Large Language Models and Library Electronic Resources: More Questions than Answers

Guest Post by Sara Pike

As generative tools like Chat GPT and Gemini become more popular, libraries are facing new questions about electronic resources licensing and use. Subscription resources provided by libraries open up a world of content and it might not always be clear how that content can or should be used. For example, can articles from library databases be scraped in order to train Large Language Models (LLM’s)? Is it ok to load an article into a chat bot in order to request a summary? Does this violate the agreement many schools have against sharing content with third parties? When it comes to LLM’s, what constitutes ethical use of content that was created by someone else?

Recently, the New York Times brought a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft claiming the companies used millions of articles from the publication to train chatbots in a breech of copyright. These chatbots then became competitors with the Times for those seeking online information.

Librarians will likely see clauses about the use of electronic publications related to large language models popping up in license agreements as content creators and copyright holders seek to protect their work. And as some sectors push for the rapid advancement of this technology, stressing the benefits it may bring, we will still need to grapple with ethical and other considerations related to potential harms. As educators, this includes bringing these issues into conversation spaces with students and colleagues and hopefully charting the way forward together.

James grills, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

CopyTalk Webinars from ALA

CopyTalk Webinars from ALA –

The American Library Association’s OITP Copyright Education Subcommittee sponsors webinars about copyright and fair use.  While the main audience is for librarians, they are free and open to the public.  They come out the first Thursday of each month.

Their webinars are also advertised on their “District Dispatch” blog, which has a category devoted to copyright issues.



New! Fair Use Guide

Copyright, fair use and author’s rights are hot topics in higher education. The Committee on Fair Use created a new online educational guide to help clarify these important, but often confusing, issues. The guide offers links to relevant best practices and resources, as well as current information on educational opportunities here on campus.

Check out this guide if you have questions about the fair use in education or are interested in protecting your own rights when publishing your research in academic journals.

Fair Use Guide:

Webinar: Fair Use Without Fear in the Academy

The Committee for Fair Use would like to invite you to a webinar made available by the Boston Library Consortium on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 from Noon – 1:30PM in the Library Room 426.

“Fair Use Without Fear in the Academy” — February 18, 2014  |  12pm ET.  The third in a series of webinars focusing on open access, copyright, and fair use.  Co-sponsored by ASERL, Boston Library Consortium, California Digital Library, CIC Center for Library Initiatives, Greater Western Library Alliance, Triangle Research Libraries Network, and Washington Research Library Consortium.

More information about this webinar is available here:

Questions?  Please email:

WEBINAR: Helping Students Make Sense of Fair Use

The UMass Dartmouth Committee for Fair Use would like to invite you to a webinar made available by the Boston Library Consortium on Wednesday, January 15 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. in the Library, room 314.

Webinar: Helping Students make Sense of Fair Use

So if we’re confused about copyright, what about our students? How do we help them think critically about using copyrighted materials in their classroom assignments when we’re not even sure ourselves? This webinar will describe current fair use analysis and provide a framework to guide students in making sound decisions about using copyrighted material in their work.

See the full description here:

Questions?  Please email:

How Fair is Fair Use? Issues from the Front Lines of Copyright, Scholarly Communication, and Open Education

Copyright & Fair Use are hot topics today with recent court cases in the news.  It’s also a topic that brings feelings of confusion and frustration over what we can and can’t do in a digital age.

Please join us with your questions and concerns for a presentation and discussion by Marilyn Billings and Laura Quilter from UMass Amherst Libraries about scholarly communication, open education, and fair use interpretations of course materials, electronic reserves, streaming videos, and what you can include in myCourses.

Do you have specific questions for the speakers that you would like addressed at this session?
Please post your questions using the Comments feature just below this posting.

We hope you will join us for a lively discussion about a topic that affects all of us!

Friday, September 20, 2013, 10:00AM-1:00PM in the Claire T. Carney Library’s Grand Reading Room

Marilyn Billings:

Laura Quilter: