Posts by Terry Simpkins


Another copyright case, another victory for libraries

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Last Tuesday, in the case of Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to uphold the “first sale” doctrine for materials purchased from non-U.S. sources.  This ruling allows legal purchasers of copyrighted material from overseas to continue to subsequently resell, loan, rent, etc., copyrighted material.  The first sale doctrine, in general, is the exemption that allows libraries to loan books to borrowers, video stores (those that are left) to rent DVDs, or individuals to loan or resell a book or CD or other copyrighted work to someone else without fear of running afoul of the normal protection afforded to copyright holders to control the sale and distribution of their copyrighted content.

At issue in the Kirsaeng case was whether or not materials purchased overseas were subject to this exemption, or if the exemption applied only to those copyrighted materials purchased within the United States.  The plaintiff, publisher John Wiley & Sons, argued that the exemption did not apply to works intended to be sold overseas, and that the defendant, a graduate student named Supap Kirtsaeng, had violated copyright law by purchasing textbooks in Thailand intended for that market (and sold there at a lower price than in the U.S.) and then reselling them in the United States to help finance the cost of his graduate education.

Why is this important for Middlebury?  Because Middlebury libraries purchase at least 10% (by cost) of our material from overseas vendors.  (This is a conservative estimate based on our expenditures with our primary foreign dealers; the actual percentage is certainly higher, although probably not by much.)  If this case had been decided differently, there would be considerable doubt as to whether we could continue to loan materials purchased overseas without some sort of legislative intervention that specifically allowed it.

If you would like to read more about the case and its implications, take a look at this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Kenneth Crews, from Columbia U., has an excellent analysis on his blog here, and Kevin Smith at Duke has a couple of posts here and here.  And if you are a true glutton for punishment, the full text of the SCOTUS decision is here (pdf).

Area 51 notes, Jan. 31, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present: Mike Roy, Mary Backus, Chris Norris, Terry Simpkins
Absent: Doreen, Carol

We began with discussing next steps for the policy review process and suggested the following plan outline:

  • Create inventory and review policy documents in the handbook for currency, completeness, accuracy, and usefulness.
  • Inventory internal LIS policies, with the possibility of a survey to capture missing policies or to review and revise existing policies.
  • We discussed ownership of “College” policies that reside within the LIS section of the handbook, but aren’t strictly limited to LIS processes (e.g. copyright, data privacy, etc.)  Does LIS “own” policies because of where they are situated within the handbook?
  • We want to focus on policies that are problematic.
  • Mike agreed to draft a plan to send to the directors.

We talked briefly about the APS timeline for LIS staff.  HR confirmed that this year’s deadline is officially Mar. 31, 2013.  SInce this falls on a Sunday, we can submit are documents to HR on Monday Apr. 1, 2013.

LIS internal deadlines will be similar to last year:

  • Self-evaluations and team 360s are due  to managers by Monday, Feb. 18; a notice of the team evaluation process will go out this week;
  • Managers will need to make a recommendations to their director about how their staff members performed by Friday, Mar. 1;
  • LIS Directors will communicate decisions regarding ratings back to managers by Friday, Mar. 8;
  • Performance reviews should be scheduled during the period between March 11 and March 22;
  • Forms should be signed by both staff member and manager and in to Doreen by Monday, Mar. 25;
  • All reviews will be signed and delivered to HR by Monday, Apr. 1.

Chris wants to communicate with Google Apps users regarding the discovery of phishing attempts through a design flaw in Google Apps.  Specifically, if you are signed in already but click on a malicious link, the browser displays the URL such that the form appears to be hosted within our Middlebury google apps instance even if it is not.  Mike mentioned that, even generally, a URL showing the Middlebury domain is not an absolute guarantee of legitimacy, since students can create pages and forms as well.  Chris also suggested we restart the discussion about our intentions for Google Apps.

We discussed a new security issue involving phone calls from people falsley claiming to be “Middlebury Support Services”. Public Safety and the Helpdesk have been informed.

Thanks for reading,

Area 51 notes, Jan. 24, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mike Roy, Terry Simpkins, Chris Norris, Mary Backus, Doreen Bernier

Bill Burger, Vice President for Communications joined us for part of the meeting to introduce himself to the directors.  Each of us described the organizational structure of our area and our team’s responsibilities.  General discussion centered around areas where both LIS and Communications overlap, such as the college website, copyright and events requiring media assistance.

The rest of the meeting was dedicated to addressing the recent security event affecting the campus email system.

Agenda for Jan. 31

  • Curricular Tech Team visits (10:00)  – to be rescheduled
  • LIS stats (Mike)
  • policy summit review/next steps
  • finalize 2013 APS timeline

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, Jan. 17, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Chris Norris, Terry Simpkins, Carol Peddie, Mary Backus, Mike Roy and Doreen Bernier

As part of our disaster recovery planning efforts, Chris has been interviewing functional areas across campus  to inventory work processes and discuss  contingency planning efforts in the event critical system are not available.  Chris indicated that he may need assistance with this interview process from the ADs.  Once the interviews are done and the data is gathered and stored, the functional areas will be expected to update and maintain their own information on a yearly basis.

On Friday, the ADs will be holding a retreat to discuss budget planning.  A short discussion was held outlining the afternoon’s agenda.

Mike will invite Bill Burger, the new Vice President for Communications to next week’s AD meeting to meet the group.

We talked about some of the MISO Survey results and what our next steps might be to make improvements to our services.  Some suggestions are to:

  • Additional data gathering re: public printers on campus, video conferencing and helpdesk.
  • Look at the Liaison Program and see how it ties into current and future assessment pieces.
  • Make  “wireless” a priority project to help make improvements across campus.  Increase WAPs in residence halls and change out those that are problematic.

