Allison Nowicki Estell’s CC-BY-NC-ND licensed chapter in the ACRL book Copyright Conversations is available here: Copyright Self-Study: How to Know What You Know, What You Don’t Know, and How to Discover What You Need to Know Next.
Sara: Hello and welcome to another episode of Copyright Chat. Today I am visiting with Allison Estell, the associate director for access and organization from Wentworth Institute of Technology. Allison, welcome to the show.
Allison: Hi Sara. Thank you so much for having me.
Sara: So I wanted to have you on the show because I am so interested in some of your research and I noticed that through your title you don’t necessarily have a copyright related title or job description. How did you get interested in copyright?
Allison: Well, that’s true. It’s not in my title. It hasn’t really been in any of my titles, but it kind of creeps into my job descriptions because I have a law degree. Now that said, I did not actually study any intellectual property or copyright while I was in law school. But I think once I’ve gotten to my first library job, the credential itself was enough for people to say, “Okay, let’s send these questions and projects Allison’s way.”
Allison: So, and it’s really interesting so that was a good thing then when I was tasked with it, I found it to be also interesting. So yeah, I found myself just thrown into a role that I didn’t really have a background in or education in specifically, and I just took what I knew from law school and learning how to learn and I dug in and I did have some resources along the way. In my first library job, I was actually a library student as well in a library assistant role. And so I was able to take a copyright course from, actually not, I graduated from Simmons, but I took a course through our wise consortium was from San Jose State and it gave me some of the basics to get me started. But then a lot of the projects and questions that ensued, I had to kind of supplement on my own.
Sara: And you talk about supplementing on your own. And I know in the recent book that was edited by myself, Copyright Conversations, you wrote about kind of self learning copyright. And I found that chapter one of the most, I think useful chapters in the book because so many people are in that boat, right? They’re just asked what’s the answer to this question? And they have no background. So can you talk a little bit about developing that chapter?
Allison: Oh absolutely. So as I mentioned, I’d been kind of thrown into doing some copyright here and there and I even had found that people in my other world, I’m also a musician and I would play in some orchestras and people would know, oh, this person is a librarian and also she has a law degree. I bet she can help me find legal information. And so in addition to questions I was getting in the course of my job, people outside of work were also asking me to help them with copyright questions, which again, I always phrase everything with this is not legal advice. I’m just providing legal information.
Allison: But especially because I don’t work in the music library and I’m not really up on either sound recording issues or a lot of the other things that are specific to music, I found myself not having a ton of time but wanting to help and really talking people through, okay, I would have to learn about this myself anyway right now. Let’s learn it together or let me point you to the right resources where you can learn about this and where and give you some of the critical thinking and kind of mindset skills that you would need to make a decision. Because ultimately the copyright questions that people bring to us as librarians are ultimately going to be the decision is ultimately our patrons decision to make. We’re just giving the information for other people to make their own determinations, decide how much, how they want to handle a situation and so on.
Allison: So I found myself advising other people, kind of sharing my own experience. And then when I saw that you had made a call for proposals, I thought, wow, I wonder if I should talk a little bit about what it’s been like to try to learn in the moment really, really quickly with, I had kind of been learning copyright on my own, but also thinking about self directed learning. And that was another little point that my research was starting to take on towards some of the educational theory and it kind of paired together at that moment in time as a way to investigate whether there was a way to describe what I had been doing and what I had been advising other people to do. So I found it really interesting and useful intellectual exercise for me to try to get that down on paper.
Sara: Now you mentioned that you have a law degree. I do as well. Do you think that copyright is accessible to non-lawyers as who are librarians?
Allison: I think that it absolutely is. I know lots and lots of librarians who are thrown into this role without a law degree, but one of the things I tried to incorporate into my chapter was this kind of almost like a window into the world of what you learn in law school that might be applicable to this study. Again, I didn’t study this content in law school, but through the course of a legal education as you know, you kind of develop these analytical skills and this mindset or perspective that the law is this changing thing. It’s so dynamic. All the time, things are changing with the law and I mean especially in copyright, not only is the law changing but then the facts of any given situation might make a really big difference. So that’s something that I know is true in copyright but because it’s true, excuse me, it’s true in almost all areas of law.
