I just got back from the ACRL All Conference Reception at the National Constitution Center. Whew, it’s been a long day. For whatever reason, today’s sessions were much more crowded than yesterday. Either there were fewer sessions and the same number of people or more people for the same number of sessions.
Since Copyright seems to be one of my themes, I attended two sessions today. Both of the speakers had spoken up at the Google Book Settlement discussion yesterday, so I knew they would be good. Nancy Sims from Minnesota did a study determining that faculty really didn’t know much about copyright and what they did know was generally wrong. There is an opportunity for librarians to guide them and the best way to get their attention is to appeal to their self-interests about their own rights. Jim Neal gave his second presentation of the conference with the provocative title “Fair Use is not Civil Disobedience” and generally challenged librarians to get some guts and not give away fair use as a defense against infringement. He is right when he says that we should not try to define it too exactly because it becomes narrower each time we do. He cited the Rule of Five as one example of a floor becoming a ceiling very quickly. He closed with a quote from Emerson: “Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.” Amen.
All of us are finding that Discovery is a theme of this conference. Summon seems to be the product with which people are least unhappy, if that means anything. I asked Susan and Roz to stop by the booth to check it out.
Like Roz, Susan and Mary Beth, I attended a number of sessions examining new models of reference. Each example has its own local features and flavors but there are areas of similarity as well. All are pretty much agreed that face-to-face reference encounters are on the decline and therefore creative minds are encouraged to take a look at what might better serve user needs.
I also attended two data curation programs. Even though Wake Forest does not have the strong research agenda that other universities have, we do have researchers with data management needs. Molly and I have been following the NSF guidelines that impose new requirements on grantees and will keep working with the Research Office and faculty to figure out what is best for Wake.
And then because this is ACRL, for the sheer fun of it I attended a session on “The Ancient Library of Alexandria: Embracing the Excellent, Avoiding its Fate.” Extolling Greek culture, damning the Romans, what a great way to spend 20 minutes…