Social Media, Social Networking, Copyright, and Digital Libraries

Social Media, Social Networking, Copyright, and Digital Libraries

Emily Bosire-Ogechi (Moi University, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3093-0.ch003
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Libraries have evolved over time in tandem with the prevailing innovations. This is evidenced by the changes witnessed from the time writing was done on clay tablets to the virtual libraries of today. Technological advancement has been a key pillar of the development of libraries. Indeed, it has given rise to digital libraries that have given access and use of information resources a new focus. Technological developments such as Web 2.0, and specifically social media as well as social networking, have enabled users to access creative works in digital libraries freely. Similarly, they have enabled library users to share the same content freely on social networks. This situation has brought a conflict with copyright laws that require users of creative works to seek permission from their owners before accessing or sharing them. This chapter analyses this conflict and provides recommendations on how it can be managed.
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The Digital Library

The term digital library means different things to different people. Therefore, various definitions of the same are found in the literature. This chapter adopts the definition proposed by Witten and Bainbridge (2003) who argue that a digital library is not really a “digitised library”. Conversely, a digital library is about new ways of dealing with knowledge: preserving, collecting, organising, propagating and accessing it - not about deconstructing existing institutions and putting them together in an electronic box. Witten and Bainbridge (2003) further argue that a digital library is an organised collection of digital objects; including text, video and audio, along with the methods for their selection, organisation, access, retrieval and maintenance. Digital libraries are specially constructed to meet the specific information needs of a community of users. They are responsible for providing citizens with equal access to information and for preserving knowledge for the next generation. Of course, traditional libraries will stand the test of time, but digital technology has brought about transitions from analogue to digital forms of information creation, delivery, and use. This transition has given rise to a generation and society generally referred to as the digital age/era and information society. These times are characterised by individuals who demand fast and efficient access to information when, where and how they need it (around the clock). This demand has seen the entry of social media tools and social networking into the library arena.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social media: A means of communication via the Internet that enables social interaction, as the name suggests. This media enables people to create content, share this content and carry out collaborative activities. Examples are Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter among others.

Digital Library: An organised collection of digital objects. These objects could either be born digital or digitized, and in various formats such as text, audio or video. Digital libraries have redefined traditional libraries by providing information in formats that would have never been thought of before. They have embraced “openness” in information access.

Copyright: An intellectual property right that governs the use of protected works against infringement. The term describes rights given to creators of literary and artistic works. Copyright does not, however, protect ideas, concepts, styles, techniques and information, names, titles and slogans, people and peoples’ images.

Social Networks: Connections that allow people using social media tools to create, upload and share content online. This content is created by millions of people and can be shared similarly.

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