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UC Berkeley Takes Historic Photos of California Landscape Online

Last Updated on December 7, 2012, 3:00 pm ET

UC Berkeley’s University Librarian Tom Leonard is a little self-effacing as he describes a project that might not have been possible before the Code, making historic California photographs available online in a beautiful digital exhibit of the Fritz-Metcalf Photograph Collection.

1940 4H Club

Courtesy of the Marian Koshland Bioscience and Natural Resources Library, University of California, Berkeley: lib.berkeley.edu/BIOS/

At first glance these photos may be ‘mostly trees and brush,’ but (as Leonard points out) they are a rich source of ecological data as well as of emotional connection to California’s past, and they are emblematic of the kinds of unique and valuable collections in held by research libraries. Here’s Tom Leonard describing the collection and how the Code came into play as the library decided whether and how to share the photos online.

Perhaps my favorite part of the exhibit is the page about use of images from the collection, which has this wonderful exhortation:

The University encourages the use of these images under the fair use clause of the 1976 Copyright Act.

This is the fifth blog post in a series highlighting some of the fair use success stories we’re beginning to hear from librarians using the Code to move past fear and uncertainty and into positive action using their fair use rights. As with every Code of Best Practices, the #librarianscode can, will, and should be applied differently by different people and institutions in different situations. It is not one-size-fits-all. Some will be more conservative than the consensus described in the Code, while others may go further, depending on local circumstances. These stories are not meant to highlight ideal or best applications of the Code, as there is really no single right way to use the document. Rather, these stories show libraries moving from inaction to action thanks to the encouragement and support that the Code provides. How will you use the Code? If you have a story to share, please email socialmedia@american.edu.