What are licences for electronic resources?

The Queen's University Library contracts with a variety of vendors and publishers to provide users with thousands of electronic resources (databases, e-journals, e-books, etc.) costing millions of dollars per year.

In addition to paying for these resources, the Library negotiates licence agreements that stipulate how and by whom a given resource may be used. Users must be currently registered faculty, students, or staff. Only these individuals will be registered with the proxy server for off-campus access. Access for the general public is made available through terminals within the Library.

If licence terms are violated by anyone, licensors may temporarily suspend access for the entire university community. In cases where a resolution cannot be reached, the vendor may have the right to permanently revoke a licence and access to the resource.

You can help prevent such problems by adhering to good practices and avoiding improper use. Here are some rules of thumb.

Do's and don'ts

Usually Ok:

  • making a limited number of print or electronic copies for your personal use
  • using materials for personal, instructional or research needs
  • sharing with Queen's faculty, staff and students
  • posting links to specific content

Not Ok:

  • systematic or substantial printing, copying or downloading (such as entire journal issues)
  • selling or re-distributing content, or providing access to someone outside of the university community, such as an employer
  • sharing with people other than registered Queen's faculty, staff and students
  • posting actual content or articles to web sites or listservs
  • modifying or altering the contents of licenced resources in any way

The Queen's library has a database that allows you to find out exactly what is permitted under the terms of the licensing agreements that we have with each database provider (see OUL Licensing Database).

Always acknowledge your source on any published or unpublished document when you use data found on electronic resources.

GREY AREAS: Some licence agreements make express allowances for electronic reserves, course packs, multiple copies for classroom use and interlibrary lending. Other licences may prohibit one or more of these activities.

If you have questions about a particular resource, please contact the Copyright Advisory Office.

Copyright in the the Library (Reserves, Interlibrary Loan & E-Resources)

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