Fair Use & Information Literacy in Academic Libraries

Fair Use


Whoa! May I call June 8th at Mortenson Center a day for academic librarians? We had three sessions on Jun 8th, and it was really great time for me to learn and widen my horizon in regard of academic librarianship. The three sessions (Fair Use, Information Literacy, and Evaluation) were all informative and fairly important, but on this post I will focus more on the first two topics, because one is not quite prevalent or well understood and the other is most closely related to my work.


The Basics of US Copyright


Of course, US Copyright law is different from Korean one, but it was a great session taught me the concept of fair use and copyright in general. I was surprised that in U.S. copyright is guaranteed by the constitution and the bar is pretty low. What’s more, libraries and librarians are exempted from most of those rules, because though they “violate” the copyright while doing their job, most of the time their purposes fall into the fair use categories. (Sara told me her friend calls it “Librarians’ Super Power” haha)


Sara's LibGuides on Copyright:
Author's Rights and Copyright
Copyright Guide for Undergraduate Journals
Copyright Reference Guide
Course Materials and Copyright for Professors
Korean Copyright Law
저작권법 [2017.3.21.]


It was really good to know what can be considered as fair use, because sometimes I got questions from instructors at my home university but the direction I gave them was so slack. Sara’s lecture and her LibGuides will be good examples for me to start to think of publishing my library’s LibGuides on this topis.

Now I know a bit better, and would be able to check the revised copyright law of South Korea and compare it to the U.S. copyright laws and its ‘Librarians’ Super Power.’ The Korean copyright law was revised and promulgated recently in March, because the old ones was so outdated, such as, ‘Photocopiers cannot be provided by the library; Articles cannot be sent in PDF formats,’ I think it might have some changes on those parts, hopefully, and expect we could make our effort all together to armor ourselves and customers with ‘the librarians’ super power.’



Information Literacy


This session was very helpful and  relevant to me because one of my other responsibilities is giving user instructions. It helped me a lot to clear and organize my thoughts in information literacy and library education, which were derived from my past experiences. I agree the concept very much that we need to provide a wider range of information from internet sources to academic databases to help students to decide to come and use the library’s resources, not because we persuade them but they get to know our resources are better than quick and easy internet sources.

There were some inspiring lessons, like the gap between our expectations and the students’ behaviors in seeking information. Firstly, librarians assume that students know there are many great resources in the library but they don’t know even that they exist. Secondly, librarians assume that students will/should use the library’s resources if they know the existence but they don’t because they just don’t want to. Thirdly, librarians think the information literacy is a very general skill but students need more context specific information literacy which can varies depending on the subject, purpose, status etc. Therefore we need to keep trying to provide quality information with a set of skills that can be differently applied to the context, and also need to purchase alternative finding tools if there is some information unable to search or have been excluded from our current system.


I also liked the part that we make our own statement about information literacy based on the structure that is “I want them (students/patrons/users/customers etc.) to: 1) be able to ________; 2) with information so they can __________; 3) in order to __________.” We had a time to think about it and filled the blank of each phrase. What did you come up with?


Mine is the following:

” When I wish them to be information literate, I want them to be able to know there are more than they think they can do with information so that they can look up and have the tools and abilities in order to be more productive and successful.”

Do you like it? Do you like your own statement?



* WIPO’s global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation (WIPO: The World Intellectual Property Organization)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s