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Articles, Chapters, Papers, and Reports

Alford, Duncan E. (2002). Negotiating and analyzing electronic license agreements. Law Library Journal, 94(4), 621-644. The author analyzes license agreements for electronic resources and suggests certain negotiation points to consider when entering into such an agreement. Details the results of a survey of law librarians about their preparation for negotiating electronic license agreements, and the legal strategies publishers use to support the licensing of electronic information. After reviewing selected principles of licensing issued by library associations and several standardized electronic license agreements, he identifies provisions in a typical agreement that should concern libraries and suggests certain arguments to use in negotiating terms more favorable to the library.

Alleman, Steve. “Consortial licensing of digital resources: implications for cooperative collection development; a program sponsored by the ALCTS CMDS Education for Collection Development Committee.” Library Acquisitions, 21:4 (1997): 510-11. This is a report of presentations by librarians from Columbia University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Florida International University on models of library cooperation and their adaptation to the online environment. Discussed are factors leading to a successful cooperative venture and the experience of a multi-consortial environment, with a focus on consortial licensing.

Allen, Barbara McFadden. “Negotiating Digital Information System Licenses Without Losing Your Shirt or Your Soul.” Journal of Library Administration, 24:4 (1997): 15-26. The author describes the collaborative work of libraries belonging to the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of major universities in the midwest United States. The CIC libraries have cooperated in collection management of “traditional” collections, in the acquisition and management of electronic information resources, and in the creation of new kinds of digital information. An appendix presents the CIC guidelines on collaborative acquisition of electronic information resources.

AAU Task Force on Intellectual Property Rights in an Electronic Environment. Report. Submitted to the AAU Presidents Steering Committee April 4, 1994, Washington, DC. This report outlines priciples and policies for the use and management of intellectual property governed by copyright law recommended for approval by the Association of American Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries. Discussed in the report: the significance of copyright to universities; principles for the use and management of copyright in universities; universities in relationship to copyrights, particularly as users, creators, and publishers of copyrighted materials; scenarios for ownership of intellectual property created as part of university employment; and issues for further consideration by AAU and ARL members. Print publication as American Association of Universities Research Libraries Project, Reports of the AAU Task Forces on: Acquisition and distribution of foreign language and area studies materials; A national strategy for managing scientific and technological information; Intellectual property rights in an electronic environment (Washington DC: Association of Research Libraries 1994).

Ardito, Stephanie C., “Electronic Copyright Under Siege.” Online, 20:5 (Sept/Oct. 1992): 83-88.

Bielefield, A. & Cheeseman, L. (1999). Interpreting and negotiating licensing agreements: A guidebook for the library, research, and teaching professions. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. Covers the basics of negotiating content and database license agreements, with an emphasis on contract structure.

Baker, Angee. “The impact of consortia on database licensing.” Computers in Libraries, 20:6 (June 2000): 46-50. Abstract. This article discusses the licensing program of the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET). Also discussed is The Network Alliance, a group of sixteen networks covering most of North America. The author describes the advantages of networks and consortia and predicts that the pressures of cost recovery will in the future result in fewer but larger consortia.

Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA)  “Library E-Resource Accessibility – Standardized License Language.” Statement of Principles from major academic library consortium.

Bjoernshauge, Lars. “Consortia building and electronic licensing as vehicles for re-engineering academic library services: the case of the Technical Knowledge Center and Library of Denmark.”Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 22 (Spring 1999). The author describes how The Technical Knowledge Center and Library of Denmark “has broken the vicious circle of zero growth funding, price increases, and journal cancellations.” This was accomplished through a re-engineering of electronic services and library operations, which included consortia building, electronic licensing, phasing out of paper editions, staff reductions, investments in staff education, and development of integrated electronic services.

Bjoernshauge, Lars. “Consortia licensing: implications for digital collection development.” INSPEL, 33:2 (1999): 116-21. Presented at the 1998 IFLA Conference. Article in PDF format. The author advocates the formation of library consortia as a way to cope with the rising costs of maintaining collections of electronic media. In addition to joint purchases of access to electronic information, the author suggests several other ways libraries can cope with the current crisis in funding: cut down on traditional paperwork; reduce library staff; and invest in staff education and training.

Blosser, John. “Vendors and licenses: adding value for customers.” Serials Librarian, 38:1/2 (2000): 143-46. The author proposes that vendors assist libraries in the routine processing of licenses. By serving as intermediaries between libraries and publishers in standardizing the format, language, and conditions of licensing agreements vendors would both help libraries and and increase the value of their product. Vendors could also provide libraries with online information regarding subscriptions of electronic resources, thus saving libraries unnecessary paperwork.

Brennan, Patricia, Karen Hersey and Georgia Harper. (1997). Licensing Electronic Resources: Strategic and Practical Considerations For Signing Electronic Information Delivery Agreements. This site provides a useful overview of licensing concepts, and it outlines strategic and practical considerations that librarians and institutions need to consider before negotiating a license. The strategic issues it addresses include institutional policy, license review and revision, costs, location, ownership, and indemnification. The practical matters it discusses include determining who will use the resource, location of resource access, downloading and printing of licensed material, and institutional control and restriction of licensed materials. The site also provides tips for proceeding after the decision has been made to obtain access to an electronic resource.

