May 18, 2022

"Students Scan Textbooks to Skirt Cost"

From a Daily Oklahoman Article (University of Oklahoma):

Bizzell Memorial Library owns two scanners — called Knowledge Imaging Centers — that allow students to scan pages and save them directly to an external hard drive, costing the user nothing. Some have been abusing the privilege though, scanning whole chapters and textbooks instead of buying them.

“I make electronic copies of chapters for certain classes, probably two or three of them,” said John, an OU senior. “I just check the book out at the library and scan the pages. It’s easier to carry that way and saves a lot of money.”

John was at one the library’s scanners Tuesday afternoon, where he had moved a chair to sit on while scanning and was playing with his iPod between scans. John wasn’t the only one. Within a 35-minute time frame on Tuesday, four people were in line with books to copy.


University Libraries outlines what it considers to be fair use of a book for academic purposes, spokeswoman Sarah Robbins said.

“We normally say two chapters, two articles of a journal, 50 pages or 20 percent of a work, whichever comes first,” Robbins said.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.