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October 24, 2005

Becky's Blurbs: HBR Digital Content Posting Rules

Last Tuesday, I was part of a group of 16 business librarians (most of us were directors/heads of academic business libraries) met in a faciliated discussion with HBS Publishing. Despite their introductory comments that they wanted to "clarify" with us their position and wanted our feedback, the following message was still reinforced:

We do not permit the posting of our cases, articles, or chapters on "e-reserve" course pages for student access, nor in "electronic coursepacks" that link to our digitized content, nor on course management systems such as WebCT or Blackboard, unless doing so via our Course Planning system. Such unauthorized postings are equivalent to distributing our copyrighted content to students, and doing so without our permission infringes that copyright. This is so even if the content is being used for the first time and is password-protected, accessible only to students in the course, and taken down at the end of the course. Please do not post or display HBSP content in this way. Using our Course Planning tool is every bit as easy and functional.

Clearances for your coursepacks can be obtained from your institution's copyright permissions coordinator (You will have to use Campus Bookstore for this). See more information on our Course Planning tool on our web site.

It was a lively discussion. I think HBS was looking for a "mending wall" (to use the metaphor of Robert Frost's famous poem), but they got Robert Frost's viewpoint instead of his neighbor's, which they wanted to hear.

It was my view along with my other colleagues that HBSP's thinking is rather backwards concerning "fair use" of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in providing a direct link to the article that you can get from EBSCO Business Source Premier, whether the instructor does it or the Library does for e-reserves. They were unfamiliar with other types of technology that could lead one to the link.

Their concern is that e-reserves or links from syllabi were taking over as coursepacks (where permissions are required for both case studies and reprints) and eating into their revenues in order for students not to have to pay. We explained that it was convenient and that it did not make sense for a citation to be provided, only for the student to be told to come into the library to read the print version of the article; moreover, they forgot about distance learners. We still didn't understand the economic harm to them.

According to EBSCO, it is not permissible to provide the direct link to HBR within the bounds of their contract. We were not aware of this. Thus, there will come a time in the very near future whereby they (EBSCO) will know by IP address who is doing this, even if the link is behind WebCT or First Class.

Here's one thing our researchers can do, once they have the correct citation, is find a virtual shelf of HBR issues. How do you do this?

First, search our online research resources and type in the journal name, "Harvard Business Review". (If you are off-campus, you will be asked to supply your net ID and password.

Next, click the link that reads 10/1922 to present, then you will be taken directly to a screen that on the right side lists all of the years of issues. The researcher can click the year, then the Month of that year that matches the date in the citation.

These are a couple of extra steps, but they do not violate the spirit of the use of EBSCO Business Source Premier. But stay tuned.

Posted by Becky at October 24, 2005 6:20 PM Posted to Becky's Blurbs | Perspectives