Allison: I mean some things are heavily regulated and give you lots of kind of interpretive guidance and other things, you’re just out there trying to figure it out in the moment how to apply it and that’s why there’s lots of lawyers and judges and people to help us out. That said, the copyright law has tried to identify certain themes and expectations with library exceptions or the biggest thing we see in libraries is fair use anyway as a legal concept that I think are accessible to people once they have put the right mindset cap on or whatever, like don’t think you can master it all in advance. Try to figure out who your good resources are.
Allison: I mean, I think it encroaches upon our work and informs our work so much that I think that it’s a good thing it’s somewhat accessible and nobody’s being asked to provide the legal advice. Again, nobody’s being asked to practice law. They’re just being asked to provide legal information, which is the same as if somebody comes with an engineering question or a humanities question. You don’t need to be a subject specialist if you’re thinking with your librarian cap on. You’re trying to just help people find the information they need to make their own decisions.
Sara: That’s true. There are also a lot of decisions that we make as librarians on a daily basis to apply fair use to our own work where we do get to make those “legal decisions”, but for our own purposes, right?
Allison: Right. In a way, I really feel like we’re making a judgment as a user of information. If you think about copyright as having, people create something and then the creator has some rights in what they’ve created, to the thing they’ve created. But then there’s also these rights to use this that the constitution laid out so that scientific progress would occur and arts and progress in all of the intellectual endeavors of human beings. And so it’s meant to balance the rights that a creator would have and a user would have. And since we’re all, we’re often creating, but we’re also always using, so the way that the lawyer piece of it would come in is just trying to as a guide or advisor to the user or the creator, I mean the real relationship between, with the information is between the creator and the user. And the rest of it is more of a support. So yes, we’re active users all the time and we are constantly making decisions about hopefully what we think is fair is also kind of considered to be fair in the best practices of our communities.
Sara: Yeah, I think that’s right. I mean, we’re not acting as “lawyers” when we decide I’m going to create this exhibit and it’s fair use, but we’re acting as users, as any other user would as a patron would. But we are then able to hopefully make a fair use determination using our good judgment. And I think that that is where I try to empower librarians to feel that they can actually engage with fair use in their daily work and not feel that they need to shy away from it.
Allison: Right. I mean, if you think about you come up to a red light in the middle of the night and no one’s around, and when you decide whether to stay at the red light or make a right on red, even though there’s a sign, you’re not acting as a lawyer who’s assessing this, you’re just in the moment, you’re assessing your own risk as a driver, not as a lawyer or a policeman or anything else if you, I’m not saying whether you take the right turn or not on red, but you’re making your own assessment there. And I think it’s interesting to think about too. One of the things that struck me early on as I was thinking about learning about copyright and thinking about specifically fair use, which is just one portion of all of our copyright laws, is how much even the legal cases are governed by the community and best practices that exist in trying to determine what is reasonable and what people are doing.
Allison: Judges really do look at what communities of people are doing and that’s why we have a lot of the ARL like best practices and fair use and so on because it’s a shared community of what do we need to interpret this together. We can’t, we have to have some things we can agree upon and if we agree upon them, it’s more likely that a judge will think any one person doing one thing is reasonable because it’s kind of how like the way the tide is turning with this issue. There are always going to be a range of responses to a particular dilemma you’re facing and you can be more conservative or more liberal about it.
Allison: And people who are more activist for user’s rights might try to move best practices in a more user-focused way and people who are more conservative about it might end up making decisions not to use information that they might have the right to use, but just to be sure that they’re not encroaching on creators rights. So there’s a whole range. That’s the other thing is there’s not really a right answer. It’s more like a range of things and which can be really uncomfortable when you’re trying to advise somebody how to gather information and how they might want to use it. Again, that’s again why it’s good you’re not giving legal advice. It’s just there’s a range of potentially totally fine ways to respond to something and it has to do with individual’s comfort level and how they choose to use the information to make decisions in their lives.
