Selecting North Carolina Materials to Celebrate the Public Domain Expansion

Note: Lauren Geiger, a 2019 graduate of UNC’s School of Information and Library Science, was a field experience student in the Scholarly Communications Office during the 2018/19 school year. In this blog post, she describes her work with selecting materials from the North Carolina Collection that were published in 1923 and were suitable for digitization. The full list of materials that we digitized is available here.  For her master’s paper, To Bot or Not to Bot, Lauren went on to analyze the use of those materials in the first few months they were online.  

This wasn’t my first digitization project, but it certainly has become one my most important. Selecting and preparing materials to be digitized for the 1923 Public Domain expansion was an amazing experience, because my previous digitization efforts started after these initial steps. I was in unknown territory and loving every minute of it.

Thankfully, I was not alone in this effort. My supervisor, Anne Gilliland, and the special collections librarian, Sarah Carrier, guided me by setting the scope of the project. I was to select materials from the North Carolina Collection that were published in 1923 and fell within 8 categories:

• Education
• African Americans
• The University of North Carolina
• Public Health
• World War I
• Women
• Agriculture
• Chapel Hill

With my goal set, I started to go through the library catalog and selecting materials that fell into one of the categories. Now, this was not a simple, one-time process, because not all of the material I selected on my first pass could be scanned. If a book was taller than 16 inches or wider than 10 inches, it wouldn’t fit into the scanner. The materials also had be in good condition (not falling apart or having a torn spine), be able to open beyond 90 degrees, and they had to be four pages or longer. My initial collection of 130 odd materials was whittled down to about 20 after 45 minutes of review. With a newfound understanding of the specifications for digitization, I began to go through each of the 625 from the North Carolina Collection that were from 1923.

Each batch of materials brought new excitement as I envisioned what research could be done with them. However, over half of the time, disappointment replaced the excitement as I realized a certain piece was not fit to be scanned. I knew that researchers could still come and look at the material, but being able to put it online would have given the item a larger audience. This is one of the main purposes of digitization, to allow  people to see unusual or unique items and do with them what they will. (Since these materials went into the public domain as of January 1, 2019, people can do whatever they like with them! There is no copyright to restrict their creativity and thoughts.)

Out of the 625 items I identified initially, I was only able to prep 96 for digitization. These 96 items covered all but one of the categories (World War I), and then some. This sample is a good snapshot of the North Carolina Collection’s wealth of information because they cover everything from summer camps for children to parole in North Carolina to soil surveys.

My time in the North Carolina Collection was short, but I thoroughly enjoyed working the materials and everyone in the reading room.

Fair Use Mini-Making Celebration

UNC-Chapel Hill
Undergraduate Library Lobby 
Tuesday, February 26, Noon- 2 pm

Celebrate Fair Use Week by making your own buttons and origami kaleidocycle flextangles at the Undergraduate Library.

Fair Use describes opportunities to use someone else’s content for your own purposes—like for parody or for further exploration.

Make buttons with modified popular images (like the Obama “Hope” poster) and flextangles (as seen in A Wrinkle in Time) to help you through the fair use thought process.

No button-making or origami experience required! Free and open to all!
** Buttons are for students**
Contact Jennifer Solomon,, with any questions!

Grateful for Fair Use: Combining Text and Images

This week, we’ll look at fair use cases and learn about their effect on and meaning for the work that we do. Read more posts in our series about Fair Use Week 2018.

Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley is a 2006 case about the transformative fair use of Grateful Dead concert posters. Publisher Dorling Kindersley used thumbnail images of seven posters to illustrate a timeline about the band’s history. Although many university faculty members and students are initially startled when I talk about Grateful Dead posters, I have found that this case is useful in discussing a variety of situations in which researchers combine text and images. Continue reading “Grateful for Fair Use: Combining Text and Images”

What Does It Mean to Be Transformative?

This week, we’ll look at fair use cases and learn about their effect on and meaning for the work that we do. Read the first post in our series about Fair Use Week 2018.

A music publisher, a rap artist, an irreverent parody, and a lawsuit—what do all of these have to do with how we use fair use in a university environment?

Watch! Parody and Fair Use: Campbell v. Acuff Rose

Quite a bit, as it turns out. In the last few decades, the concept of transformational fair use ties into the first factor of a fair use analysis—the purpose and character of the use. Judge Pierre Leval’s 1990 commentary, “Toward a Fair Use Standard” in the Harvard Law Review, first laid out the case for transformative fair use. Leval argued that the analysis of the first factor should turn on “whether, and to what extent, the challenged use is transformative” (p.1111). Continue reading “What Does It Mean to Be Transformative?”

