New technology simplifies copyright clearances on teaching materials

stack of books

As Vanderbilt faculty and support staff prepare class materials for the upcoming semester, they can look forward to a simplified process for copyright clearances of materials selected for coursepacks and readings posted to Blackboard, the university’s course content management system.

In light of the university’s renewed emphasis on respecting intellectual property, copyright laws and regulations regarding the proper use of print and electronic materials in teaching, Vanderbilt Libraries are experiencing a significant increase in requests for copyright clearances. A new technology service is available to help manage and streamline the copyright clearance process for faculty, staff and students.

The library has signed an agreement with ProQuest SIPX, which was developed at Stanford University for managing and sharing course materials. The system draws in all types of content and data, including library-licensed content in which the university library has already made significant investments, open-access materials and comprehensive publisher content.

The service is designed to work seamlessly in Blackboard, providing intuitive connections for faculty and students in their workflows.

“The protection of intellectual property is one of our most important priorities,” said Cynthia Cyrus, vice provost for learning and residential affairs. “We are pleased that this technology will reduce the liability of faculty and students from unintentional misuse of copyrighted material. In addition, there will be a significant increase in staff productivity by freeing up effort and time in managing permissions.”

Nancy Godleski, the library’s associate dean for collections, noted that  should help students save on course materials by recognizing library-subscribed content and eliminating redundant payments on copyright royalties. “[rquote]The library makes significant investments in premium content, and we want to be sure that the university community does not pay twice for these materials[/rquote],” Godleski said.

In addition, faculty will have access to analytics on which students are reading what specific materials. This will support improved decision-making and budget management, since charges will incur for actual pay-per-user transactions versus forecasted enrollment usage.

The library will host SIPX training for faculty and staff from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on July 26, 27 and 28 at the Central Library, Room 418A. In addition, the library and the Center for Teaching can provide custom training sessions for departments and schools. For more information, visit the SIPX information page or Ask A Librarian. For questions about Blackboard, email