Sara: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. And I raised that the other day with someone who said, “Well, do you advise people to exercise fair use?” And I said, “I want people to feel comfortable exercising fair use, but that’s a personal decision and I’m not going to force anyone to do something.” First of all, I’m not their lawyer. And second of all, this is a personal risk decision and some people are just risk averse and they’re going to pay for every single license they can find whether they need to or not. And if there’s no license, they’re going to go and find somebody and ask permission and get it in writing and that’s just how they’re going to operate. And I’m not going to tell them that that approach is wrong. That’s not the approach I would take, but I think it is very individualized in terms of how people feel about their risk assessment.
Allison: I absolutely agree and I think that probably would transfer as well to help people choose to provide the information in the first place. There might be people who are choosing, I think people should take a good look at where they fall on that spectrum as a user and whether that bias might be coming through in the way that they’re providing the information to people. It sounds like you’re really trying to be very agnostic about what to do and very neutral to really leave the decision making power where it really should be, which is with the actual user. But it can be, I’m incredibly risk averse. And so it’s really hard for me to admit that something might be okay to do. In fact, actually this is so funny.
Allison: Last night I got a phone call from someone, a musician I know and a musician we know in common was like, “Oh you should call Allison.” And I’m thinking why, why, it’s going to stress me out so much. But it was a really interesting question about a piece that’s in the public domain originally, like the manuscript, a musical piece. And it’s in the public domain in its country of origin, even the published edition of it, but it’s not in the public domain here, but the performance is going to take place in the other country and somebody’s created a new edition and it says it’s the public domain, but how can we know and oh well if they really based it on the original piece, there’s just a whole big, all of a sudden I found myself in somebody else’s world again of I’m pretty darn sure this is okay, but and I mean I’m like 99.99999% based on the all the other facts I won’t get into right now that I’m so sure this is okay, but I could not bring myself to unequivocally say that it was okay.
Allison: Because really what they wanted me to do anyway, luckily, was to let to kind of reinforce their own thinking, here’s what I’m thinking. Is this a reasonable stance to take? And it was really hard. I have to look at my own bias. I should’ve probably been a little bit more like, yeah, that’s totally fine. But because I’m so risk averse, I kept hedging. I have found myself, I was kind of cringing, can’t you just admit that this whole thing, it’s a public domain thing, but based on another thing that’s in the public domain, I just really don’t want to take the responsibility for somebody else’s actions and that’s something I need to look at.
Sara: Yeah. I mean at the end of the day, that’s their decision. And because you’re not their lawyer, you shouldn’t be taking on the any kind of risk there. But intellectual exercises are always fun, right, to say what would happen if this, what would happen if that, but right. I mean I always, when I teach to the high school students, I do emphasize to them that we do a lot of actually interpreting fair use and I give them examples and I say that’s fine to do for your own uses because you’re then the user. But when someone else is trying to use it and they want your opinion, that’s when you can start getting into the uncomfortable territory. And I think it’s more likely for us as lawyers to get into that uncomfortable territory because people want us to give legal advice.
Sara: So yeah, whether it’s in our professional lives or otherwise, because I get a lot of questions outside of work as well. And I actually am not as risk averse in my own personal life, but I’m definitely not comfortable giving out legal advice because I’m not practicing as a lawyer, so I have the Texas bar and the Illinois bar, but neither one of them are active. I’m not, because I don’t want to have to deal with all the continuing legal education and I’m not required to practice law in my current position. So it’s a little easier to just say, “Hey, I’m not even practicing so I can’t give you any advice.”
Allison: Yeah, I mean it’s true. And I will say that also, I’m also a perfectionist. So you magnify that. I want to be right on top of the fact that I also don’t want to, I think it’s interesting what you bring up the idea of the ethics of this too as a lawyer because I’m also a member of the Massachusetts bar, but an inactive member like you and I’m not, I do not want to be practicing law. I don’t have the insurance to back it up, you know?
