would be willing to commit their institution “to making public the content of
publisher agreements, including pricing, special arrangements, and other
privileges.” Thirty-five percent of audience members indicated they would
commit to public disclosure “under all circumstances,” and forty-four
percent indicated they would “under most circumstances.” The ARL Board
also supported a resolution from the Scholarly Communication Steering
Committee to “strongly encourage ARL member libraries to refrain from
signing agreements with publishers or vendors, either individually or
through consortia, that included non-disclosure or confidentiality clauses.”
The values of transparency and public disclosure that underlie state open
records laws should guide library transactions whether their home
institutions are public or private. Libraries should respect that commercial
partners may need to protect certain business and technological secrets, but
not agree to keep licenses or core financial arrangements confidential.
Libraries must “insist on their own right to discuss aspects pertaining to their
broader community.”5
Principle 8: Libraries should ensure that the confidentiality
of users is protected in the vendor’s products.
The confidentiality of usage data is one of the guiding principles of the
library profession. In almost every state, library usage data is also protected
by law. If a library digitized and made accessible to its patrons resources
from its holdings, it should hold in confidence any personally identifiable
information associated with the use of that material. The same principle
should apply to material digitized by a commercial entity working in
partnership with the library. Libraries should insist that personally
identifiable information is scrubbed from commercial log files and content
management systems. Alternatively, commercial systems must offer library
patrons the option of reading and working anonymously.
Principle 9: Libraries should refrain from charging fees or
royalties for access to or non-commercial use of public
domain materials held in their collections.
The combination of digitization technologies and Internet distribution can
radically transform how researchers make use of special collections
materials. As the Budapest Open Access Initiative has noted, “removing
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The Collaborative Imperative: Special Collections in the Digital Age
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C O N T I N U E D
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DECEMBER 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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