v25 #5 Media Centered

by | Dec 5, 2013 | 0 comments

Sometimes the Best Resources are People

Column Editor:  Winifred Fordham Metz  (Media Librarian & Head, Media Resources Center, House Undergraduate Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;  Phone: 919-962-4099)  <[email protected]http://www.lib.unc.edu/house/mrc

The use of media in the classroom is ubiquitous.  Visual theses are on the rise.  Academic interest in and classroom use of documentary film and global cinemas is growing at an exponential rate.  Resultantly, the importance of a rich and varied media resources collection is essential to academic institutions, public libraries, and K-12 media centers.  It takes a lot of work, development, and research to maintain and grow a collection like this.  Resources that aid in this process are invaluable…

Scholarly communications, digital scholarship and copyright are important considerations in any academic library.  Universities around the country have dedicated permanent positions, built programs and enlisted working groups or committees in support of this work.  Annual institutes, conferences and workshops are held to educate, cultivate, elaborate, ameliorate and innovate these issues.

North Carolina’s research triangle, and specifically its Triangle Research Library Network (TRLN), packs quite a punch in this regard, with three professionals dedicated to this work:  Duke University’s Scholarly Communications Officer, Kevin Smith, North Carolina State University’s Director of Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center, Will Cross and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Scholarly Communications Officer, Anne Gilliland.  Notably, their work finds resonance well beyond TRLN.

Why it is Important to Media Resources

The Center I direct provides a robust environment for both the use and creation of media.  In addition to our extensive yet carefully curated media collection, we provide a lab to support the creation of video, audio, and other complex media along with the instruction and training needed to assist users in working with media.  Resultantly, questions and issues regarding scholarly communication, digital scholarship and copyright arise.  It is very helpful to have local resources to assist with these questions, specifically Scholarly Communications Officer Anne Gilliland.

Focus on Anne Gilliland

I was not surprised to find that Anne had a rich background in art.  Originally intending to work in the Art therapy profession, Anne accepted a position as a bindery typist (these positions don’t exist anymore) right out of undergrad, thinking that it would be a job for just a short time, and found that she enjoyed library work.  Many folks find themselves drawn to a career in librarianship after experiencing their first job in a library, such was the case with Anne;  she was pretty quickly hooked.  While working in the bindery, Anne began taking classes and earned her MLS at the University of Tennessee in 1982.  Upon graduating, Anne went to work at Tennessee Technological University as a serials cataloger.

Anne and I sat down to talk about her work in Scholarly Communication, and here is what she shared:


Tell me about your early library career and how you came to seek your JD. 

Anne:  Well, after working at Tennessee Tech for a while, I went to the University of the South as a serials and theological cataloger, and I eventually became the coordinator for the automated library system.  In 1993 I moved on to work at OhioLINK, where I was hired to work with metadata and do systems migration.  I worked there for about 15 years.  Over the years my work changed focus to metadata and collection management activities, including the massive OCLC/OhioLINK massive collections analysis project.  My work in collections management got me interested in intellectual property.  So I enrolled in Law School at the Capital University School of Law in Ohio in 2004 (incidentally, this is the same school where Kevin Smith earned his JD a year or so earlier).  I was interested in trying something new, specifically learning more about intellectual property issues [based on her work with collections contracts] and family law.  Both of these things are about equities, what is fair and what is just and what is legal.  These both included an element of mercy in theory — which is something I am drawn to…

How did your studies at law school affect your work at the library and vice versa?

Anne:  During the four-year program —  my course and project work gave me a much better understanding of contracts.  All of this certainly impacted the library work I was doing — it was a real eye opener about how contracts work and how to make people perform or make good on the contracts.

I participated in Law Review in law school and was writing about the Google books project.  Law librarian Donald A. Hughes Jr. was my adviser on the paper.  He also has a dual MLS/JD and he said something that has resonated with me ever since.  Don told me that I had to decide to think like a lawyer if I wanted to be a lawyer and set aside my sympathies of being a librarian…that I needed to be able to objectively analyze a situation.  And he told me that I needed to start by looking at the facts in relation to the law…

How did you first come to work in Scholarly Communications? 

Anne:  Early during my last year of law school, someone from the career services office contacted me and said someone at the Health Sciences Library at Ohio State University was looking for a dual JD and MLS to head their Copyright Management Office.  This office was the only one I know of that existed in the health sciences library. I took the job before I graduated…

I found it rewarding from the get go.  The office had not been fully staffed for a while, so it took me a good while and a lot of outreach to help folks understand and utilize my work there.

Now you’re at UNC Chapel Hill as the Scholarly Communications Officer.  What makes this job rich for you or engaging?

Anne:  Well, I’ve had a lot of in-house library work to start.  There is just so much to consider around the library;  digitization;  gift agreements;  special collections; committee work;  advising and collaborating with subject librarians.

