Electronic resources appropriate use guidelines

The University of Waterloo 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 license 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 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.

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 UW 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 UW 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

Always acknowledge your source on any published or unpublished document when you use data found on electronic resources.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

Contacts and more information

If you have questions about a particular resource, please contact Lauren Byl via email or by calling 519-888-4567, extension 42356.

For more information, see the following UW policy statements on copyright information, and Statement on Use of UW Computing and Network Resources.