Question - Digital Copy of Research Article

A professor in the biology department finds an article in a journal at the university library that covers recent developments in her area of research. The article is quite lengthy and she would like the opportunity not only to read it at her leisure but to have it to refer to while conducting her research. She asks the librarian to digitally copy the article so she may load it on her computer for research purposes. She agrees not to distribute the article to anyone else. May the librarian digitally copy the article?

Yes. Copying the article in this instance falls within the limited use allowed under the copyright law for teaching, criticism, commentary, reporting, scholarship, and research and is considered a "fair use". Making a digital copy has no greater impact than if the library made a hard copy. If the professor decides to download the copied article from the diskette to her hard drive, she should erase the copy of the article from the diskette, thereby retaining only one copy of the article.