Fair Use Week 2018: Creation and Communication in the Academy

Today, February 26, marks the beginning of Fair Use Week 2018; a time for us to celebrate and talk about one of the most useful, flexible, and maddening doctrines in copyright law. This week, we’ll look at four fair use cases and learn about their effect on and meaning for the work that we do.

Fair use is not unique internationally, but it is most well-developed in the U.S., in part because of our need to harmonize the rights of copyright and the rights of the First Amendment. In many ways, fair use is a creature of the law of equity—the law of common sense and fairness. At the same time, its flexibility can sometimes make it opaque to the person who first encounters it. Nevertheless, most of us in the academy, whether we know it or not, use fair use all the time as we write, teach, research, and create. Continue reading “Fair Use Week 2018: Creation and Communication in the Academy”

Patents and trademarks: the basics for librarians


Do you work with patrons who have questions about patents or trademarks?  Have you wondered about how these types of intellectual property differ?  Please join us on Thursday, May 5 from 2:00-3:30 for “Patents and Trademarks:  Basics for Librarians” in Davis 133.

Michele Hayslett, Librarian for Numeric Data Services and Data Management, will discuss the basics of of patents, including what they are and what they protect, how they are granted, and some information on searching for patents.  Agnes Gambill, a second year law student and a Scholarly Communications Office research assistant, will discuss how trademarks are formed, what they protect, and some information about how to search for trademarks that have been registered.  I’ll contribute some information on how and why patents and trademarks differ from copyrights.

Both presenters are well-placed to address these subjects.  Michele previously worked as the depository librarian for patents and trademarks at NCSU.  Agnes is completing some work in the law school’s trademark clinic, where she assists small business owners who are seeking to register their trademarks.

Fair Use Week: Dancing babies, digitized books, and a landlord-tenant dispute

Question: What do dancing babies, digitized books, and a landlord-tenant dispute all have in common?  
Answer:  They were all part of fair use copyright litigation in 2015.  
We’ll celebrate Fair Use Week Wednesday, February 24 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in the Research Hub, Davis Library, second floor. 
I’ll talk about these cases and we’ll discuss how all of them—even the dancing baby—pertain to the work we do at UNC.

Open Access Week 2014 Events at UNC-Chapel Hill


UNC Chapel Hill Libraries are sponsoring the following events for Open Access Week 2014, October 20-24. Open to all faculty, staff, and students:

Copyright and Scholarly Communication: The Basicswith Anne Gilliland
When: Tues., Oct. 21, 2-3:30 pm
Where: Davis Research Hub

More Information here


Panel Discussion on Open Access Issues for Graduate Students
When: Wed., Oct. 22, 2-3 pm
Where: HSL Research Hub and online (this event will be recorded)

More information here


Panel Discussion on Open Data
When: Thurs., Oct. 23, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Davis Research Hub (this event will be recorded)

More information here


Leave Your Heelprint with the Carolina Digital Repository

Today’s #TarGRamChallenge topic is “Leave Your Heelprint.”  One excellent way to do that is to deposit your research and scholarship in the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR).  The CDR provides a secure place to store your work for the long term.  It accepts a wide variety of  digital file formats and applies sophisticated techniques to preserve the files.

Most material in the CDR is available to the public and can be searched with search engines like Google.  Current collections include material that ranges from the African American Performance Art Archive, UNC Scholarly Posters, and images and slides from the UNC Research Laboratories of Archeology.

Contact the CDR staff to get started and #LeaveYourHeelprint.

Lolly Gasaway: Mentors on Campus

When I think of mentors on campus for today’s #TarGramChallenge, I immediately think of Laura N. “Lolly” Gasaway, retired emeritus law professor and former director of the UNC Law Library.  She was one of the first people to work  and publish in the area of copyright and libraries, and she has been an inspiration for many of us working in the field today.  Soon after I starting doing this work of providing copyright education and information to non-lawyers, I signed up for a webinar with Lolly Gasaway on copyright basics in education.  This was long before I came to work at UNC.  I didn’t sign up because I needed a refresher on the subject, but because I wanted to see how someone with years of experience taught copyright to people who were starting with little knowledge of the law.  I was pleased that our basic organization of the material was similar.  During the question and answer period, I also picked up some ideas, like how to discuss with for-profit educational institutions and their copyright questions.

You can get a sense of Lolly Gasaway’s style and work from her recent book, Copyright questions and answers for information professionals, available in print and electronic formats from UNC Libraries.