We discussed ways to encourage more staff award nominations.  Terry will join the R&R crew as sponsor.  We also briefly discussed ideas for the upcoming in-service day to be held during March break.  Perhaps a security theme, but we can’t tell you about it (just kidding!)…

February’s optional All LIS Staff meeting will be about project prioritization.

We talked about keeping the “Outage & Alerts” page up-to-date on the LIS site.  Mary reminded us that any LIS blog post relating to downtimes, outages, etc., tagged with “Helpdesk Alert” will automatically feed the Outage & Alerts page as well.

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, Jan. 10, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Short & sweet this time…

Present:  Mike, Terry, Chris, Mary and Doreen

We spent the meeting time discussing a draft survey designed to assess project and work prioritization within workgroups and teams.  The survey looks at the criteria workgroups use to make prioritization decisions, how they communicate priorities, and the frequency with which priorities shift over time, and how they link to other planning efforts. This survey will be presented for further discussion at a future Managers’ meeting and at an open meeting.

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, Dec. 20, 2012

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present: Chris, Doreen, Carol, Mike, Mary, Terry

In advance of meeting, Chris distributed the latest version of the Data Classification Policy for review.  The policy describes various types of data classification (e.g. sensitive) and how they should be handled, but does not discuss policy enforcement.  The Data Classification Taskforce may suggest names of people to serve as “data stewards” within functional areas, but it will be up to the FA to appoint the data steward.

Some suggestions from the ADs were to:

  • provide training for data stewards, possibly in conjunction with the Training & Education and Security Teams
  • provide training for new employees
  • edit the policy to reflect current thinking about how we write policies, e.g., lay out the “why this is important” up front and recast the preamble in plainer language.
  • create a timeline listing activities and who will be responsible for these activities

Next Steps:

  • Data Classification Taskforce should begin conversations within their areas
  • Have this discussion added to the LEADS agenda (possibly February 18th)
  • Mike would like to present this to President’s Staff, possibly at their March 2013 meeting

Chris also announced that the PCI Policy (Policy for Accepting Credit Card and eCommerce Payments) has been approved by Patrick Norton and has been posted to the Controller’s website.  An early January email from Patrick to all staff explaining this policy will be sent out.

A brief discussion was held regarding the eNewsletter and how we communicate to the college community.  Should this discussion be to move this to the Communications Taskforce?  Since their current charge is to evaluate internal communications, this could be something to consider in a subsequent phase, either with this group or a new one focusing on external communications.

We made good progress on finalizing Education and Training Team membership.  We still need to have a few conversations with staff before announcing, but stay tuned.

Mike asked the ADs to think about how we can improve our project prioritization practices. An AD meeting in January will be dedicated to this topic.  Specifically:

  • how do LIS priorities fit with College priorities
  • how do ad hoc projects get integrated into existing planned commitments?
  • how do we keep focused on high-level (e.g. data classification, information literacy, SLAs, etc.) issues and make reviewing projects habitual?

Thanks for reading,

Terry & Doreen

Area 51 Notes, Dec. 13, 2012

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mike Roy, Chris Norris, Carol Peddie, Mary Backus, Terry Simpkins and Doreen Bernier

Mike provided a summary of his CLIR-CIO meeting in Washington DC.  Some of the topics discussed were:

  • MISO survey
  • Digital scholarship
  • On-line education
  • Classroom design
  • Quiet zones in the library
  • Security
  • Organizational structure
  • Collection development issues

The Dec. 20th optional all-LIS staff meeting has been canceled.  Happy holidays

Chris led a discussion about next steps regarding our policy review (aka, Policy Summit). We looked at some of Gartner’s recommendations for policy management. After reviewing notes from the Policy Summit meeting and survey results, the following topics stood out:

  • Data ownership, privacy, classification
  • Education and awareness
  • Technology enablers (ie. tools)
  • Governance and enforcement

A consolidated list of next steps was generated:

  • Inventory all LIS policies and policies that affect LIS
    • What do we have? What’s missing? What’s no longer needed?
    • Where are the policies? When were they last updated? Who is responsible for each policy?
    • Does the policy work? Would it work if it was enforced? How to deal with exceptions?
    • Is it an LIS policy or a College policy (or other, such as a guideline, practice, or procedure)?
  • Determine institutional temperature of policy
    • Who should be leading this effort? Who should be involved?
    • Relationship to the data classification taskforce work?
    • What should the priorities be (i.e., currency, legal)?
    • What is the institutional philosophy around policies (e.g., comprehensive, prescribed? simple, broadly worded?

Chris reported that the final draft of the Data Classification Policy (created by the Data Classification Taskforce) has been completed. A review of this draft will be added to next week’s AD agenda for further discussion.

Chris has contacted Donna McDurfee, who sends out yearly update notifications on handbook policies, to request a spreadsheet containing an inventory of the current policies as a starting point.

Discussion touched the issue of which policies (vs., for example, guidelines or procedures) to prioritize.  There was at least some sentiment to focus on policies with an element of enforcement to them (as opposed to, for example, something like the library gift policy that mainly provides guidance to staff as well as donors).

A second round of Policy Summit discussions will continue during the January Optional All-Staff meeting on January 17th.

The ADs discussed whether the LIS Strategic Directions need to be updated.  It has been several years since the last revision. Sentiment varied as to whether we have the time, and whether it is worth the effort, to engage in this now.

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen