Skip to main content

Academic Book Exchange


I'm assuming everyone is at least passingly familiar with various swap meet/stuff exchange websites or communities. The idea is simple: you have something you don't want or need, so you offer it to a community of other folks who might actually need or want it. This is an example of the kind of thing I mean: http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php

I propose forming such a community for graduate students, postdocs, and tenure-track academics, those of us whose careers depend on our research and access to research, but who are not so financially secure that we can devote $1,000 of our yearly income to books. Our university libraries are often excellent for getting journal articles, but book-length works can be an issue. Recalling a checked-out book can still mean a wait of a few weeks (or longer, depending on who has checked out the book). A successful recall can end in yet another recall, as the original party wants the book once again. Interlibrary loan can provide access to books not held locally, but delays are inevitable, and the check-out period varies depending on the policies of one's own library and those of the loaning library. It's nice that I can get any book I want through interlibrary loan, but it's much less nice when I wait two weeks for a book, only to find that I have five days to read it before returning it. Libraries sometimes take a while to acquire new books, and once acquired, entering them into the library catalog takes another indeterminate length of time. Nevertheless, I know there are academics who can (and do) quickly purchase books though they have no intention of reading them until the semester is over, or who have received books as review copies, desk copies, or exam copies and do not intend to use them. On the other hand, we also seem to end up with books that we don't need (at least, not at the moment), or that we did need when acquired but have put aside now that the relevant work is done.

Let's shuffle some of these resources amongst ourselves. All we need to do is set up a website or forum where users can post their needs and collections, and we may end up solving some problems (and make it easier for those of us on the lower end of the income scale to do timely research). If anyone is interested, I can be contacted through this blog.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Justifications for Intellectual Property Part 1: Utilitarianism

There is no way this tutorial series would be complete without some discussion of justifications for intellectual property. While not necessarily a matter of law, some knowledge of the philosophical foundations will provide a better sense of the values at stake in intellectual property debates. Notice, for instance, that the tutorials on fair use were punctuated with appeals to values, social goods, and individual rights. Without an understanding of the moral and political framework against which the law stands, one can very easily find oneself in a stalemate, with one value pitted against another and no way of deciding which should prevail. To understand the jurisprudence around intellectual property rights, one has to have some idea of the justifying theories to which attorneys and judges appeal in their arguments and decisions. So, without further ado, let's get to the tutorial.
There are three main ways of justifying intellectual property rights: the Utilitarian theory, the Lab…

Fair Use Part 2: Subtleties

Now that you've had the time to digest the basics of fair use, it's time to talk about some common misunderstandings and problems that arise with regard to this aspect of copyright law. As you might have noticed from last time, fair use a complex issue, one in which various concerns must be weighed with no guiding standard as to how much impact each factor should have. Even more problematically, US courts have stayed away from fair use cases for the most part. Very few actually reach a judge, and only four fair use cases have been heard by the Supreme Court. As such, there is very little jurisprudence to clarify the law. As such, fair use is a ripe subject for confusion and debate. Let's begin with the most crucial clarification.
Fair Use is not a right While one might hear talk about “fair use rights,” there really is no such thing. The National Information Infrastructure White Paper on Intellectual Property (released Sept 1995; for more information see: http://www.uspto.g…

History and Identity

Yesterday the European Court of Justice issued an important ruling that has the tech policy world buzzing about privacy, search engines and personal history. In short, the court ruled that the EU Data Protection Directive gives a person the right to demand that old information be purged from search results. The particular case involves an attorney seeking removal of links to announcements about a real-estate auction connected with a debt settlement in 1998. While the ECJ made a number of interesting moves in the case (including a welcome argument that the distinction between data processors and data controllers does not make as much sense today as it did in 1995 when the Directive went into effect), the big consequence everyone is talking is the right to be forgotten.

The long memory of the Internet is a feature it's hard not to love and fear at the same time. Whether you have something to hide or not, if it's on the Internet, it stays on the Internet (most of the time, at lea…