April 12, 2021

Jennifer Howard on: "Publishers Grapple With Thorny Issues of Protecting Property and Going Digital"

Jennifer Howard from the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on some what took place last week at the Association of University Presses Annual Conference in Baltimore.

The official theme was “The Next Wave: Toward a Culture of Collaboration.” Many panels examined different partnerships that university presses have lately made a priority. For instance, one session gave an overview of four ventures being developed to sell aggregations of university-press monographs to libraries by Project MUSE, JSTOR, Cambridge University Press, and Oxford University Press.

One panelist at the session, Michael Levine-Clark, collections librarian at the University of Denver, gave the audience a long list of features the e-book aggregations will have to include to satisfy libraries. “We need to be able to get whichever books we want on whatever platforms make sense for us,” he said. “We absolutely need flexible pricing.” E-books should be available at least as soon as any print edition is, he told the crowd, and they should also be easy to use and not tied down by too much rights-management software.

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For all the focus on collaboration, though, the meeting also had a circle-the-wagons feeling at times, especially on the subject of protecting intellectual property. Nobody wanted to talk on the record about the legal case under way that has pitted three scholarly publishers against Georgia State University over its use of copyrighted material in e-reserves and on university Web sites. That case has been a reminder that publishers and libraries continue to have very different ideas about when and how much users ought to pay to use copyrighted material.

All of the tweets from the conference have been archived and can be accessed here.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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