Thoughts by the University of Texas Libraries Scholary Communications Advisor and resident copyright expert Georgia Harper on Pam Samuelson’s article, “Reforming Copyright is Possible,” published in the July 9 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Pam Samuelson is a visionary copyright scholar, winner of a MacArthur Grant, and an optimist. She believes that despite the dim prospects for badly needed comprehensive copyright reform, we can take small steps to make big improvements, both within and outside the legislative process. Several of her proposals for libraries’ independent action exhort us to rely more confidently on fair use, engage in concerted efforts to search for owners of out-of-commerce works and identify them so that people may use more freely those for whom owners cannot be found, and work together to bring our out-of-copyright works to digital life. For example, she applauds the efforts to create a Digital Public Library that would provide public access to public domain works. She is right. All of these ideas are good ones that deserve our attention and our action.
Her suggestions about how modest legislative efforts could improve the picture for public access to libraries’ holdings are more difficult to embrace. Continue reading →
Our First-year Experience Librarian, Cindy Fisher, is a guest blogger over at the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s ProfHacker site. In her post, she lauds LibX, a pretty complex, library-specific browser extension from a couple of innovators at VaTech that makes finding and accessing available resources in your library exponentially simpler.
A very timely article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed discussing endowment spending today. Do universities “spend enough of their endowments for society’s benefit to justify the tax exemption they get”? Senator Charles Grassley is pushing for legislation requiring universities to spend a minimum 5% of their endowment income annually. His solution is a one-size-fits-all answer to a complex situation that has evolved over many years.
The Libraries benefit from a modest but growing number of endowments. But is our endowment portfolio big enough to continue to support the increasing costs of growing and maintaining world-class collections? Not by a long shot. Endowments for collection enhancement, electronic resources, and preservation activities play a key role in maintaining an academic library’s pivotal place in the lives of students, faculty, and researchers.
It isn’t all about the size of the endowment. In the case of the Libraries, and for many other academic libraries in the US, the endowment’s specific spending guidelines can have a huge impact. Continue reading →