CODE OF BEST PRACTICES IN FAIR USE FOR ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH LIBRARIES
• The case for fair use will be at its strongest when the database includes
information such as rich metadata that augments the research or reference value
of its contents.
• Assertions of fair use will be particularly persuasive when libraries cooperate
with other institutions to build collective databases that enable more extensive
scholarship or reference searching.
COLLECTING MATERIAL POSTED ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB AND
MAKING IT AVAILABLE
Gathering impressions of ephemeral Internet material such as web pages, online
video, and the like is a growth area in academic and research library collection-
building, with activities typically focusing on areas in which the institution has an
established specialty, or on sites speciﬁc to its local area. Such collections represent a
unique contribution to knowledge and pose no signiﬁcant risks for owners of either
the sites in question or third-party material to which those sites refer. In the absence
of such collections, important information is likely to be lost to scholarship.
Selecting and collecting material from the Internet in this way is highly
transformative. The collecting library takes a historical snapshot of a dynamic
and ephemeral object and places the collected impression of the site into a new
context: a curated historical archive. Material posted to the Internet typically serves
a time-limited purpose and targets a distinct network of users, while its library-
held counterpart will document the site for a wide variety of patrons over time. A
scholar perusing a collection of archived web pages on the Free Tibet movement,
or examining the evolution of educational information on a communicable
disease, seeks and encounters that material for a very different purpose than the
creators originally intended. Preserving such work can also be considered strongly
transformative in itself, separate from any way that future patrons may access it.
Authors of online materials often have a speciﬁc objective and a particular audience
in mind; libraries that collect this material serve a different and broader purpose and
a different and broader network of users. Libraries collect not only for a wide range
of purposes today, but also for unanticipated uses by future researchers.