Buchanan, Nancy L. “Navigating the Electronic River: Electronic Product Licensing and Contracts.” Serials Librarian, 30:3/4 (1997): 171-182. Also published simultaneously in Pioneering New Serials Frontiers: From Petroglyphs to Cyberserials. Proceedings of the NASIG Conference. (ed. Christine Christiansen and Cecilia Leathem). Haworth Press, 1997. This paper provides a practical overview of the licensing process for electronic products, focusing on the information library staff need to know in order to deal with vendors and contracts accurately and effectively. It also highlights major areas in licenses that may be problematic for libraries, such as defining “use,” “user,” and “site,” establishing remote access, resolving technical concerns such as resource mounting and installation, establishing terms of payment, etc.

Button, Leslie Horner. “The good, the bad and the ugly: forming consortia and licensing.” Library Collections Acqusitions and Technical Services, 23:2 (Summer 1999): 204-06. This is a report of presentations given at the 1998 Charleston Conference by Ann Okerson, at the time Associate University Librarian for Collection Development and Management, Yale University Library and by Dan Arbour, University Microfilms International. Okerson discussed the difficulties presented by licenses and explained that licenses are often at odds with the principles underlying copyright. It is not yet clear how disputes regarding licenses will be clarified or how case law will evolve. Consortia, Okerson said, present both complications as well as opportunities. Consortial arrangements and product pricing are becoming more simplified, and templates and frameworks are being worked out. In his remarks Arbour discussed trends within the development of consortia. Migration of online technology has had the greatest impact on the rise of consortia, and consortia account for an increasing percentage–now 50 percent–of database purchases. Trends Arbour identified include the ability to block access to items (at the publishers’ request), identification of activity on a per article basis, and the development of specific group and market restrictions.

Carver, Deborah A. “Statewide database licensing the Oregon way.”OLA Quarterly, 5:1 [i.e., 4:4] (Winter 1999): 7+. This article describes the successful efforts of a group of Oregon libraries in negotiating a vendor license for shared database access without having a large amount of start-up funds. After the price was agreed upon with the vendor, a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) federal grant program to participating libraries helped ensure that most libraries in the group agreed to the contract and to share costs. The author argues that similar statewide efforts are the most cost-effective in securing broad access to electronic resources.

CAUL (Council of Australian University Libraries). “CAUL Procurement: Statement on eBook provision.” 

Collier, Mel, Anne Ramsden, and Zhao Dianguo. “Networking and licensing texts for electronic libraries: De Montfort University’s experience.” OCLC Systems and Services, 12:3 (1996): 18-28. This article describes licensing and copyright issues in collaborative projects for developing electronic collections in which De Montfort University (Leicester, UK) has participated, and in some cases, played a leading role. These include ELISE (electronic libraries image server for Europe), ELSA (European libraries’ SGML application), Phoenix (for delivery of course readers), ELVIS (electronic library for visually impaired students), and ELINOR (electronic library information online retrieval). The authors also discuss the development of a standard license agreement, usage tracking and reports, copyright control, and pricing models.

Cox, John. “Model generic licenses: cooperation and competition.” Serials Review, 26:1 (2000): 3-9. The author describes a set of model licenses developed by John Cox Associates, an international publishing consultancy, for use by publishers, subscription agents, and libraries. The licenses are in the public domain and are available at Licenses, Cox writes, should be seen as means to assist both publishers and libraries rather than as an aspect in asserting competitive advantage. Though some major publishers are negotiating directly with libraries and consortia, model licenses have an important role in simplifying negotiations between publishers and libraries. Five major vendors (Blackwell, RoweCom, EBSCO, Harrassowitz, and Swets) sponsored the four licenses and assisted in their development. The UK’s Publishers/JISC model license served as a starting point for the development of the model license suite. Other sources of ideas included licensing statements by the ALA and ICOLC, as well as the LIBLICENSE website. The article concludes with a discussion of business models that will likely affect the licensing environment in the future.

Cox, John (2001). Licensing serials. Serials, 14(2): 139-142. A short checklist of items that will help guide librarians most of the important items when preparing to negotiate a content license.

Cramer, Michael D. “Licensing agreements: think before you act.” College & Research Libraries News, 55:8 (Sept. 1994): 496-497.

Crews, Kenneth D. “Licensing for Information Resources: Creative Contracts and the Library Mission, ” in Virtually Yours: Models for Managing Electronic Resources and Services. Chicago: American Library Association, 1998, pp. 98-110. In this book chapter Crews presents an overview of basic legal issues involved in the acquisition of licenses for information resources. The initial section is a primer on licenses and contracts. In addition to the fundamentals of contracts, issues treated are authorized agents, unenforceable contracts, and conflicts between contracts and copyright. In a section on the substance of the licensing contract the author presents brief discussions of the following issues: acquisition of resources through purchase verses license; contracts for user rights; preservation and backup copies; first-sale doctrine; displays and performance of works; classroom use and distance learning; interlibrary loan; fair use; and preservation of the public domain. Future developments in the law are next addressed, including database protection, copyright legislation considered by the US Congress, and state law and the UCC. Crews then presents a number of strategies for improving licensing practices. He concludes with an exhortation for librarians to be creative and assertive in acquiring and using information resources.

