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Call for Copyright Scholar Nominations

The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy is seeking individuals interested in serving as a Copyright Scholar for the Copyright Advisory Network.

The Copyright Advisory Network (CAN, is a Web site and network forum where librarians discuss copyright dilemmas and concerns online. Since 2005, eight librarians have served as Copyright Scholars on the forum. It is time to recruit a new batch of librarians who are keenly interested in copyright and want to volunteer their time to the Network.

Selected individuals will attend an all expenses paid two-day orientation meeting in Washington, DC, train with the Copyright Scholar class of 2005, and help craft new improvements to the Network. Once you become a Scholar, you agree to devote a small amount of your time (estimated two hours a week) responding to copyright queries posted to the Network. ou can decide how long your commitment to the Network will last but it must be for at least one year.

Qualifications for interested applicants:

  • Expertise in US copyright law and its application in libraries and educational institutions
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Flexibility in scheduling time to serve on the Network
  • Experience working in teams
  • Permission from your institution to participate
  • All applicants must be ALA members.

To be considered, send a letter expressing your interest in becoming a Copyright Scholar. Tell us of any special training or expertise you already have that would make you a good candidate for the job. The Copyright Advisory Committee will select the lucky applicants from the pool of letters received.

Send your letter or any questions you have to Carrie Russell via email at Deadline for applications is August 31, 2007 (deadline extended).

For more information on CAN, you can listen to current copyright scholar Lori Williamson on the District Dispatch Podcast #9.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.


  1. WendyD [Visitor] WendyD [Visitor]

    What a shame that you ALREADY have to be a copyright expert to participate in this. So many people who have questions about the issue (myself included) would welcome the opportunity to learn more about copyright.

  2. Carrie Russell [Visitor] Carrie Russell [Visitor]

    Wendy: Thanks for your comment. Our hope is that librarians who know a lot about copyright and librarians who feel they know very little about copyright can both benefit by participating on the Copyright Advisory Network. Anyone can read the posts in the forums and anyone can comment on those posts. We assign Copyright Scholars to ensure that all queries get a response – sometimes a scholar will respond but non-scholars will too – with their opinion or their analysis or with another question. So I encourage you to visit the Network ( Even just lurk, because it is a place to learn from one another. As for the Scholar program, we actually select a variety of people to serve, even one or two that don’t know THAT much about copyright but maybe bring other expertise. For some applicants that do not get selected — I often hang on to their names and try to get other opportunities for them – maybe working on a program or other educational tool. I really hope that these opportunities turn out to be good professional development type gigs.
    If you have any ideas to share about reaching those who want to know more about copyright and become “experts,” please let me know.

  3. I’m not involved with the selection process at all.

    I encourage anyone who wants to learn about copyright to join the forum and ask questions. Many of our questions come from people with absolutely no knowledge of copyright.

    If you feel comfortable, answer a question. The forum is open to everyone. I’ve seen great answers from people who are not official Copyright Scholars. I started regularly answering questions long before I was selected as a Copyright Scholar. Another Copyright Scholar started before I did.

    Anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable asking a question can learn a lot by just browsing our forum. You can also use the Copyright Resources on our web site. Our Articles and Sites link has a number of web sites with basic copyright information.

    For those of you who would rather use a book, I think the best book for beginners is Complete Copyright by ALA Copyright Specialist Carrie Russell.

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