Allison: But also I think, so I have this ethical obligation to lay out what the parameters are of my conversation with somebody about this. But I also think that because especially in higher education, the library is where people are going for help. So often I owe it to my colleagues as well and anybody who’s, to not over-represent what I’m able to do in case people see another librarian and think, well Allison was able to give me this kind of information with this kind of certainty. How come these other people can’t do this? Or I mean I think it’s really important absolutely to realize the role that we’re functioning in, like you said. I 100% agree with you on that.
Sara: But also that brings up another part of your research, which is, as you noted, a lot of folks are coming to the library for copyright information, all kinds of information, but increasingly copyright information. And I believe you were part of a survey of the United States, I think librarians and their knowledge of copyright. Can you talk a little bit about your findings there?
Allison: Sure, absolutely. Well, over the course of doing my library research and study in graduate school, I ended up connecting with a professor where she had connected with colleagues from around the world who were doing a copyright study about librarians’ self awareness of copyright and self knowledge and assessment of their copyright internationally. And they asked her, Laura Saunders, to conduct the American iteration, the US iteration of this study. And she said, “Well, Allison is, I’m learning about copyright through Allison’s independent projects here. Why don’t we work together?” So we started while I was still in school and then we since then we have continued to collaborate on that as well as a study of LIS, library and information science students’ self awareness of copyright as well. I mean it’s a self assessment of their knowledge and awareness.
Allison: So this was really put together by colleagues in, I think, I’m trying to think where the original three people were from. Perhaps it was, we have Croatia and I’m trying to think, I don’t want to miscount the original three people. I’m kind of losing track of who started the initiative, but we had colleagues in Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, France. I have a list so I don’t forget anybody. Hungary, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, and the United Kingdom as well as Laura and me from the United States. And so the survey was developed in Europe and had been already run in a couple of the countries and we had to use the questions as they existed for the most part. We could make a few edits for language and so on. But what was really great about it is that we were trying to get to librarians and academic and public libraries from across the United States to look at their own perceptions of their own familiarity with and comfort with copyright concepts.
Allison: And so this was back in 2014 that we first ran the survey. It took us a while to gather everything and also then write it and get it out to the world. But we did random sampling of people across, the methodology we could talk about more later. But fundamentally we hit upon within the places it was distributed, people generally self selected to whether they were going to participate or not. 30% male, 70% female. A good number of people were over the age of 50. Many people had worked at their institution for at least 10 years. Most people had a master’s degree. So these are people who are well established professionally in their fields. And a lot of the people were in either administration or public services. And so this is just speaking about the librarians first.
Allison: Many people thought that they were at least somewhat aware of these concepts. I mean this is coming up in their work a lot. And so the thing what we couldn’t really get at was their actual knowledge. It wasn’t, we weren’t really assessing whether they were right about what they thought they knew or not, but we were assessing whether they were comfortable with various themes such as some of the things that people were most comfortable with were fair use, the public domain and again, as a kind of sister to copyright licensing is strictly speaking, these are contracts and contract law, but it feels like it’s the same thing because we’re talking about people’s intellectual property being governed by the law. And open access was another concept emerging and digitization. But then the things they were really not as clear on were some of the rights management and clearing rights and trying to get permissions and so on. Mildly familiar with, at that time, online learning. I’m sure that would be really much bigger now.
Allison: So we, in addition to asking people what concepts they were most familiar with, and I should just mention as well, all of this was pertaining to their own national copyright here, there was not as much awareness of international issues. We also asked them what their go-to resources were for trying to learn more about copyright and this is where I think librarians really need to take notice that where people are turning is to their own colleagues and to their [inaudible 00:23:02] and they’re largely turning to and some professional associations and so on. Books and articles, websites as well. But people are turning to colleagues and even when we later surveyed the students, their go-tos were librarians and LIS faculty. So it’s people really want to turn to other people for this kind of help. They’re aware of the codes, they’re aware of books and websites and articles, but it’s people that people are turning to.
