Take Two

A follow-up on some previous posts . . .

Today’s New York Times has an opinion piece about the use of UK’s plaintiff-friendly libel laws to suppress publication of books in the United States. The authors, professors of law and of Jewish Studies at Emory, call attention to the way Cambridge caved when a billionaire Saudi banker objected to passages in Alms for Jihad and call for legislation that will prevent US courts from enforcing libel judgments issued by foreign courts – what they call “libel tourism.” We raised this issue a couple of times here.

I was reminded of how much easier it is to preach than practice once again when reading, in LJ’s Academic Newswire, that UK publishers are hammering out OA issues, followed by a summary of an article on the value of venting published in the ALA-APA’s newsletter – only open to subscribers. Well, I’m venting again – how are we supposed to lecture publishers about open access when our own organizations aren’t practicing it? There, I feel so much better.

But while I’m at it, let me applaud ACRL for making their publications accessible. As Steven pointed out in an earlier post, the much-awaited ethnographic study of the University of Rochester library is browseable online. It’s fascinating! I’m going to go order a copy so I can take my time reading it.

It seems to me, ACRL is not only doing the right thing, they’re doing the smart thing. As the RIAA continues to threaten our college students, the marketplace is embracing DRM-free solutions; trade publishers such as HarperCollins and Random House have created digital depositories so their books can be searched on their own sites, not just at Amazon and Google Books. (Random even has cool book widgets so you can run them on your own website.) Open for business – what a concept.

About Barbara Fister

I'm an academic librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Like all librarians at our small, liberal arts institution I am involved in reference, collection development, and shared management of the library. My area of specialization is instruction, with research interests also in media literacy, popular literacy, publishing, and assessment.

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