Hi Eric,
Questions like these can be initially easily addressed by looking at the terms of your employment and how that falls under your university's Intellectual Property policies.  For Notre Dame, 5.7  is your policy.  If you are a full-time employee and you are performing the work in the digital scholarship center as part of your job, then ND is the copyright holder of the work you are performing, even if it is creative or a derivative work.  You may be able to have attribution of your contribution associated with the product but you should clear that.  It's a good question for your VP for Research who approves the Policy 5.7.


Kari R. Smith
Digital Archivist and Program Head for Born-digital Archives
Institute Archives and Special Collections
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries, Cambridge, Massachusetts
617.253.5690   smithkr at  @karirene69

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Eric Lease Morgan
Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2017 12:05 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CODE4LIB] memorandums of understanding, copyrights, & acknowledgements

To what degree do any of you enter into memorandums of understanding between yourselves and the people for whom you provide services? Similarly, are the products of your services copyrighted, and if so, then by whom? And finally, if you provide services to your constituents, then to what degree do you require copyright statements and/or acknowledgements?

I work in a digital scholarship center with a number of other people. [1] As a group, we provide sets of different value-added services to students, faculty, and staff. These value-added services go beyond the packaging and re-packaging of data/information. Instead, our services are analysis against content. We evaluate data given to us and answer questions like: what trends can be gleaned from this data, what are the anomalies, when & where did given events occur, what are some of the possible reasons why, etc. In this way, we act more akin to “special librarians” where we essentially "give them the fish as opposed to teaching them to fish." These value added services often manifest themselves in the forms of software systems/scripts, indexes, datasets, as well as charts/graphs. Many of our constituents are humanities and social sciences scholars. As such and in general, they do possess the skills necessary to some of our text mining, GIS, and statistical analysis. Additionally and unlike the hard scientists, they often work in very very small groups of single individuals; co-authorship is uncommon.

The center’s services are free, as in free beer. But the services represent real scholarly effort. As such there is a desire to make explicit our contributions. Such is part of the academic tradition. After all, our intellectual capital is all we have. To resolve some of these issues, or to bring them to the fore, there is some desire to enter into memorandums of understanding — a sort of contract outlining different party’s roles & responsibilities. There is some desire to add copyright attribution statements to charts & graphs. There is some desire to ensure, at the very least, acknowledgements in articles & presentations. Heck, if we were to go the whole nine yards, then there are also desires to have the whole kits & caboodles deposited into local repositories. 

On the other hand, much of this flies in the face to traditional librarianship, and after all, library services have always been free, and if we require memorandums, copyright statements, and/or acknowledgements, then the scholars may simply do without.

How might some of y’all be dealing with these changing roles in your libraries?

[1] center -

Eric Lease Morgan, Digital Initiatives Librarian Hesburgh Libraries University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 46556

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