries.  I wouldn’t have been encouraged to explore, to make mistakes, to read new and sometimes crazy ideas (to make noise and surreptitiously have a slice of pizza with friends).  I can’t imagine anything else that could fill that place in my life.  For that reason, I am passionate about libraries in the 21st century.  They are relevant, because what else can provide all of that to a growing, changing, exploring person?  Libraries are a large part of what made me free to be me.

Creating a Library Culture That Encourages a Love of Learning

March 31, 2010 4 comments

I think most people in my generation who grew up with videogames and computer games know that learning can be fun.  I distinctly remember MathBlaster helping me learn how to multiply but hardly noticing that because I wanted to defeat the aliens.  However, should learning always be fun?  Has learning that isn’t fun flown the coop?  Is there a place for more tedious methods of learning?

I’ve been pondering this lately as libraries are places of learning.  The surrounding culture of the library–whether a town, university, hospital, business, etc…–needs to encourage and embrace learning for the library to get used at all.  Unfortunately, that is often not the case.  In today’s society, learning is often mocked.  It’s where we get the nerd jokes.  Even the First Lady has felt it is a large enough problem that she has spoken out about it.  So libraries are left with a conundrum: the surrounding culture doesn’t encourage learning.  We’re a learning institution.  How the heck do we get people in the doors?

This issue led to the movement to make libraries more fun, largely through the materials held and programming.  Materials now are much more likely to include popular books such as ones written by Heidi Pratt.  Programs include videogaming with games that aren’t educational.  For non-public libraries, some academic libraries have started offering a “fun” reading section with similar, non-educational books.  The movement is pretty universal across types of libraries.  This has led to a backlash though.  Some are stating that sure, people are coming in through the doors, but they aren’t learning anything.  We’re so focused on making patrons happy that we’ve stopped actually helping them improve their mental capacities at all.

I don’t think it’s an easy issue to address because a love of learning is largely something that is instilled in childhood.  Even someone who does love learning doesn’t always find it fun.  I don’t particularly enjoy reading the dense management articles for my graduate research paper, but I value what I learn from them.  I enjoy the fact that I know my knowledge of these management techniques will make me better at my job.

The problem is less a lack of a love of learning and more that a love for being entertained and instant gratification is drowning out the more subtle enjoyment that comes from expanding your mind.  It’s basic psychology.  A famous experiment was done with mice where if they pushed a button, it gave them an orgasm.  The mice repeatedly pushed the button, obsessively, ignoring the needs to eat and drink until they died.  They died from too much pleasure.  Life isn’t all about pleasure; we also need to work to survive.  If all libraries do is provide the pleasure button and not a food button, then we’re not actually helping our patrons are we?

With this in mind, libraries need to be careful to maintain a balance of pleasure and effort.  People attending a Rock Band evening, for instance, could be informed of books and materials the library holds that teach you to play a real guitar or real drums.  Conversely, in special libraries, there is often too little focus on fun learning.  A recent visiting lecturer to one of my classes who works in an engineering library showed us the engineering “toys” she has in her library.  Her library has lego’s and other materials lying around for the engineering students to play with as a study break and inspiration.  I immediately thought how awesome it would be if medical libraries had those anatomically correct dolls or skeletons or jello brain molds lying about.

As with most things, the key to learning as fun or learning as effort is maintaining a balance.  Librarians need to focus on how to naturally connect the two so that patrons on either side of the divide will make the connection and, hopefully, take a leap.