Crisp, Jeanne. “More for less: sharing costs and increasing access through WSL’s statewide database licensing project.” Alki, 14:1 (March 1998): 12. This brief article describes the aims of Washington State Library’s statewide database licensing project. All non-profit libraries in the state are to receive assistance, whether or not they have already been purchasing electronic resources. Patrons are to have access to databases either from home or their local public library. (WSL’s database licensing pilot project ran until June 2002. For more information see

Croft, Janet Brennan. “Model licenses and interlibrary loan/document delivery from electronic resources.” Interlending and Document Supply, 29:4 (2001): 165-168. The author, Head of Access Services at Bizell Memorial Library, University of Oklahoma, reviews how ILL is treated in various model licenses and sets of licensing principles. She examines the PA/JISC and NESLI initiatives, the John Cox Associates model license suite, and the CLIR/DLF/LIBLICENSE model, among others. Smaller libraries, which may not have the strength of negotiation to use an already-established model license in place of vendor licenses, may find it useful to develop a list of acceptable terms to be used when evaluating vendor licenses. Such a list could then be developed into a local model license that can be compared to vendor licenses, thus helping librarians better negotiate the replacement of license clauses they find objectionable. “For the ILL department,” Croft writes, preferring a particular ILL clause will reduce the number of different types of permissions the staff needs to comply with.” Croft also stresses that librarians and vendors must show care to reach joint understanding of the legal and publishing terms employed in licenses. PDF available from publisher’s website: search for “Janet Brennan Croft”.

Dames, K. M. (2008). Getting to yes: Licensing, control, and the SERU initiative. Information Standards Quarterly, 20(1): 15-16. Offers a review of the Shared E-Resources Understanding (SERU) and its place in contemporary license negotiations where publishers may sue institutions over perceived or alleged legal violations involving electronic reserves.

Dames, K. M. (2007). Librarians and licensing. Information Today, 24(3): 18. Dames, who teaches licensing, discusses the need for licensing education in contemporary library science programs.

Davis, Trisha L. “Legal issues: the negotiator’s perspective for getting to the heart of the license,” in Virtually Yours: Models for Managing Electronic Resources and Services. Chicago: American Library Association, 1998, pp. 118-126. In this informative and clearly-written book chapter the author describes the information librarians need in negotiating licenses for electronic information. Topics discussed: negotiating parties; defining what is being licensed; license terms; product pricing; definition of “authorized user”; definition of “site”; specification of rights offered; access determination; contractual obligations; limited warranties and liability statements; and other legal terms.

Davis, Trisha L. “License Agreements in Lieu of Copyright: Are We Signing Away Our Rights?” Library Acquisitions: Practice & Theory, 21: 1 (1997): 19-28. This article compares the rights and restrictions included in license agreements, which are based on contract law, with standard library policy, which is based on copyright law. Areas of user rights that need to be identified and protected are discussed.

Davis, Trisha L. and John J. Reilly. “Understanding License Agreements for Electronic Products.” The Serials Librarian, 34:1/2 (1998): 247-60. The authors describe and discuss the steps required to understand, acquire and process a license agreement for an electronic product. The emphasis is on contractual issues such as what it means to sign a license agreement, the relationship between the librarian and legal counsel, recitals, definitions, the license grant, proprietary rights, warranties, limitation of liability, updates, payment and renewal, term and termination, etc.

Desmarais, Norman. “Understanding software license agreements.” Against the Grain, 8:6 (Dec. 1996-Jan. 97): 44-46. The author, Acquisitions Librarian at Providence College, discusses aspects of license agreements with which librarians must be familiar. Conditions set out in licenses can vary widely, and the definition of terms must be clear. The author addresses in particular restrictions determined by the number of users or network nodes and by location, and he recommends licenses based on the number of concurrent users. Above all, negotiating skill is needed in reaching agreement over license terms. The article presents a useful discussion on the need for library administrators to monitor the use of products leased. Librarians also must plan for what action they can and will take regarding a product at the end of that product’s license term.

Duranceau, Ellen Finnie. “Beyond Print: Revisioning Serials Acquistions for the Digital Age.” Serials Librarian, 33:1-2 (1998): 83-106. The author describes the new challenges and opportunities that Web-based serials present acquisitions departments. Web-based serials require an entirely new workflow, one that is no longer a series of linear and standardized steps, but is rather a complex, cyclical, labor-intensive, variable, and team-based process. License negotiation and compliance demand an entirely new set of skills to be added to the serials acquisitions repertoire. The article presents the MIT Libraries’ serials acquisition process as a case study. Serials librarians are uniquely positioned to meet the demands of Web-based serials by leveraging their experience with print serials to carve out a niche in the world of the Web.

Duranceau, Ellen Finnie. “Electronic Journal Forum: Why You Can’t Learn License Negotiation in Three Easy Lessons: A Conversation with Georgia Harper, Office of General Counsel, University of Texas.” Serials Review, 23:3 (1997) 69-71. This article is a summary of advice regarding license negotiation offered by Georgia Harper, Copyright Attorney in the Office of General Counsel for the University of Texas System. Harper stresses that there is no fail-safe checklist for determining the appropriateness of licenses in all situations. However, she does recommend avoiding language that produces any of the following outcomes: tight restriction of access; library responsibility for policing patrons’ use; and indemnification of the vendor in cases of violations of contract restrictions which are clearly unrealistic. Experience dealing with licensing and awareness of legal precedent will both help librarians minimize the risk of undesirable outcomes after a license is signed, Harper says. Negotiations for change in license terms will be more effective if librarians can explain in clear, non-technical language why the changes are needed. Harper also encourages librarians to be flexible and not to be overly afraid of making mistakes. The library community needs to share information and experience about license negotiation. More information is available at Harper’s Website: Just Sign It and Send It Back.

