When is it appropriate for a librarian to put copyright material on e-reserve for student use? And what does 'fair use' constitute in the library context - in US law at least?

So, a hat tip to the people over at BoingBoing for linking to an excellent new resource for librarians, a Code of Best Practice in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, developed by librarians under the aegis of the Association of Research Libraries.

The Code (its aims and objectives are discussed in greater length here) deals with frequently asked questions in higher education, such as:

  • When and how much copyrighted material can be digitized for student use? And should video be treated the same way as print?

  • How can libraries’ special collections be made available online?

  • Can libraries archive websites for the use of future students and scholars?

It's a fascinating and very worthwhile resource, which is free to download here. We'd strongly recommend anyone with an interest in research librarianship, and/or issues in copyright take a look.