Information Science Students’ Emotional Response to Copyright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Copyright intersects with every field of Library and Information Science (LIS) from archival and preservation practices to reference services and academic librarianship. However, copyright instruction is still lacking in many Information Science programs across the country (Cross & Edwards, 2011; Schmidt & English, 2015). The sudden move to remote online education in the spring of 2020 due to a global pandemic highlighted the importance of understanding copyright exceptions and, especially, the power of fair use to quickly provide resources to a wide variety of patrons with novel needs. The need for accessible copyright education for all information professionals has never been stronger. However, engaging with copyright often provokes cognitive as well as affective uncertainty, likely due to the fear and anxiety that can come from the threat of serious financial and reputational consequences. Logically, it seems that librarians might feel less anxious about copyright if they had participated in formalized training about copyright focused on legal issues impacting library and information professionals. To understand this likely correlation, the researchers queried students using a qualitative survey both before and after taking an eight-week intensive copyright course that paired legal expertise with an everyday approach to material designed to demystify the law. Using phenomenographic methodology, the investigators asked their information science students how they attempt to answer copyright questions and how they feel about doing so. The results provide evidence supporting the need for more robust copyright education in schools of information science, as such training to help future librarians to feel more prepared to answer copyright questions and less anxious about intersections between copyright and their field of librarianship before they enter the workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Education for Library and Information Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • copyright
  • information literacy
  • library and information science education
  • library science
  • qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences


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