Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer, distractions, the 20 year review, and copyright.

Greetings readers! The Bookcharmer is in the process of surveying her summer plans, plotting how to most efficiently do what must be done in order to maximize the amount of time that can be allocated to loitering, lounging, noodling, and doodling. Let us not forget horsing around, goofing off, exploring, and musing. Summer is the high season for the best type of bookcharming distractions, when wandering the stacks in search of one item unfolds into individual adventures.

Today's adventure, brought to you by The Internet, is one that holds delicious promise for frolic of a serious nature: copyright.

First of all, I would like to say that I truly wish the spelling was copywright. The inclusion of the extra w would do justice to the heavy lifting dealing with copyright usually involves, such as playwright, wheelwright, and another job that ends in wright. Write that down.

Here's the adventure part: an indiegogo funded project, a contest on the future of copyright! Please click here and do the required reading:

What came to your mind? If you have spent any time in vicinity of the Bookcharmer when she is feeling mischievous, you might have suspected the first thing that came out of my mouth, "Interpretive Dance." To really do the agony of copyright justice, it would need to be an interpretive dance with a dance troupe the size of Cirque Du Soleil.

Here's a personal example of the clash of information need, expectation, and dashed hopes. One of the projects I am mulling is an anthology of publications that have guided me in the first 20 years of Bookcharming, collecting in one convenient place the books and journal articles that have been the most useful as a library practitioner. One that came to mind in the early hours of the morning is a seminal article by the one and only Martha J. Bates, "Rigorous Systematic Bibliography" published in the journal then known as RQ in volume 16 (Fall 1976): 7-26.

I suspect in my library lair, in my file cabinet, in the folders that hold an eclectic but critical selection of items filed under "Readings" I will find my personal copy of this article. But I am not in my library lair, I am in my personal home lair. But I have the Internet, and my databases!

I'm sure another, wiser, librarian has already done some published hand-wringing over Journals That Change Their Names and Are Thus A Big Hassle In Many Ways, so let me just simply note that RQ in this case stands for Reference Quarterly, but is now known as: Reference & user services quarterly or RUSQ. Be that as it may, I need some specific pages from 1976.

Where do I look first? The catalog of course: play along if you like, Journal Title=RQ.

Now, 20 years ago, I would not have been at all chagrined to see this information:

v.5 (1965/1966)-v.36 (1996/1997) [vols. 26, 28 incomplete]
King Periodicals Lower Level Z671 .R7

Twenty years ago, I would have fully expected I trip to the print source would have been necessary. But fast forward to 2013 in Silicon Valley...what?

Fine. Let's see if it is posted online. A likely place, Professor Bates' home page!

A moment of seriousness here: Professor Bates' webpage is a wellspring of information, one that I am going to happily enjoy later. But one might also feel a bit in awe of the fact that she has also posted her very own method of bibliographic classification:

Her faculty webpage lists selected publications:

What to do? Do I give in to distraction and start binge reading the items that are online? Do I stop to simply marvel at the accomplishments of this one individual?

And more importantly, will I please please have a copy of the Bates article in my file cabinet, because I know that if I set foot on the Lower Level I will promptly abandon any focus and go get that copy of Sheehy's Guide to Reference Books waiting for me in the duplicate discards???

Let's leave that cliff-hanger for now and return to the issue of copyright. Why isn't that 1976 issue of RQ online? Has it not been digitized? Has it been digitized and I'm just not looking in the right place? Is it behind the paywall of a database my library does not subscribe to?

What role does copyright play now in what is and is not available digitally? Let's explore that together! Here's the link again:

Tune in next time....the Bookcharmer.

Update: metal filing cabinet and paper copy for the win!!! Distraction avoided!!! Evidence below!!!

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