WU Libraries Staff Spotlight: Micah Zeller

Micah Zeller is copyright services analyst in the Digital Scholarship and Technology Services Division of the Libraries. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, he received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy with minors in chemistry and Italian from Indiana University and graduated from Washington University School of Law in 2011. He worked at the Law Library in 2012 where he helped build their institutional repository and joined University Libraries in 2013. Zeller lives in the Central West End.

Describe your job.
The thrust of my work is to help faculty, students, and staff address intellectual property issues that connect to research, teaching, and library services. That often involves sorting rights issues in third-party materials that people want to use, addressing the disposition of rights in their own work, and facilitating its broader distribution to public use and benefit. I work with people from a variety of schools and departments and library units, which is what I enjoy most about my job: getting to learn from and help people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their area of work.

What have been some of your favorite projects?
A recent project that I’ve been really excited about is the art history book American Encounters. It was co-written by Professor Angela Miller in the Department of Art History and Archaeology and is a general survey of art history in America. The print text was published in 2008, and then it went out of print shortly afterward with the downturn of the economy.

I worked with her to secure rights and produce a digital version of the text, which for art history books can be tricky because they contain such an enormous amount of third-party material, the inclusion of which is central to the book’s utility. We had to look at 400+ artworks and evaluate if they could be used under fair use. We re-published it on Open Scholarship in December, and as of last week, it had more than 1,200 full-text downloads, and is already being used at schools across the country. We just brokered a partnership with the group Smarthistory, which works with the learning site Khan Academy. They’re going to use materials from the book in modules they’re creating for high school and 100-level art courses.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to do endurance sports: running, swimming, cycling, and hiking. I’m partial to Olympic-distance triathlons, but mostly I just love riding my bike in Forest Park or skating at Steinberg.

What are you currently reading?
I’m about halfway through John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, which I’m finding really meaningful.

Jody Mitori

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