A Roundup

A round-up of news (or at least news to yours truly)

  • The judge presiding over the Georgia State University suit has issued a ruling in the case. This case is important to library operations because it goes towards resolving the issues of what libraries can do with copyrighted materials to meet classroom needs. Read Kevin Smith’s (of the Scholarly Communications at Duke fame) analysis of the ruling here and James Grimmelmann’s at The Laboratorium here. A bit anticlimatic is the realization that the ruling is sure to be appealed, and so the drama is likely to drag on for considerable more time.
  • The University of Michigan Press has contributed roughly 750 in-copyright books to Hathi Trust that can be viewed in their entirety. Check out the collection here. Unfortunately, the access allowed is such that only online views while connected to the Internet and staring at a radiating screen is possible. (So not real e-books at all.) May beggars be choosers one day!

However welcomed Professor McAfee’s fiery war rhetoric against the publishers may be, I think that when publishers and librarians sit down to hammer out licensing terms for resources, a very adversarial or morally righteous attitude is more likely to hurt than help. Of course, one should push hard at the negotiation table, but allowing for moralistic or combative tones to color the interactions is probably counterproductive to getting a good deal. This is just  my two cents, but I hope to find myself in a job where I will get to negotiate licenses, and these two cents will  be worth more in the future.

  • A petition has been put up on the White House website calling for the Obama administration to “requir[e] the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form”. This is to “provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research” and has the additional benefit that “[e]xpanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research.”

This sounds a lot to me like the Federal Research Public Access Act that failed in Congress. An attempt to get the executive branch to do that the legislative branch hasn’t, do you think?

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