Duranceau, Ellen Finnie. “License Tracking.” Serials Review, 26:3 (2000): 69-73. This article describes MIT library’s recent experience in tracking and managing licenses for electronic resources. After experimenting with both a high-maintenance Ebase database and various lower- tech lists, the library in early 2000 began using a tool it created in FileMaker. The tool, called “VERA,” allows the automatic generation of Web-based reports, which earlier had to be created individually. Use of the tool, with which MIT is very pleased, is described here, and several screen shots are included.

Duranceau, Ellen Finnie (2000). License compliance. Electronic Journal Forum, 26(1): 53-58. Discusses compliance with electronic data licensing within the context of negotiations, staff training, and user education.

Dyson, Esther. “Intellectual Value.” Wired 3.07 (July 1995). The author argues that market forces will eventually compel providers of intellectual property to distribute much of their product for free. Income for providers will come through support services, including information aggregation, filtering, and assembly, custom programming, consulting, integration of content modules, and training of customers.

EBLIDA. “Licensing Digital Resources: How to avoid the legal pitfalls” (PDF version). This guide is intended for the use of librarians throughout Europe, though it may be useful for anyone seeking to better understand licensing agreements. It discusses in depth license clauses and other legal aspects in licensing. Examined are usage restrictions, term and termination, delivery and access to licensed materials, license fees, library undertakings, warranties and indemnities, force majeure, assignment and sub-contracting, dispute settlement, and schedules. A number of clauses to avoid are also discussed. The guide was written and updated by Emanuella Giavarra, LLM for the European Commission-funded projects ECUP+ and CELIP. The projects were co-ordinated by EBLIDA, the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations. This second edition of this resource was published in September 2001. The first edition, published in November 1998, is available in a number of European languages.

Flanagan, Michael. “Database licensing: a future view.” Computers in libraries, 13:1 (Jan. 1993): 21-22. After a brief review of the history of database licensing up to the writing of the article (1992), the author speculates on the mounting of full-text databases on PAC systems in ACSII text and on the impact of the Z39.50 standard.

Franklin, B. (2005). Managing the electronic collection with cost per use data. IFLA Journal, 31(3): 241-248. The vice provost at the University of Connecticut, Franklin reviews some of the early efforts to develop cost per use data for electronic collections and discusses some of the ways libraries, consortia, and publishers currently use unit cost information to make management decisions. Emerging trends in the standardization of electronic usage statistics and concurrent utilization of cost per use data to manage electronic collections hold tremendous potential for libraries and library consortia to increasingly employ reliable cost and use data to support collection development and management decisions.

Frohlich, Anne, “Electronic licensing agreements workshop in Louisiana.” Serials Review, 25:3 (1999): 109-11. This is a report of a presentation by Julia Gammon, head of the Acquisitions Department at the University of Akron and former president of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG). The presentation includes a discussion of the legal foundation of licenses, license terms, license process and management, and the negotiation of licenses. The report was presented in March 1999 and was sponsored by NASIG and the Louisiana Library Association.

Fulton, Marsha L. “Enterprise-wide agreements.” Searcher, 7:2 (Feb. 1999): 24-29. This article presents the results of an Arthur Andersen survey of five vendors regarding purchase or licensing of electronic information for entire organizations. The companies surveyed are Dialog, Dow Jones, Gale Group, LEXIS-NEXIS, and UMI. Topics covered by the survey include: current number of enterprise-wide agreements; pricing of enterprise-wide agreements; training and support; supersearcher support; Web access; and strategy for the future. The article concludes with questions institutions may want to ask vendors.

Geleijnse, Hans. “The KUB’s experience with electronic subscriptions.” Library Acqusitions, 21 (Fall 1997): 297-302. This overview of the experiences of the KUB, Tilburg University (the Netherlands), with Elsevier Electronic Subscriptions was presented at the Elsevier Electronic Subscriptions conference, Tilburg University, October 1996. Beginning in 1993 the KUB began emphasizing access to “primary” rather than merely “secondary” information. This approach meant making full-text access the cornerstone of its digital resources. A project begun with Elsevier in that same year has been central to this effort. Since then, the KUB has concluded license agreements with several other publishers for delivery of full-text information. Also discussed in this article are limitations on the full use of electronic files, full-text service evaluation, library strategies concerning ownership and access to scholarly journals, and the future of pricing and licensing. Gleijnse believes that rises in the price of information may result in libraries passing increasing costs onto faculties and research projects. This in turn could spur scholars into finding their own ways of communicating their ideas and lead to new approaches concerning copyright.

Gibbs, Nancy J. “Negotiating contracts for electronic resources.” Serials Librarian, 25:3/4 (1995): 269-275. Copublished in Holley, Beth and Mary Ann Sheble, eds. A Kaleidoscope of Choices: Reshaping Roles and Opportunities for Serialists. New York: Hayworth Press, 1995, pp. 269-275. This is a report of a workshop on license agreements held at the 1994 conference of the North American Serials Interest Group in Vancouver, B.C. and conducted by Trish Davis, head of Continuations at Ohio State University; Bill Kara, head of Acquisitions, Mann Library, Cornell University; and Ann Caputo, manager of Academic Programs for Dialog Information Services. The article reviews fundamental aspects of license agreements, definition of users, security and policing of usage, negotiating, pricing structures, and types of access.

