Acceptable Use of Online Resources

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Your 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, libraries typically negotiate license agreements that stipulate how and by whom a given resource may be used. If license 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 license and access to the resource.

The policy

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


  • Making a limited number of print or electronic copies for your personal use
  • Using materials for personal, instructional or research needs
  • Sharing with UofG faculty, staff and students
  • Posting links to specific content


  • Systematic or substantial printing, copying or downloading (such as entire journal issues); including use of any crawling or replicating software
  • 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 UofG faculty, staff and students
  • Posting actual content or articles to web sites or Listservs
  • Modifying or altering the contents of licensed resources in any way
  • Using these electronic resources for commercial purposes

Always acknowledge your source on any published or unpublished document when you use data found on electronic resources.

Grey areas: Some license agreements make express allowances for electronic reserves, course packs, multiple copies for classroom use and interlibrary lending. Other licenses may prohibit one or more of these activities.

Related Resources


The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: