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Baker News

april 2006

We create and manage the information and knowledge sharing experience in which Harvard Business School exchanges and uses information and knowledge assets.

Top Story

Copyright and Permissions: The Baker Advantage

For most researchers, securing permission to reprint or use material from outside sources is a necessary but dreaded chore. Copyright holders can be difficult to locate, negotiations protracted, and financial terms daunting.

Baker Library can make the process not only less onerous but provide unique advantages at lower cost to HBS researchers.

For example, Baker's Historical Collections are a rich source of visual and printed materials, many of which have passed out of copyright. Researchers have used HC materials in a broad range of publications including course work, books, and research papers. If permission to publish is granted, HC provides the appropriate citation format and asks for a complimentary copy of the final project.

HC does not charge for quoting from the collections, but there may be fees associated with image use. Requesters should also be aware that while Baker Library holds the physical rights to these materials, we do not claim copyrights to them, and granting permission to publish is not a copyright agreement. Patrons still have a responsibility to clear copyright with the holder(s). For more information on the process, contact Katherine Fox.

Permission issues may also pop up when researchers use popular sites such as Google and Yahoo for information gathering. In fact, Yahoo will not allow us to use information such as stock charts from Yahoo! Finance in HBS course materials. However, materials gathered from Baker's deep collection of authoritative databases can be incorporated into your work more easily, although permissions for this content are required as well. These sources can be browsed by content type, by subject, or A-Z on the library homepage. For help accessing or using content from these databases, or creating exhibits from this data, contact Sarah Eriksen in Baker Research Services.

The Division of Research and Faculty Development's Web site is a great resource to guide you through the copyright and permission maze. The site includes:

  • Guide to Submitting Course Materials
  • HBS Style Guide for Casewriters
  • Casewriter Quick Reference
  • Permissions Guidelines for Baker Library Database Materials

When materials are physically (e.g., photocopied) and distributed to students, HBS must seek copyright permission and pay royalties. Baker Library can often help here by creating direct links to articles held in our subscription databases, which require no permission or royalty outside of our database license. Contact Erika McCaffrey for more information.

For students, the HBS citation guide should be used to give credit as needed and required for research and information used in course work. For more information on the subject of using copyrighted material or securing permissions, contact Sarah Eriksen.

Spotlight on Historical Collections

Yale Finance Scholar Finds Rich Rewards in Baker

By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, transatlantic payments between the new world and Europe were typical—yet fraught with risk. "When someone in America wanted to make a payment to somebody in England, Spain, or France in the eighteenth century," says professor William Goetzmann, "they used a bill of exchange that was sent overseas and said, 'Pay to this person this amount from my account.' The only problem was that in these distances across the ocean sometimes boats didn't make it and the bill of exchange sank with the boat."

To avoid delay, he says, merchants dispatched multiple copies of the checks. The first one that arrived would be paid whether it was the first or fourth copy; all subsequent drafts were cancelled.

Goetzmann, a visiting professor from Yale who is fascinated by financial instruments as windows on technology and innovation, is using Baker Library's Historical Collections to examine transatlantic commerce and other puzzles in the history of finance from ancient times to the present. His tools: papyri dating to Hellenistic Egypt (available online through Oxyrhynchus Online), huge leather-bound volumes, and reams of documents such as financial securities.

"I'm also interested in Italian finance and the development of banking institutions in Renaissance Italy," says Goetzmann. Using heavy ledgers in Historical Collections, he's studying Baker Library's record of all financial transactions of a charitable fund, the Monte di Pieta, that existed for hundreds of years on the east coast of Italy. "These banks were created in many Italian cities as a Christian response to Jewish lending," he says.

Ledgers for the Monte di Pieta contain everything from the records of tenant farmers collecting wheat and distributing agricultural products to transactions indicating its role as a veritable pawn shop in an era of banking that relied on secured lending with objects that were portable. The Monte di Pieta functioned as a banker for the local municipal authority, and also sold annuities that appear similar to modern life insurance. "Someone would give money and say, 'My daughter is my beneficiary and I want you to pay out a certain amount of money for the rest of her life.'"

By using the leather volumes, Goetzmann says, "you actually get a very tactile sense of financial life. You can really get a sense of the role of a financial institution in an Italian city."

Contact: Historical Collections

New Services and Products

HOLLIS Catalog Expands

The Hollis Catalog now includes links for journals that are in aggregator databases (such as ABI/Inform and Factiva). For example, look up WWD, formerly Women's Wear Daily in the catalog. The record now includes a link that goes to the page in ABI/Inform that lists all the WWD issues, and indicates the holding libraries. A journal that is full-text in several databases would go to an intermediate screen and show options of where to access it.

Information Mine

ISIS: Insurance Companies Worldwide

What's in it? Includes reports on 4,100 non-life companies, 1,700 life companies, and 500 composite companies. Over 100 countries are covered. Each company report typically contains contact information, country and world rankings, ratings, major business lines and geographical markets, income statement, and balance sheet. Information is provided by Fitch Ratings.

Who has access? HBS faculty, researchers, students, and authorized Baker visitors.

Where is it? Access through the database page on Baker's Web site, or here.

Research example: I need a list of publicly traded life insurance companies with a gross premium written of more than $1 billion that have been part of major M&A activity in the last two years.

Research Tip

Scholars Burn Midnight Oil

One of the great places in the world to conduct business research—Baker Library's Stamps Reading Room—suddenly has a nightlife. Since Monday-Thursday hours were extended one hour—to midnight—recently, a dozen or so students each evening are taking advantage of the extended hours to use the Financial Databases room, prepare for classroom work, and conduct low-volume networking. Weekend hours were also expanded.

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