Ginsburg, Jane C. “Reproduction of Protected Works for University Research or Teaching.” Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., 39:3 (Spring 1992). Ginsburg reviews the general framework governing research and teaching reproductions and considers collective licensing as an alternative.

Gregory, Vicki L. “UCITA: what does it mean for libraries?” Online, 25:1 (2001): 30-34. This article presents a clear and concise overview of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) and its implications for libraries. Gregory, who is Professor and Director of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Florida, writes that opponents of UCITA are concerned that the Act will limit library activities in new ways. UCITA, they argue, will threaten fair use exemptions to copyright law, which enable libraries to share and preserve materials; make libraries responsible for software acquired or dowloaded by employees or patrons; permit software makers to prohibit purchasers from publishing reviews of their products; and allow licensors unilaterally to disable licensed software and databases in the event of contract disputes. UCITA has been passed into law by the state legislatures of Maryland and Virginia, and in the next year it is expected to be considered by the rest of the states and by provincial legislatures in Canada. The article lists a number of Web sites at which more information on UCITA can be obtained.

Guenther, Kim. “Making smart licensing decisions.”Computers in Libraries, 20:6 (June 2000): 58-60. The author presents criteria for deciding on the basis of content what digital resources a library should pursue. These criteria are the following: the fit within the library’s collections; product and content quality; ease of utilization; formatting; searchability; product design; access; and vendor reliability and stability. Guenther writes that librarians be familiar with the language and terms of licensing agreements, and she recommends that libraries develop their own standard license agreement. Included are points from the checklist developed by the European Copyright User Platform. Finally, Guenther presents a useful list of issues to consider in evaluating the managability of a given electronic product within a library’s broader digital resources.

Gylstorff, Niels Henrik. “Take it easy ISI; eller faellesfinansiering af informationslicenser i det danske forskningsbiblioteksvaesen.” [Take it easy ISI; or, Joint financing of information licenses in Danish research libraries]. DF Revy, 20:1 (Jan. 1997): 3-5.

Hardy, I. Trotter. “Contracts, Copyright and Preemption in a Digital World.”Richmond Journal of Law and Technology, 1995. This article addresses problems that copyright and its interpretation encounter when applied to digital material. Central to these problems, Hardy writes, is the copyright preemption doctrine: the preemption of state contract law as permitted by the Copyright Act under some situations. The inherent conflict of interest between copyright consumers and copyright publishers converge in copyright preemption, which will be a key issue in digital publishing, Hardy concludes.

Harris, Lesley. “Deal-maker, deal-breaker: when to walk away.” Library Journal, 125: 1 (January 2000): 12-14. About negotiations in use of digital resources. About negotiations in use of digital resources. The author presents an excellent primer for librarians preparing to negotiate license agreements. Her main points–“20 Tips for Negotiating Success”– are neatly summarized in a sidebar. Harris writes that librarians should come to negotiations with a detailed list of the ways in which the library or library patrons will use the licensed material. Flexibility in negotiations is vital; you must know what you are willing to give up in order to secure what you are determined to obtain. Librarians should also know the interests and needs of the “other side”-the people and company they are negotiating with. During negotiations, one must listen carefully and actively, making sure everything is clear understood. Never assume anything, Harris writes. During negotiations one should be assertive, but not aggressive. Librarians should take time to consider a deal before agreeing to it. Finally, it is important to know when further negotiations are of no use and should be discontinued.

Harris, Lesley. “Getting what you bargained for.” Library Journal, (Supplement Spring 2000): 20-22. In this useful article, Harris defines and explains the terms involved in licensing contracts for digital content. She discusses agreement clauses, content, grant of rights, licensor obligations, licensee/library obligations, payment, duration of the agreement, permitted uses of licensed digital information, and monitoring use of licensed material. Harris also addresses boilerplate clauses, which deal with confidentiality concerning agreements, warranties, indemnity and limitation of liability,remedies, dispute resolution, force majeure, governing law, and amendments.

Henning, N. (2002). Improving access to e-Journals and databases at the MIT libraries: Building a database-backed Web site called “Vera.” The Serials Librarian, 41(3/4): 227-254. A case study about MIT’s database, called “Vera” (Virtual Electronic Resource Access), including field definitions and how the database is used by both staff and public. The development of the database helped to improve access and made it easier to maintain a growing number of resources. It has also led to many further questions and discussions among the staff of the MIT Libraries about the scope of the OPAC and how tools like Vera should be related to it.

Hormia-Poutanen, Kristiina (2001). Licensing electronic journals in Finland. Serials, 14(2): 129-133. Case study about the development of the e-journal collection in Finland’s National Electronic Library (FinELib). Developments in the electronic library are closely linked with developments in study environments generally and in the evolution of the virtual university in particular. The Electronic Library has become an essential part in the digital library services used by universities, polytechnics, public libraries and many publicly funded research institutes.

Hunsucker, G. M. (1997). The European Database Directive: Regional Stepping Stone to an International Model? 7 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent. L.J. 697. Discusses the development of the European Union’s Database Directive, and supports its existence as a fair balance between protecting the database developer’s development costs and the free flow of information.

