Not Such a Big Deal

Against the Grain, Nov 2013

By Mary Ann Liebert, Published on 11/04/13

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Not Such a Big Deal

Not Such a Big Deal Mary Ann Liebert Mary Ann Liebert Follow this and additional works at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/atg Part of the Library and Information Science Commons Recommended Citation - QUESTION: Patrons often request digital copies of photographs in the library’s collection. Are there restrictions on supplying digital copies? Section 108(i) that states the rights of reproduction and distribution (as applied to libraries and archives) do not apply to a musical work, a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work, or a motion picture or other audiovisual work... does this include photographs? ANSWER: Yes it does. Libraries may reproduce copies of works for patrons upon request, such as an article, a book chapter, etc., but this general permission for libraries does not include “stand alone” photographs. If a photograph is a part of an article, it may be reproduced for a user along with the article. Not Such a Big Deal As you may know, I am a magazine junkie. So when a young college student who was selling magazine subscriptions came to the door, I welcomed him warmly. He was working to offset college expenses, he explained, and he had “wonderful packages” to offer. The selection was mind-boggling: it included newsweeklies; magazines devoted to parenting, sports, decorating, celebrity life, cars, boats and planes, health, wellness and nutrition, all were well represented, and there were the special interest titles that would appeal to wine aficionados or those who like to knit. Something for everyone and then some. I gave him my full attention. The more magazines I would purchase, the better the deal would be. The bundling and packaging offers were seductive, and magazines I would not have subscribed to otherwise suddenly became very compelling. The per-title price was dropping each time I added another. That is where the deal got really good. I justified these magazine madness moments by reassuring myself that all these publications were necessary to feed my ever-curious brain. Well, maybe not. On the other hand, I might have overnight guests who would welcome such a stash on a bedside table. Perhaps my husband would welcome more magazines in his medical office reception room. I wrote a check without buyer’s remorse. Later that evening, I realized that my “More is Marvelous” mode had not taken into account that several new magazines that I really wanted to have were not included in my big deal, and my budget for my subscriptions was depleted. But then, I am a sucker for such packages. It is also tempting to buy book packages, but unloading books can become a package situation as well. A local librarian recently bemoaned the fact that when local residents offered to donate books for their fundraising book sale drives, the neighbors do not offer them title by title. The library has to accept the whole package …all of the books its owner wants to part with. After the book sale is over, the library finds itself with hundreds of books they don’t want in their collection and now they have to figure out how to dispose of them. Aha, some of you are probably thinking… a swell rationale for the obsolescence of print. Not at all. The fact is that “Many Too Many” is “Much Too Much.” Selectivity is an option that may be becoming obsolete. Package deals are very seductive — for journals, for books, for Quarterly, Online Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Special Trial Offer No Obligation FREE Online Access for one month Call 212-248-5000 ext. 111 or email for details Endorsed by the CIE Recognized as a top journal in the field of lighting L E U K O S — an international venue for the publication of peer-reviewed articles that report research results of significant archival value in science and engineering disciplines related to lighting — Vision and visual psychophysics Physics related to new and existing lamps and lighting Biology related to the nonvisual effects of light Basis and practice of photometry Design and performance of luminaire optical systems L E U K O S — a mechanism by which important, technical aspects of lighting applications are presented and discussed — Daylighting Lighting controls including ballasts Dimming and sensors Computational simulation and analysis Standards and innovations in design practice Performance evaluations LEDs Offer good through June 30th 2007 SUBSCRIBERS have access to all 4 downloadable issues, with an end-of-year printed compilation included in the subscription fee. Annual Subscription $250.00 TO ORDER: online | www.iesna.org phone | 212-248-5000 ext. 111 email | The LIGHTING AUTHORITY® Not Such a Big Deal from page 67 magazines, for CDs, for 300 rolls of paper towels or 50 cartridges of toner. It feels very good to buy as much as we can when we can justify it by thinking about all of the money we are saving when we buy in bulk. Retailers and catalog companies understand this mentality. Buy two tee shirts and get the third one at half price. Or, better yet, buy five and get the sixth one for free. I now have a white, beige, grey, black, navy, and red. I had been looking for lavender. Oh well, I’ll just return the purple denim jeans. I’m not pleased about this because by buying the purple ones along with the new blue jeans I had needed, I was saving some money. At least I think so. I n a d d i t i o n t o cost savings, package deals are compelling because we don’t have to take the time to think about making choices. Our days are crammed with busyness: workrelated responsibilities, decision making, emails, conferences, phone calls, commutes, home and hearth, leisure activities, and the nation’s favorite