Thursday, August 22, 2013

Accessing academic content on line - 'Big Guns' oppose innovation

Michael Lissack writes:

"The pioneering digital library built by ISCE is under attack.

It seems HBS and John Wiley (yes the publishers) HATE the idea that libraries can be virtual. They sued ISCE (see and we answered (see ANY AND ALL HELP APPRECIATED

The Harvard B School folks and Wiley think that ALL digital access should be pay per use and that libraries have no rights

So much for the idea of academic research

The lawsuit is fundamentally about what rights academic libraries have to make use of the books which they have purchased.

The ISCE Library is set up to be as close as humanly possible to a physical library.  Patrons (members of ISCE) can access the full text of ONE book at a time (displayed as two pages at a time) for a two hour increment and it is one user per book (i.e. the experience duplicates that of a library reserve room).  The books were purchased as physical books, scanned, destroyed (the physical copies) and ONLY exist as digital.

Wiley and HBS claim that despite the actual purchase of the books by ISCE that we need permission to convert the library to digital only.  We argue back fair use and library exemptions.
More importantly the ISCE Library allows for cross searching amongst the 1250 books in the collection in a manner which is unavailable elsewhere  (see  That cross searching allows a user to input a query of 50-10,000 words (i.e. the full text of an article for example) and see what the "virtual reference librarian" at ISCE suggests should be read next  (which is "find me more like this" search).  Again the Wiley HBS posture is that this kind of innovation should be stopped.
At ISCE we have transformed the academic research library into a powerful on-line research tool and it is that very innovation which Wiley and HBS are trying to kill.

Your help in circulating this message and finding us added resources will  be appreciated."

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