Sara: Interesting. I actually did a recent study of some of my students, which we haven’t published yet. And one of the main resources my students were telling me they went to before having taken a copyright intensive course was of course Google-
Allison: Well that-
Sara: Which can, it can lead you to good resources and bad resources. Right? And so and I think that’s a common response, I’m just going to Google it. And it’s like, okay. But after having taken the course, we found that they found a lot more reliable sources. They would say, “I’m going to look at the copyright office, the United States copyright office.” I said, “Okay, that’s reliable. I don’t agree with everything that they put out, but I think it’s a reliable source of information.” I remember that study, I think talking about training. Did it talk a little bit about about training as well or am I mixing it up with something else?
Allison: You mean how people about, I’m not sure what you mean. We didn’t-
Sara: Yeah. Whether they were formally trained in copyright in their schooling or on the job.
Allison: Oh yeah. There’s probably, let me see if I can pull up my, I think I don’t have that ready at my, I don’t know if that made it into the, I’m trying to think if it made it into the paper somewhere, but a lot of people did not receive formal training on this. That’s true. But they made recommendations about the kinds of things they wanted to see, the things that they believed should be in an LIS curriculum. I mean fair use was obviously a huge, huge thing. And basically the issues in a digital age was a theme that somebody had written in very well.
Allison: And I had some nice quotes from people. One person’s was “Fair use, fair use, and fair use,” which I thought really brought that home. But they need to know, here’s a quote. “They need to know their position on copyright and how it impacts what they collect and what they want to do.” So they think people should be able to be kind of informed participants in a conversation around copyright. Creative commons licensing, the library exceptions, classroom use, those kind of came up, although we did have one respondent, “Not sure it should be covered. It can be learned on the job and via training if necessary.” So nice. Yeah. Good for that.
Sara: Okay. Well I mean I think it’s usually necessary because most people engage with copyright in some way at their job, depending on they could be in archives, they could be in preservation, they could be in digitization, they could be in even teaching and learning and reference. I mean I haven’t found an area of librarianship yet where copyright is not involved.
Allison: I agree. I think when I was trying to, I couldn’t possibly enumerate them all in the chapter, but I tried to just pick and choose some. But then you think about the things that, you can’t just base it on, oh I know you’re going to need to know about fair use and public domain and library exceptions. You know you’re going to be a reference and instruction person and needing to support people using the Teach Act for how they’re going to use information in their classrooms and online. But if you’re in a music library, you need to know a heck of a lot more about sound recordings or if you’re in a really big research institution, there’s technology transfer issues of when who owns what property, like for useful things that we want to transfer.
Allison: I mean I agree with you, the job functions as well. I mean you’ve got inter-library loan, people creating distance education materials, accessibility, and E resource management, access services and so on. Yeah, it’s really, I’m trying to think if anybody in our staff doesn’t need to know at least, doesn’t do something that they should be thinking about copyright when they’re doing it.
Sara: Yeah. I think one of the things that you mentioned earlier really stuck with me and you said, we mentioned we were able to measure their level of self confidence but not exactly what they knew. And I think it’s one thing to say, even I can say this today, I’m constantly learning something new about copyright from my colleagues, from the copyright office, from the law. And it’s changing. But even the things that are not changing, I’ll learn something new. I’ll give an example of something that I’ve learned that’s new or I knew about it, but it’s one of the things, it’s not the top of your head, which is the work made for hire distinction between the 1976 act and the 1909 act. They’re very different. And so it depends on what era you’re in, in terms of how do you measure whether it’s a work made for hire and who would be the owner of the work.
Sara: And so that’s one of the things that I learn or I remember new things. And I guess I just, that’s why I get a little bit curious about people who say, “Oh, I’m comfortable with the public domain,” because a lot of folks, and our head archivist is one who would tell me, it’s not easy to determine if something is in the public domain and he’s so right. I mean sometimes it will lead you down a rabbit trail and you’ll go down three different paths and you still are not sure. And so it’s interesting that people say that they’re confident about that because I’m not confident sometimes about whether a particular thing is in the public domain or not because it’s just such a complicated inquiry. Right?