International Coalition of Library Consortia [corporate author]. “Statement of current perspective and preferred practices for the selection and purchase of electronic information.” Information Technology and Libraries, 17:1 (March 1998): 45-50. This statement clearly and succinctly describes current problems and needs for the future in the provision of electronic information (with an emphasis on electronic journals). Topics discussed are inadequate funding; attacks on fair use; archiving; dysfunction within the scholarly communications system; unsustainable pricing strategies; and difficulty in measuring effectiveness. The statement then outlines preferred practices for libraries in the electronic information environment. Areas covered are contract negotiations; pricing; access, archiving, systems and licenses; content, management data, and use; and authentication. Regarding licenses, the ICOLC advocates that consortia and their member libraries obtain from providers perpetual license to content. Libraries should have the right, under the same license, to change providers, agents or vendors. Libraries should also be able to archive content they purchase and to select the format in which they wish to receive and store information.

Jacobson, Robert L. “Colleges Urged to Protect Rights in Licensing Negotiations.”Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 July 1996, pp. A15ff, featuring interview with A.S. Okerson. Based on an interview with Ann S. Okerson, this article discusses the tension inherent in libraries’ interest in making electronic publications widely and easily available and publishers’ desire to control use of their products through contractual limits. Okerson emphasizes the need for libraries to negotiate terms of licensing contracts and to consider carefully the language in contracts before signing. Also discussed are several projects Okerson leads which are helping libraries promote users’ rights in agreements with publishers, including the Northeast Research Library Consortium.

Jamtgaard, Laurel. “Licensing and information wares: an update on UCC Article 2B.” Information Outlook, 2:11 (1998): 31-4+.

Jasper, Richard P. “ALCTS Acqusitions Administrators Discussion Group. Electronic journal pricing and licensing: where do librarians and publishers agree?” Library Acquisitions, 20:3 (Fall 1996): 379-81. This report on the impact of electronic publications on the work of acquisitions librarians was presented at a session of the 1996 ALA Midwinter Conference. Speakers at the session were Meta Nissley, head of the Acquisitions and Collection Management Department, Meriam Library, California State University at Chico, and Liz Pope, Electronic Publications Director, Academic Press. Nissley discussed general issues involved in moving to a fully electronic environment for libraries, including cost, access, and flexibility. She also described the various pricing and licensing options employed by publishers of electronic materials. In her presentation, Pope said that the current environment was confusing for publishers as well. Addressing pricing models, she said that the needs of libraries differ and evolve and that Academic has responded to this need for flexibility. After a brief review of questions raised by those present at the session, the author of this report concludes that long-term maintenance of access to electronic information is the most important issue associated with pricing and licensing of electronic journals.

Jensen, Mary Brandt. “CD-ROM Licenses: What’s in the Fine or Nonexistent Print May Surprise You.” CD-ROM Professional, 4: 2 (1991): 13-16.

Johnson, Judy Lenore. “License review and negotiation: building a team-based institutional process.” Library Collections Acquisitions and Technical Services, 23:3 (Fall 1999): 339-41. This is a report of an ARL workshop on license negotiation and management held on 5 and 6 November, 1998 in Kansas City, Missouri and sponsored by the Bit 12 Plus Libraries Consortium. The workshop was led by Mary Case, Director of the ARL’s Office of Scholarly Communication; Karen Hersey, Intellectual Property Counsel, MIT; and Trisha Davis, Head of Continuations Acquisitions Division, The Ohio State University Libraries. The content of the workshop is similar to that summarized by Judy Luther in her article listed in this bibliography.

Johnson, Peggy. “Metadata, rights management, and contracts.” Technicalities, 19:6 (June/July 1999): 1, 16-18. This article reviews issues involved in rights management (managing the the right of users to carry out operations on licensed content, such as viewing, downloading, or printing), including authentication of users and management of rights ownership. Johnson explains that a standards-based infrastructure is needed to facilitate the transactions involved, and she describes a number of encryption technologies being developed to support these transactions. The article ends with a review of the various competing standards for rights management.

Johnson, R. & Luther, J. (2007). The E-only tipping point for journals: What’s ahead in the print-to-electronic transition zone. Retrieved from This report examines the issues associated with moves toward electronic-only publication of journals. It is based in large part on interviews with two-dozen academic librarians and journal publishers. Interviews were conducted with collection officers and others at a dozen ARL member libraries; the rest of the interviews were with publishing staff of societies and university presses, publishing platform hosts, and publishing production consultants.

Kaye, Laurie. “Owning and licensing contentkey legal issues in the electronic environment.” Journal of Information Science, 25:1 (1999): 7-14. In this article, originally a paper delivered at the 1998 IIS Conference, the author first presents information on copyright law as treated in WIPO treaties and in European Union legislation. Copyright infringement and protection of copyrighted digital material are discussed within the framework of the draft EU Copyright Directive. The author then addresses various issues faced by libraries when entering into license agreements. These include service definition; authorized users; scope and basis of use; restrictions on use; passwords; support; training; data integrity; term, renewal, and effect of termination; indemnities; limitations; and dispute resolution.

Kendall, Mark F. “How we did it: resource sharing and license agreements; a report.” Library Acquisitions, 21:3 (Fall 1997): 253-55. Presented at the 1996 Charlston Conference. This is a report on a discussion on cooperative licensing agreements held at the 1996 Charleston Conference. The discussion was led by Marietta Plank, Associate Director for Technical Services for the University of Maryland at College Park Library. Plank discussed in her remarks the benefits and drawbacks of cooperative agreements with vendors and publishers. Potential benefits include financial savings and wider, consistent access to resources purchased. Possible disadvantages are delays in decision making, more difficult enforcement of license agreements, and failure to get the best price. Plank stressed the importance of negotiation with vendors and publishers. She also recommended that libraries and consortia themselves approach vendors and publishers to work out large purchases, rather than waiting for vendors to make their own offers.

