Monday, January 21, 2008

Note to Faculty: Copyright and Electronic Reserves

There have been many changes in publishing, media, and the modes to access them in recent years. The rights of the author and the publisher in this quickly changing environment is sometimes a matter of conflict for the key players--hence the Hollywood writers strike over internet access and downloads. It is also a matter of confusion for universities and faculty trying to establish electronic reserve readings for students.

In the recent past, faculty felt free to capture online texts from library databases or the web, or even scan items (like book chapters) they wanted students to read and email them to students, or put up links to these "digital" copies for students to access, read, and print. This was considered by many one of those "grey areas" of copyright that fell close enough to "fair use" to be safe and acceptable.

Well, that grey area seems to be becoming less grey.

Articles are starting to appear in the media that indicate that some universities are taking the lead in treating online readings the same way they would paper reading packets. See, for example, this recent news item from Publisher's Weekly:

Three universities, following the earlier lead of Cornell, have signed an agreement with the Association of American Publishers that "affirms that digital materials will be governed by the same copyright principals [sic] used for print materials."

Who knows? Even providing PURLs (stable links) to articles in databases that the Library leases may be becoming problematic. Already, journals like the Harvard Business Review add a note to their PDFs in our Business Source Complete database indicating that their articles are “not intended for use as assigned course material." They add that they are "pleased to grant permission to make this work available through “electronic reserves” or other means of digital access or transmission to students enrolled in a course” as long as you contact them for “rates and authorization.”

The librarians of Sawyer Library are not copyright attorneys, so we cannot give you definitive advice about what is proper and what is not. However, we did want to let faculty know that free and easy distribution of the work of others, without obtaining specific permission to do so, may not be the "fair use" they think it is!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sawyer Library Expands Weekend Hours

Thanks to University funding of additional staff hours, the Mildred F. Sawyer Library is happy to announce that we have expanded our weekend hours. We are opening earlier and closing later on both Saturday and Sunday to allow students to better utilize our library facilities and services. Hours on Saturday will now be 8am to 8pm. And on Sunday our hours will now be 11am to 11pm.

To check on our regular hours and any planned changes, please check this Library hours page.

Since hours can change during holidays, breaks, inter-sessions, and major national holidays, it never hurts to consult this page as you do your research planning. Keep in mind, especially during the coldest and stormiest days of winter, that if the University closes because of inclement weather, the library will close, as well.

Because our hours page is part of a University webpage server which only updates once daily (at best), if there are any weather changes, your best bet is simply to pay attention to notices you receive from the University notification system or information found on the University homepage or closure announcements that can be found on most local TV stations.

With more hours to serve you, we look forward to seeing you at the library this Spring Semester!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New and Improved Content for Legal Researchers in Lexis/Nexis Academic

This past summer Lexis/Nexis Academic gained valuable content in the areas of state regulatory codes and in Shepard's Citations.

Regulations are administrative rules or codes which implement laws. Access to state regulations and registers (updated regulations) had previously not been available through the Lexis/Nexis Academic. They are available now, and the most efficient way to locate a state's regulations is to select the tan-colored 'Sources' tab on the opening search screen.

Choose 'Administrative Materials & Regulations,' and then select 'Regulatory Codes. '

From the drop-down menu, code select the listing which alphabetically includes your state.

For the most current information, check MA- Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) and Massachusetts Register. The user can search by using key terms and connectors and/or by utilizing the 'Document Section' drop-down menu, where a citation to the CMR may be entered.

Lexis/Nexis Academic's Shepard's Citations includes lists of citations indicating every time a decision is cited or affected by a subsequent decision. In previous years, users could utilize Shepard's Citations only with U.S. Supreme Court cases. Now Lexis/Nexis Academic offers this outstanding service for state cases, other federal cases, and for law reviews. Choose the 'Legal Tab,' and select Shepard's Citations from the right-hand menu. Enter the proper citation in the opening box.

Citation Example: 405 Mass. 191

Shepard's results will show all citing references plus provide analysis. See the Lexis/Nexis Shepard's tutorial.

Lexis/Nexis Academic has provided another enhancement which aids the student conducting legal research. Now highlighted links within statutes, cases, and law reviews lead the user to the full-text of these publications with one click of the mouse. Check out all of the Lexis/Nexis Academic legal enhancements today.

[Find Lexis/Nexis Academic in the A-Z List of Databases and in Databases by Subject on the Mildred F. Sawyer Library home page.]