Allison: Exactly. This thing last night, I was just thinking, well you’re using something that has been offered up with a creative commons license that is essentially the public domain. It’s just you have to just attribute the addition to this person. But suppose that person hadn’t used a manuscript that everybody is really confident is in the public domain, the composer’s actual handwriting of the time from however long ago. Suppose that person had actually made a mistake and the edition that they prepared wasn’t in the public domain at the time that they prepared this new thing they’re offering up to you for free. Whose problem is that? Is that just the creator of the edition or is that my problem as a user of his edition? I don’t know how much due diligence a person is supposed to do into something like that.
Allison: A newly published and newly introduced into the public domain thing, I don’t, this is the part where I quibbled a little bit, so maybe it wasn’t as risk averse as I was portraying myself, but I am not trying to verify what the person who created that edition, I’m not trying to verify the accuracy of their research into this, although, I mean, you can hear facts and say this is probably largely true, but even if I’m wrong about that, is it the user’s problem or is it the person who thinks they created something they can put into the public domain? How far does it flow through the liability?
Sara: What you’re saying is so true for libraries too, right? Because we have, for instance, a lot of things that we put metadata on and we try to be accurate with the right statements and we try to say if we think something’s in the public domain, hopefully we’ll label it public domain, United States. Right? But, and then the question is, what if we’re not sure, what if we are sure but we’re wrong? Right? And so we always then have to have this limitation of liability that says, okay, patrons, we are trying to do good here. Right? But we’re not responsible for everything we do and everything you might do with that work down the line. And then how much would that hold up? Right? I don’t even want to ask that question because it’s like we’re doing a good faith determination that something’s in the public domain, but that’s not an easy thing to do, especially when you have large collections. Right?
Allison: Yeah. Another thing with us, we’re just, we’re kind of a smaller shop here and we’re just starting to implement our first digital institutional repository. And one of the primary use cases is our master’s of architecture thesis, which are very image heavy and we’d like to make them available and discoverable to the public. But it’s one thing to ask someone to sign their waiver saying yeah, I’m sure everything is either my own image or I have permission for it. But yeah, it’s a big, there’s a lot to take on to think about actually putting these things out there.
Sara: Well, and a lot of things, one would hope would be fair uses and if they’re actually analyzing and contextualizing whatever they’re using in terms of transformative fair use, but that can get, that gets into the risk scenario.
Allison: Yeah. We had an international student who used a map of her home country in her thesis and her home country found out what map it was and wrote to us and wanted us to insert a different map that had different political ramifications than the map she had chosen to use. And this is her, this was just like, oh my gosh, you’re telling, this country is telling us to replace a page of her academic work. This is way above my pay grade. This is just really-
Sara: Wow that’s beyond copyright, that gets into, that’s definitely like a censorship issue.
Allison: Yeah. There’s very heavy issues that come up that you just don’t think you’re going to have to confront as a librarian. And I think that being able to kind of keep your cool and have a framework to think about these things, it’s not just having the framework, I do think it’s really important for people to kind of build up a little bit of a resource or a toolkit of some basic themes and in copyright law that they know about, some basic other resources that they would turn to, like the where are my actual information resources, are they on the web, are they people? Where’s my copyright community, where are my tools? But even within that, it’s the framing of what is your role and what do you need to tread carefully or be careful or very precise about when you’re talking about and what things should you just not even say anything about at all. Like just don’t even speak to it, just don’t even, this is not within your, you need to make a referral. It’s interesting to think about.
Sara: Well that is very true. And I think institutionally folks need to understand who the key people are in their institution and have those working relationships, whether it’s with your library Dean or your associate librarians or general counsel or all of the above. Right? Just to know where your limits are.
Allison: It’s true. And actually I’ve been working, I had been working mostly in smaller institutions that don’t have a general counsel so much as they have attorneys on retainer that you how to try to even get the ear of an attorney. I mean yes this is our person for copyright but for on a practical level, how do you get access to them to even get lawyerly type questions answered? And actually it’s funny because comparing the responses of who would you turn to or where would you turn for copyright assistance, librarians didn’t really have a high percentage that would turn to lawyers because they know we don’t always have access. But this library of students, theoretically that sounded like a great idea to them. Why not go to the people who are going to know? Except for not realizing that the resources aren’t always there to pay for it if you don’t have a general counsel or to get the access.
