Licensed Resources

Musselman Library of Gettysburg College purchases access to licensed electronic resources on behalf of the Gettysburg College campus community, typically through license agreements for the content.

Electronic resources offer enormous benefits. They provide faster, more convenient, 24-hour desktop access from on or off campus, as well as special features such as hypertext links to related information, graphics, audio, video, and animation. These resources are also beneficial to libraries - they don't take up valuable space on library shelves, they can't be stolen or destroyed, and, depending on the license agreement, they allow more than one user to access information at the same time.

Significant portions of Musselman Library's materials budget are spent on electronic resources. Almost every electronic book, database, and journal provided by Musselman Library has been licensed. Each publisher's license agreement outlines specific terms and conditions under which the resources may be used.

A license agreement is a contract between an intellectual property owner and a potential user. Unlike print resources, libraries do not own most electronic or digital resources. Instead, a license agreement is negotiated and signed with each owner which allows the library's users to access the electronic information for a specified amount of time for a specified fee.

The definition of an authorized user depends on the terms set out in the license of a particular electronic resource. Generally authorized users are the registered students, faculty, and staff of the institution purchasing the electronic resource. In many cases, authorized users also include members of the public who use the e-resource on library premises.

Rights and Restrictions

Although each license is unique, common uses/restrictions found in licenses for digital information products include the following:

Permitted Uses: Authorized users may typically display, download, print, and copy a reasonable portion (generally one or two articles or one book chapter) of the licensed electronic resource for non-commercial educational, clinical, or research purposes. Individuals who are not affiliated with the library may use licensed content only when physically at the library.

Restrictions: Systematic downloading, copying, distributing, or retaining substantial portions of information or using software such as scripts, agents, or robots, to retrieve information is generally prohibited. Altering, recompiling, reselling, redistributing or republishing of electronic content is also typically prohibited.


Content in this page was used or adapted with permission from one or more institutions. Please see acknowledgements.