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SOPA

The failure to pass SOPA is yet another development in the debate to establish rules, if any, which would govern sharing on the internet.  Through the internet, it is possible to virtually access, sell and share information and content from anywhere at any time. While I think the ability to access all information is positive, I also understand the frustration of main-stream content producers and distributors.  Obviously, traditional methods, business models and policing cannot be applied to the internet. As demonstrated in the arguments and protests sparked by SOPA, content producers fear they are unable to adapt to this new technology and make returns on the content which they have invested into producing. They are especially concerned with websites and violators outside the United States which U.S. copyright law cannot always pursue.    

Librarians are taking part in this national debate. We continue to adapt to the technological changes in the way information and content is consumed by incorporating E-book and other digital content into our collections.   The publishers, however, continue to fear digital content borrowing in libraries will result in a loss of sales. Because of this, they continue to place sharing restrictions through a myriad of licensing clauses.  Meanwhile librarians are frustrated with publishers for these restrictions, the fear and because many of the benefits of traditional printed materials, such as first rights, are not applied to digital materials.  The fact is, both the publishers and librarians have a lot to learn and compromise in establishing the rules of engagement and access. Both sides cannot continue to attempt to force the old rules and ways of thinking developed for printing materials onto digital/internet content.  This simply will not lead to progress in the long run!  

As a training digital librarian, the results of these clashes and discussions will have consequences on my future job.  I do believe it is over-idealistic to believe a resolution can be reached in the national debate soon, especially given the level of antagonism and misinformation. Yet, I hope that in the library field, we librarians will keep level-heads, listen to the other side, and adapt our ways of thinking in order to work towards solutions with e-content distributors, so we may continue to best serve the customer/patron/visitor in this developing internet and information era.  

Further Information:
I really benefited from these quick and informative explanations of SOPA by Brad Burnham produced by Think Big.


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About Dorotea Szkolar

My name is Dorotea and I am in my last semester of earning my Masters of Library and Information Sciences at Syracuse University with a Certificate of Advance Study in Digital Libraries. I am an aspiring digital librarian and metadata expert, currently seeking full time opportunities. Because of my specialization in Digital Libraries, my coursework continues to cover a wide array of practices, issues and technologies specific to digital libraries including metadata, digitization, copyright, database management, internet services, institutional , open access, policy, and the preservation of digital assets. In addition to my studies, I completed an internship with the Mountain West Digital Library. The internship trained me in Dublin Core, metadata cross walking and harvesting, Open Archives Initiative and CONTENTdm, and I researched, analyzed and composed a report on spatial metadata interoperability issues within the MWDL. My strengths, in addition to my knowledge of digital and academic libraries, include exceptional communication, presentation, analytical and interpersonal skills; and expertise with current trends, technologies and software in metadata and digital librarianship. I am also an experienced professional researcher who has worked for numerous organizations. Before moving to Santa Barbara, I was also the Research Editor for Utah Business Magazine responsible for contacting, researching and authenticating data about businesses for special publications like Utah’s Major Employers Guide. Additionally, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in History at SUNY Binghamton and worked extensively at several non-profits including the Bundy Museum of History & Art, White Plains Ecumenical Food Pantry and Community Options Inc.

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