Kennedy, John B., and Davids, Shoshana R., “Web-Site Agreements Do Not Wrap Up IP Rights.” National Law Journal, October 23, 1995, C03, col. 1.

Lawrence, Eileen. “Licensing: A Publisher’s Perspective.” Serials Librarian, 38:1/2 (2000): 147-53. The author, Vice President of Sales at Chadwyck-Healey, discusses her experience in license negotiation. Lawrence describes Chadwyck-Healey’s differing procedures for full-text license and subscription license agreements. She adds that Chadwyck-Healey does not expect to use the services of a subscription agency, and that it instead prefers to work directly with its customers.

Leiding, Reba. “Understanding the licensing landscape: highlights of the ACRL preconference.” Library Collections Acquisitions and Technical Services, 24:2 (Summer 2000): 285-287. This article is a report of the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) preconference program on licensing, held in New Orleans on June 25, 1999. Ivy Anderson, Coordinator for Digital Acquisitions, Harvard University Library, addressed the legal framework of the license and encouraged librarians to negotiate with publishers to secure rights consistent with customary academic practices such as fair use, ILL, and downloading and printing for academic and research use. Anderson counseled that librarians be cautious and rigorous in examining and negotiating the terms of licenses. Hannah Stevens, Executive Director, Boston Library Consortium, spoke on negotiation techniques. She recommended being direct and specific in explaining library needs while also seeking to understand the interests of the vendor. Kimberly Parker, Electronic Publishing and Collection Librarian, Yale University Library, emphasized that tracking licenses is important to both license negotiation and compliance, and she outlined several tracking methods. Parker suggested that license agreements be scanned and posted to a secure library Web site, thus enabling cross searching for specific terms and language. Ellen Duranceau, Assistant Acquisitions Librarian, MIT, addressed license compliance. Central to compliance are user rules that are consistent, reasonable, and consistent with fair use. Duranceau suggested that usage guidelines be posted to libraries’ Web sites and that library staff be prepared to address issues of non-compliance before they arise. Barbara McFadden Allen, Director of the Center for Library Initiatives, Committee on Institutional Cooperation, concluded the program with a consideration of the future of licensing. The licensing process will be simplified in the future, Allen said, through use of generic licensing agreements or through licensing agents operating as subscription managers. No standard for pricing models has yet emerged, she added.

Lemley, Mark A. “Intellectual Property and Shrink-wrap Licenses.” Southern California Law Review, 68 (1995): 1239. Shrinkwrap licenses should not be allowed to alter the balance of rights, and licensors should be prevented from unilaterally withholding from licensees rights they would otherwise have under intellectual property law.

Lowry, Anita Kay. “Copyright and Licensing in the Electronic Environment.” Scholarly Publishing Today, 2:2 (1993): 3-5.

Luther, Judy. “Licensing electronic resources to libraries-an ARL workshop for publishers.” Against the Grain, 11:1 (Feb. 1999): 67, 70. This is a brief report on a workshop on licensing held in Washington, D.C. on August 14, 1998. The aim on the workshop was to find ways to streamline the licensing process for both publishers and libraries while balancing and protecting the needs of both sides. The workshop was led by Trisha Davis, Head of Continuations Acquisitions Division at Ohio State University; Karen Hersey, Intellectual Property Counsel, MIT; and Mary Case, Director of the Office of Scholarly Communication at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Summarized in this report are the legal foundations of a license agreement, user and access terms and conditions, legal terms and conditions, and business terms and conditions.

Lynch, Clifford A. “Technology and its implication for serials acquisition.” Against the Grain, 9:1 (Feb. 1997) 34-37. This is an edited transcription of a presentation by Lynch given at the 1996 Charleston Conference. After a review of the difficulties local mounting of electronic material presented libraries in the past, Lynch presents an engaging discussion of issues and problems in licensing and delivery of Web-based electronic journals. He addresses user authentication, routing of non-textual items for printing, content consistency and coherency in online publications, development and maintenance of abstracting and indexing services, convenient linking to individual content, and linking to resources for which licenses may not be in place. He also addresses the issue of secure container technologies and digital lockboxes, seeing in them both attractive possibilities and potential problems.

McGinnis, Suzan D. (2000). Selling our collecting souls: How license agreements are controlling collection management. Journal of Library Administration, 31(2): 63-76. Considers the changes that licensing contracts are bringing to academic libraries. Discusses ownership versus licensing; packaging of electronic journals; cost-benefit analysis; multiple versions of the same information, e.g. print and electronic; consortial agreements; negotiating; legal issues; and the collection uniqueness.

Miller, Kathy. “Library consortia change the rules.” Computers in libraries, 16:10 (Nov/Dec. 1996): 20-21. This article is a report of a one-day “session” on library consortia sponsored by the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services (NFAIS), held on 20 September, 1996. The purpose of the session was to assist vendors and publishers in better understanding and working with consortia. Ann Okerson, who has been organizing the Northeast Research Libraries (NERL) consortium, emphasized that licenses should be negotiated with care as they can set precedents for later work. Libraries need a broad definition of “user,” and clear guidelines on fair use. Licenses are unlike acquisitions of paper materials; they represent a partnership between libraries and vendors. Licenses were also discussed by Kate Nevins, director of SOLINET, the Southeastern Library Network, and Clifford Lynch of the University of California. In her remarks Nevins addressed the issue of licensing fees and libraries’ need for predictable pricing. Lynch echoed Okerson’s remarks on the necessarily broad definition of “user,” as university libraries often service a wide spectrum of people. He also discussed how new licensing and consortia models may affect primary content holders. Other presenters included Julia Blixrud (CAPCON Library Network), Deborah Hull (Ovid Technologies, Inc.), Jay Trolley (Institute for Scientific Information), and Tom Sanville (OhioLINK library network).

