Monday, June 29, 2009

Licensing Digital Content: a Practical Guide for Librarians

Harris, Lesley Ellen. Licensing Digital Content: a Practical Guide for Librarians. 2nd ed. Chicago, ALA, 2009. 346.73048 Harri 2nd ed. ISBN 978-0-8389-0992-8

Harris, ex-senior copyright officer in Canada and author of Digital Property: Currency of the 21st Century (McGraw-Hill Professional, 1998), has taken a complex subject and written, in lay readers' terms, guidelines for the licensing of digital content. She includes chapters on items such as the step-by-step process of the licensing experience, tips on different clauses for the agreement, and negotiation. There is also a good question-and-answer section. The author is very knowledgeable about the subject and feels strongly that licensing is something librarians can do for themselves without hiring an attorney. If there are any negative aspects of the volume, it's the price, which seems a bit steep for a book that runs 137 pages. While global issues are supposed to be covered, the author's primary interest is U.S. and Canadian copyright law. Harris also includes an appendix of sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. those libraries that license digital materials.