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Issue Briefs Advise Libraries on Archiving Government Information, Licensing Metadata about Scholarship

copyright-issue-briefsThe Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released two issue briefs answering pressing questions about copyright faced by libraries and archives: Can institutions legally preserve and share government information from the internet? And should institutions license their metadata describing scholarly works?

In Using Fair Use to Preserve and Share Disappearing Government Information, William Cross, director of the Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center at NCSU Libraries, notes “Access to government information is a fundamental principle in a democratic society.…Libraries and archives have historically served as stewards of government documents, and in recent years, these institutions have paid special attention to the unique vulnerability of information during changeover in presidential administrations.” Cross discusses the complex legal issues involved in preserving and sharing government information from the internet and explains how the doctrine of fair use supports doing so. He concludes that the law is clear in granting libraries and archives “special authority” to archive and share information released by the government.

In Metadata and Copyright: Should Institutions License Their Data about Scholarship?, Krista L. Cox, director of public policy initiatives at ARL, says, “The Association…is committed to promoting open scholarship, including making metadata—foundational information about scholarly works—as widely available as possible. Allowing the broadest access to and reuse of metadata advances scholarship, research, discovery, and innovation.” Cox discusses whether metadata is or is not copyrightable in a variety of situations, as well as policies and community norms around licensing metadata. She provides recommendations on whether or not to license metadata while encouraging widespread use and sharing.

Both briefs are freely available on the ARL website.

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.

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