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Outraged Librarians and Fair Use

At the New York Metro Library Council’s Digital Dilemmas conference, librarians (mostly from higher ed) gathered to puzzle out how to meet the needs of scholars who increasingly are everywhere but the library—even online. Check out this video by Tony Hirst for a EduPunk take on this phenomenon:

Cliff Lynch, the wizard of CNI described a research landscape that is ever more collaborative and drawing on ever-deeper databases, many of them non-academic and some of them annotated by crowd sourcing.

My presentation on Fair Use codes of best practices brought a passionate commentary from one librarian. "This model [of best practices codes] is very relevant to us," he said. "We have a rigid set of fair-use rules [he was referring to the poisonous CCUMC guidelines] that were written by publishers, not by us. They were bad before, but now they’re being imported into digital practice, where they really don’t work."

The conference’s rapporteur, Tom Clareson noted at day’s end that a major takeaway was to "work through our associations," given that librarians face not only challenges but opportunities, and can act on their own behalf. For lively commentary on all the panels, including a scholarly mystery presented by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University’s Dan Cohen and solved by crowd sourcing, follow the Twitter feeds at #digdil09