pastime, shopping. At the same time, our senses become overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of offerings for merchandise and services, things we need, things we need that we never needed before, things we need we never knew we needed, and things we want that didn’t exist until recently. It is increasingly hard to pick and choose. Librarians know well the appeal of the “Big Deal,” especially for online publications. Why shouldn’t you purchase a deal that gives you the most journal titles? Less input from faculty is required, fewer subscriptions need to be placed individually, and “My Library Collection Will Be Bigger ThanYours” has bragging rights. The big deal, however, costs big bucks. T h e a d a g e “Get the most for your money” is time-honored and still powerful today. Many librarians acknowledge that their budgets are consumed by big deal packages which means that there is little, if anything, left for titles that are offered from other publishers and society publishers. Would it not be better to insist upon selectivity options to be coupled with price points that are reasonable and appropriate? Otherwise, journals in embryonic fields and focused endeavors that should be included in library collections are turned away because the funds have been exhausted by the big deal. Research becomes more focused all the time, and such journals make a significant contribution to the fields they serve. Librarians should be alerted to the importance of such publications and no piggy bank should be so broken that there isn’t room in the budget for the inclusion of these periodicals. This summer, I’m still hoping to put on a lavender “tee,” spread a beach blanket, and read the magazines I really want, most of which don’t come my way in “My Big Deal.” Next time I’m offered “Big Deal or No Deal,” I hope I’m wise enough to say, “No, Thanks.” And I hope you’ll think about doing the same. Convictions — Lessons for Library Benefactors 8thly That my said Library be continued in its present form and noe other books mixt therewith Save what my Nephew may add to them of his own Collecting in distinct presses. That the said rooms and books so placed and adjusted be called by the name of Bibliotheca Pepsyiana.... 12thly And that for a yet further Security herein the said two Colleges of Trinity and Magdalen have a Reciprocal Check upon one another. And that the College which shall be in present possession of the said Library be subject to an Annual visitation from the other and to the forfeiture thereof to the like possession and Use of the other upon Conviction of any breach of their said Covenants. Samuel Pepys provided a model and a warning for bookmen who desire to safeguard their personal libraries by placing them in institutional libraries. His books have their own library at Magadelen College, Cambridge University. But Trinity College never exercised its right to count them: his instructions were ignored. There are at least two morals in this history: You can’t run the world from the grave — although Pepys came close; and don’t trust librarians. Give your books to the library where you want them to be or where they ought to be. Then forget about them. Charles Feinberg provides an exemplum. He came to America a poor immigrant and made his fortune — much of which he spent on Walt Whitman, who represented to him the spirit of America. Charlie wanted to express his gratitude to America by placing his monumental Whitman Collection in the Library of Congress through his generous gift-purchase arrangement. At the end of his life he was painfully unhappy about the mistreatment of his Whitman by the nation’s library. Among other betrayals, the Library of Congress failed to unpack and catalogue the entire collection. Many other donors of great collections to libraries have had similarly bitter experiences. Libraries accept research collections they don’t know what to do with and may not really want, in order to avoid blame for rejecting them. Then they neglect the collections. A library benefactor who has donated a dozen major collections to a dozen libraries complains that none of these institutions has given proper attention to his books or to him. Admittedly he is a pain-inthe-ass; but he is a generous pain-in-the-ass who expected that his benefactions would be valued. He also expected gratitude — not systematic ingratitude. He is a slow learner: once or twice are bad luck; but twelve out of twelve are enemy action. The experienced benefactor understands that although it may be possible to make conditions or stipulations about cataloguing, shelving, and maintenance, they will not be honored. There is no such thing as a grateful institution. Until recently I deprecated collectors who justified auctioning off their collections by claiming that they could not have acquired their books if other collectors hadn’t sold out. I have written articles insisting on the duty of a serious scholar-collector to keep his books together in an institutional library. Moreover, I have argued that the purpose of book-collecting is to build a collection that expresses the taste, courage, and knowledge of the collector; that a serious book collection is unduplicatable; and that the constituent elements enrich each other. Book collections beget books. I’m not so sure now. I’ve seen too many important collections mistreated by the book-dopes and book-enemies who are responsible for preserving and protecting them. These are recommended policies for donors of books, manuscripts, and other literary research resources: Give them while you’re alive so that you can check on their treatment. It probably won’t do any good, but you can try. Against the Grain / June 2007 1.


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Mary Ann Liebert. Not Such a Big Deal, Against the Grain, 2013,