Foreword Welcome to the fold! I can’t think of a more exciting, controversial, and essential topic than the book you currently have in your hand, Copyright and Course Reserves: Legal Issues and Best Practices for Academic Libraries. There is certainty a great deal of concern over the “reserves conundrum” that is occurring in modern academic libraries today. High-level negotia- tions, 12+ years of electronic reserves litigation, and failed attempts at national community norms have led to a mass of confusion surrounding this topic. However, at its core, reserves are very much part of the fundamental mission of libraries: providing open, free, nondiscriminatory access to mate- rials. Technology and the advent of what we call “e-reserves” shouldn’t limit our service—in fact, it should improve it. We should be utilizing technology to enhance access to our collections. It’s as if we have forgotten the real pur- pose of reserves, and that, as legally authorized purchasers of said works, we can make the works available to our patrons for as many times as they care to use the material, electronic, print, or otherwise. Libraries have been managing reserve collections for hundreds of years. Want to see an original reserves collection? Have a look at the image of the Chained Library, Hereford Cathedral, in England. The books are available to the patrons, but they literally can’t leave with them because they are chained to a desk. Hundreds of books chained to desks in a library. These books are, therefore “reserved” for all patrons who need to use the book, but they will always be available because you can’t check the book out. I know a lot of you are thinking that this would certainly solve a great deal of our concerns if we went back to this method! In the modern context of e-reserves, aren’t we doing the same thing? Of course, the chains have been replaced by a password or paywall, and the digital copies are not subject to the same wear-and-tear, but yes, in many ways we are providing the same service. Our patrons can’t take these works without being duly authorized for access, and then we put them on notice
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