Case Study 3: Statement of Fair Use

This project makes use of the subject terms from the MLA International Bibliography. The Modern Language Association claims copyright on their metadata.

After careful analysis, I believe that my use of the MLA subject terms is fair.

  1. The intended use of this data is educational. DataTRIKE is an open educational resource which presents transformations of datasets in order to emphasize the constructedness of data and to demonstrate the methods by which data becomes analysis. The dataset I gathered is necessary to demonstrate that the data with which I’m working is created by humans (the MLA indexers) and that it comes to us having already undergone multiple transformations. Additionally, it provides a good example of metadata as data, an important concept for digital humanities students to understand. My use of these subject terms is transformative because it removes the terms from their original context and purpose as searching aids associated with particular records. It’s also a form of criticism, because it looks at a group of terms as a dataset which can be analyzed to draw conclusions about the history of the journal and the Bibliography.
  2. The works in question are records in the MLA International Bibliography. The purpose of these works is to describe the articles published in journals of literary criticism and assist users in locating them. The nature of the works is educational and descriptive.
  3. My use of the records is partial. Wherever possible, I avoid quoting the records themselves, relying on the atomized data instead. It is necessary to reproduce portions of one record to illustrate the structure of a record in MLAIB in order to introduce students to the vocabulary I’m using, but I edit out the parts of the record that are not needed for this explanation. Throughout the project, I use only the assigned terms rather than the records themselves; these terms are listed together for each year I examine and cannot easily be associated with particular records unless the student downloads another copy of the records in question from the database.
  4. My use of the MLAIB metadata to analyze journals will have no negative effect on the market for this database. MLAIB describes literary criticism and facilitates searches for that criticism. My dataset, in contrast treats the subject terms separately from the records they describe, so it cannot perform either of these functions. Students wishing to perform an analysis similar to the one I do in this resource would need to gain access to the database through their institutions, so use of this resource could lead to heavier use of the database.


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