Sara: Well, even if you do have access to counsel, this may not be their top priority and your answer might not come for two years, so you might want to try to tackle that one locally.
Allison: That is good to know that I haven’t really been missing out that much.
Sara: Yeah. I mean we definitely collaborate, but the day to day work falls on my plate, for sure.
Allison: Yeah. Oh my God. I mean, there’s so many other things. I actually think most recently, Laura Saunders and I were presenting with people from two other institutions at the ALISE conference, the association of library and information science education or educators. I’m sorry, I forget the acronym, but we had the opportunity to have a lot of LIS faculty in the room and talking about the research that we had done, most of which is already ripe for updates. I mean there’s lots more to be done in this area. And I was going somewhere with this about this, we were surveying people. People are putting more and more copyright into their courses now, but where was I going with this that we, oh, I totally lost my train of thought. What was the last thing we were-
Sara: We were talking about having to answer the questions instead of refer them out or.
Allison: Yeah, no, it was the most recent thing that we were just saying. I feel terrible because as, oh, I know where I was. So in the discussions, we really presented our research of the various studies, but to try to get a really good conversation going, we actually poled our audience at various times to ask what their practices were, what their recommendations were, and we ended up with a great conversation at the end of the panel about, I think that when we think about LIS curriculum, we might want to think about not just copyright but also the other legal issues that are facing librarians as well. Things like the ADA, especially, accessibility issues, both physically and digitally. I think that to expand, librarians are being asked to work with the law in many different ways, not just copyright and so it’s kind of, these are some kind of affinity or kind of complimentary areas that it might make sense for us to be thinking about as well. I did eventually get there.
Sara: That’s a good point and privacy is a big issue that has come up in terms of my work before, so that’s definitely, I call these issues copyright adjacent.
Allison: Yes that’s a great way to put it.
Sara: Other duties as assigned.
Allison: Yeah, mine was covering the circulation desk this morning, but yeah, which was fun. It was good. I had a good time. I had a nice cup of coffee and some good questions. It’s true. I think it’s really, I really enjoyed, as I said, a lot of my thoughts about what I was doing in my role and how I was trying to almost learn anew every time I had a new question about copyright. They were the kind of these just generally seeds of thought that I really appreciated the chance to work through with research and context setting to be able to write the chapter that I contributed to your book. It was really helpful to me to clarify my perspective and my mindset and my thinking about this.
Allison: I kind of had this understanding of what I knew about copyright and what I didn’t know and what I was always learning fresh and kind of had started to see the patterns developing with me and when I was advising other people, the patterns I would try to continue in advising other people about how to learn about copyright. But really I think the process of trying to put it down on paper led me to this self directed learning theory that has really been so exciting for me to think about. I think a lot of learning is not just this content based, let’s master this right now, the world’s changing so fast.
Allison: It does make sense for people to think about not just information literacy and how you deal with information, but just how your literacy about your own learning and when people leave higher education they’re going to continue to have information needs of any kind, copyright or otherwise. And how people evaluate, how they even recognize a learning need, how they recognize which things they want to choose to learn about, I mean there’s so much, so many different rabbit holes you could go down with one particular question about anything, especially copyright. And so I really, I just want to thank you for the opportunity to be able to spend some time thinking about self directed learning theory and how it was perhaps complimentary to the self study of copyright.
Sara: Well that’s great. I was happy to have your chapter in the book. I think it’s really useful. I hope a lot of other people find it useful as well. Thank you so much for joining me today. I think we had a really interesting conversation that took so many different turns, but I think it ultimately is really useful to just people who are in the role of addressing copyright at their institution and folks who are interested in learning more about copyright. And so I thank you for joining me and I hope to meet you in person soon.
Allison: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure and a privilege and I also agree it would be great to meet you in person.