This site will provide an overview of current concerns, actions, trends, and controversies.
The distribution of scholarly materials is rapidly being transformed from a tightly controlled system into a decentralized and somewhat disorganized network. The WWW has allowed for the easy transmission of material in almost any format by individuals with access to simple creation tools. A variety of subject portals now exist which attempt to organize this rapidly expanding conglomeration of materials. Some of these gateways are developed by professional societies, some by individual researchers, others by networks of scholars, and even commercial companies are attempting to provide the best pathfinders to web-based data.
The content on these networks ranges from commercial products to personal opinions. The WWW is a repository for scholarly materials across the spectrum -- from pre-publication manuscripts to unpublished teaching materials (e.g. images, software programs, PowerPoint presentations, etc).
Copyright considerations are a cause for concern as practice often outstrips policy creation in this dynamic environment. Brown University actively monitors the new interpretations of Fair Use in the online environment, and intends to provide some guidance to faculty in uncertain areas. We will be developing an Institutional Repository for our locally created materials, and we will provide assistance with loading the raw data and the associated metadata for re-purposing this material.
We hope the links on the top right of this page provide a place to remain current and to offer opinions.