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IU celebrates World Book and Copyright Day



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Books sit on a shelf April 22 in the Herman B Wells Library. April 23 is World Book Day. Claire Livingston Buy Photos

Tuesday marks World Book and Copyright Day, a day designed as a tribute to reading.

IU celebrated the occasion with a pop-up library in the School of Global and International Studies building and an exhibit in the Herman B Wells Library.

Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — three of the most well-known writers in the world — all died April 23, 1616. In 1995, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, chose this symbolic day to acknowledge writers, books, copyright and the cultural and social progress that accompanies them.

The day celebrates literature and copyright and their importance internationally. It is tied to progress, research and knowledge, according to the UN website.

“Technology is altering the ways in which we teach, study, do research and distribute new knowledge,” said Naz Pantaloni, the head of the IU Libraries Copyright Program, in an email.

The move toward online resources has changed the way students use books and research.

Though many students grew up with the internet, it has significantly changed research, said Cindy Dabney, associate librarian for outreach services and adjunct lecturer in law.

“I think students by and large do almost everything online these days,” she said.

Digital technologies affect styles of teaching, research and creative activities and make copyright law a more significant issue in higher education, Pantaloni said.

He voiced concerns about the costs of research.

“We have reached a crisis point in scholarly publishing especially where the products of research are only available to those people who have access to expensive databases of academic journals,” Pantaloni said.

Dabney said access to databases — and even individual books — can cost thousands of dollars. Students can use government websites to do some research for free, she said.

Legal research is particularly expensive, she said, but individuals should always be able to find the basic law for free.

Research remains key to acquiring knowledge whether it is online or in print, Dabney said.

With its focus on knowledge, progress and copyright, World Book and Copyright Day serves as an important cautionary tale in human history, Pantaloni said.

“Information and potential answers to global problems, such as climate change, should be freely and readily available to anyone with potential solutions to the crises that humanity is facing,” he said.

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