People external to the library are finding me too —  they tend to Google and find me and I’ve gotten many general questions from UNC faculty, students and staff.  I also get referrals from University Counsel.

I enjoy my collaborations with Kevin [Smith] and Will [Cross].  Right now, we’re working on a continuing education module for copyright for K-12 — through NC Learn.

It is also really interesting learning about all the projects that are happening on campus, specifically knowing what’s currently in process.  This allows me to forecast how things are going in the curriculum;  alerts me to important research;  and helps me identify opportunities for outreach.

Just so we get a better idea of your work — summarize a typical day.


•    I look at news alerts and tweet (often tweeting throughout the day)

•    I might hold a discussion about a digitization contract (also continues throughout the day)

•    I have a lot of meetings…I’m continually updating and reconciling my calendar

•    I spend time answering questions from a faculty members about their publishing contracts — often fielding questions about them including someone else’s illustrations in a book they are writing

•    I will continue work on a few of many ongoing projects — examples:

— arranging to get a copyright video I made with Will and Kevin up on YouTube and writing a description for it

— making a start on rewriting a contract to allow TRLN researchers to do text and data mining on content from a major publisher.

•    I manage a TRA on projects — example, he is currently doing some research on NC law for pre-1972 sound recordings, which are not covered by Federal copyright law.  I discuss his findings with him and ask for a few more pieces of information for the memo he’s writing.

Switch gears and go back to broad strokes: How would you define scholarly communications?

Anne:  In part because of my legal background, I see copyright as sort of the backbone of scholarly communications.  It’s the law that we use to make agreements and settle disputes about creative expression, including creative expression in the academy.  Of course there’s more to scholarly communications than copyright.  Sometimes the term scholarly communications is used as a way of talking about open access advocacy.  Although my job involves both guidance and advocacy around copyright and open access, I think that it’s broader than those two subjects.  I hope that my activities provide some intentionality and focus for how we communicate in the academy, with some advocacy for the library’s role and values in that process.

Since this column focuses on media — can you talk a bit about the rules for copyright in relation to different forms of media…

Anne:  Some people will say that copyright law is format-agnostic, and that’s true, but only to a point.  I think that many of the basics are the same, regardless of format, but once you start looking at exceptions, things get specific to various types of media pretty quickly.  The compulsory licenses for music are a good example of this.  Also, for media the risks and relationships are often quite different than for text.  There are maybe more risks of litigation when dealing with larger companies, and there are often closer, interdependent relationships when dealing with smaller distributors and companies.

What are some of the most common questions and problems that you deal with around media? 

Anne:  Well, they’re all usually multi-faceted.  Many of them revolve around what constitutes a classroom showing or what may be used within their course pages on sakai, etc.

•    Answer questions from a faculty member about showing video in classes and in training sessions

•    research on NC law for pre-1972 sound recordings, which are not covered by Federal copyright law.

When someone says “Scholarly Communications,” people often just think about copyright and open access.  What are some of the other aspects of your work with Scholarly Communications — what other things are prevalent and of note?

Anne:  Privacy!  Privacy issues have really come to the fore this summer and seem to revolve around many issues; in relation to disputes around social media — this has been particularly interesting (Anne takes time to note that there is a social media policy for UNC and for the library).  And, privacy — as we digitize personal collections — what is okay to put online versus what isn’t okay.  We’re focusing research on NC privacy and defamation laws particularly — so we do have a better sense of what NC says.  It’s also important that we spend time outlining what questions to ask when we acquire and what questions to ask and answer when we determine what to digitize.

What do you think the future of Scholarly Communications work in libraries and on campuses will be?

Anne:  A lot of times I really think that what we see as casual communications will overtake access issues…peer-reviewed journals will become less and less important — tenure is drying up, traditional reference work is expiring…

And it makes me think about what the library’s bread and butter is going to be…perhaps boutique services tied to specific research — statistics and big data;  GIS; Media;  hard tech skills.  I think there may be less room for generalists and more interest in folks with advanced degrees more closely tied to the curriculum they support.  This move away from generalists is true of academia as a whole right now.


The following is a list of a few suggested resources related to Scholarly Communications, Digital Scholarship and copyright (this is a brief, partial list).

•    ACRL offers a Scholarly Communications Toolkit (http://scholcomm.acrl.ala.org/).

•    Kevin Smith’s blog at Duke (http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/).

•    Site dedicated to providing information and commentary about digital curation and scholarship (http://digital-scholarship.org/).

•    Columbia University’s Copyright Advisory Office is one of the best sites from Kenny Crews, an authoritative voice in this area (http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/blog/).

•    Know Your Copyrights, a project of the Association of Research Libraries (http://www.knowyourcopyrights.org).


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