v27 #3 Book Reviews

by | Aug 19, 2015 | 0 comments

Monographic Musings

Column Editor: Debbie Vaughn  (Adjunct Instructor, Clemson University)

Column Editor’s Note:  To quote Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben from Spiderman fame, “with great power comes great responsibility.”  The same philosophy can be extended to the library world:  with great information comes great responsibility.  E-Resources Specialist and new MM reviewer Michelle Polchow examines an ALA publication that covers numerous topics pertaining to legal and licensing issues.  If licensing is of interest to you, you also might consider attending the following sessions at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco:

Challenges with Managing Streaming Media and other Digital Content for Academic Libraries Preconference Institute (Friday, June 26, 8:30 – 4:00)

To the MOOC and Beyond! Adventures in Online Learning, Copyright and Massive Open Online Courses (Sunday, June 28, 3:00 – 4:00)

OITP-Copyright Litigation: The Year in Review (and What’s Coming Next) (Monday, June 29, 10:30 – 11:30)

Media Streaming Showcase: Can We Talk? (Monday, June 29, 1:00 – 2:30)

These sessions are sure to provide valuable information to inform and enhance your professional library practice.

In other news, I am sad to be writing my last MM column introduction but excited to be handing the MM reigns to Regina Gong, Manager of Technical Services and Systems at Lansing Community College Library.  I cherish my affiliation with ATG; through ATG and the Charleston Conference, I have expanded my sphere of awareness of issues in not only acquisitions, publishing, and vendor relations, but also public services, professional development, and more.  I hope to continue to contribute, but my latest family addition makes time on the computer more and more sparce!  Regina has outstanding plans for this book review column;  beginning with the September issue, it will be bigger and better than ever before.

Many thanks to reviewer Michelle Polchow, new column editor Regina Gong, and all of the past MM reviewers who have contributed their time, effort, and opinions to the library and information conversation through their submissions.  Happy conferencing and happy reading, everyone! — DV


Lipinski, Thomas A. The Librarian’s Legal Companion for Licensing
Information Resources and Services.
  Chicago: ALA, 2013.
978-1-55570-610-4.  760 pages. $134.00.

Reviewed by Michelle Polchow  (Collection Development E-Resource Specialist, George Mason University)


The Librarian’s Legal Companion for Licensing Information Resources and Services is part of the Neal-Shuman series The Legal Advisor for Librarians, Educators, and Information Professionals.  This deep dive into a highly specialized field of practice will prove invaluable to a wide spectrum of readers, ranging from students of Library and Information Science to the most seasoned of negotiators.    Although author Tomas A. Lipinski warns this book is “not for the faint of heart,” the excellent organization of this complex topic reflects his aptitude for teaching, along with his credentials as Professor at the School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, JD, LLM, PhD.  The illuminating tome tackles not only the legal context of acquisitions, but situates associated entangling issues such as archiving licensed resources, termination rights, interlibrary loan, fair use, risk management, and the important role of library advocate within the negotiation process.

Whether the book is used as a course textbook, foundational material for a seminar or reading for professional improvement; the table of contents subdivides the topic into manageable units of learning.  The hefty glossary is suggested as an alternative starting point for the novice.  Beginning with an environmental scan of modern librarianship to set the stage, relevant copyright law and concepts of contract law follow, and the grand finale admirably tackles the range and nature of resources and services now licensed by libraries.  At the intersection of copyright and contract law, Lipinski provides a thorough discussion which encompasses the most perplexing issues of music, media, open source, creative commons, on down to the nuances between shrink-wrap, click-wrap and browse-wrap licenses.  Although the book as a whole could prove overwhelming, the exhaustive detail, both in the table of contents and the comprehensive subject index, offer discovery aids which transform this into an easy-to-use handbook permitting bite-size learning opportunities.  At the end of every chapter are concise summary points and extensive end notes.  Case studies, check-lists and key-clause evaluation tools round out a full licensing toolkit.

Although the book does not advocate for a model license, nor does it offer consortial negotiation strategies to leverage strength in numbers, the author develops the discussion beyond mere issues of acquisition.  The reader is assured that any effort to deepen understanding of copyright and contract law will provide a payoff in the form of greater ease with these multifaceted matters.  A key point made is negotiation is an interactive opportunity for librarians to develop licenses that reach beyond basic access, and can forge increased impact when all issues are fully grasped.  Greater understanding of key license clauses, both their inclusion and omission, can lead to a more law-compliant information resources and services environment.  And towards that goal, the library is posed for the unique role in risk management for its associated institution.  Overall, this well constructed and thorough book fills a critical hole in the library and information science literature.



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