Nasea, Melissa. “The joy of license negotiation: having fun and being careful.” Library Collections Acquisitions and Technical Services. 24:3 (Fall 2000): 436-439. This article, a report from the 1999 Charleston Conference, outlines presentations made by Rick Anderson, Head Acquisitions Librarian, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Trisha Davis, Head of Serials and Electronic Resources, Ohio State University; and John Cox, Principal of John Cox Associates. Anderson gave tips on dealing with publishers’ licensing representatives. In her remarks Davis discussed trends in consortial licenses. (Her main points are listed here.) Cox spoke about a set of model licenses his firm recently developed. (These are available at

Nimmer, Raymond T. “Intangibles Contracts: Thoughts of Hubs, Spokes, and Reinvigorating Article.” William & Mary Law Review, 2: 35 (1994): 1337. As the cornerstone of modem commerce, contracts relating to information transfers are should be the subject of codification in the Uniform Commercial Code rather than left to common law development.

Nimmer, Raymond T. “Licensing on the Global Information Infrastructure: Disharmony in Cyberspace.” Journal of International Law & Business, 16 (1995): 224. This article provides an overview of licensing law and explores some of the issues in international licensing.

Nimmer, Raymond T. and Patricia A. Krauthaus. “Information as a Commodity: New Imperatives of Commercial Law.” Law & Contemporary Problems, 55:3 (Summer 1992): 103. Providing a general framework for the structure of the law governing the information marketplace, the authors compare information to other products, define property rights that exist in information, and compare the qualitative assurances existing in contracts for information products with contracts for tangible goods.

Noorlander, W. (2006). Negotiate your way to the best price for information. Information Outlook, 10(3): 27-31. A seasoned veteran – a non-librarian – discusses the special circumstances surrounding content purchasing and negotiating maximum value for the buying institution.

Okerson, Ann S. “Buy or Lease? Two Models for Scholarly Information at the End (or the Beginning) of an Era.”Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 125: 4 (Fall 1996): 55-76. In this article aimed at the general educated public, Ann Okerson, at that time the Associate University Librarian at Yale University, discusses and analyzes copyright and contractual licensing and assesses their current role in the governance of electronic information. Okerson first presents a broad historical perspective on copyright and explains the protection of rights created by the U.S. Copyright Act. She then discusses intellectual property issues addressed during the first Clinton-Gore administration, focusing on the role of the National Information Infrastructure (NII). The development of license agreements for electronic products is described, as are ways in which electronic information license agreements often limit usage rights. Okerson presents two possible scenarios for the future development of electronic licensing: library consortial arrangements and national (or state) site licenses. She expresses hope that the differences in approach represented by copyright and licenses will diminish in the future. The needs and interests of both publishers and libraries will be best served, Okerson concludes, “if together they work pragmatically towards mid-term, modest solutions to pressing difficulties, leaving ambitious re-engineering to a later time.”

Okerson, Ann. “Copyright or Contract?” Library Journal, 122:14 (September 1, 1997): 136-39. Okerson describes the fundamental differences and conflict between copyright and contract law in their application to electronic publishing. Copyright represents statutory laws which apply to everyone, the author explains, while licenses, as the vehicle of contract law, apply market forces to agreements between owners of information and its purveyors. Unlike copyright, though, licenses can set terms and conditions under which electronic information is presented and delivered to readers. Okerson encourages librarians to get fully involved in the licensing environment as it “offers the opportunity to shape a better information future.” The article also discusses fair use, licensing consortia, and content distribution models that are non based on licenses.

Okerson, Ann. “Licensing Perspectives: The Library View.” In this paper, given at the ARL/CNI Licensing Symposium, held in San Fransicso, on December 8, 1996, Okerson discusses the process of license negotiation, based on her experience as Associate University Library at Yale University. This process involves negotiation in the following areas, each of which Okerson treats here in some detail: permitted user and user terms; mutual responsibilities; delivery of the product to the licensee and authenticating users; perpetual access and archiving (when possible); dispute resolution; multiple licenses to use a single electronic product. Okerson writes that successful license negotation requires broad knowledge of one’s library and its needs, as well as the needs and aims of the publisher. Also vital are the customary virtues of the librarian: patience and good will. Finally, the authority of the university so that one can act with confidence. She concludes: “Crafting these agreements and relationships is altogether the most important achivement of the licensing environment.”

Okerson, Ann. “Licensing’s unresolved issues.” Library Journal, 122:14 (September 1, 1997): 136 ff. In this inset article accompanying her article “Copyright or Contract?” (see above) Okerson reports that by 1997 licenses for electronic information had greatly improved over those of years past, making it easier for libraries and their users to advance education and research. Some areas in licensing remain unresolved however, and these areas merit special attention by librarians responsible for license negotiation. Okerson discusses issues involved in the following aspects and terms in licensing: definition of “use” and “users”; archiving; scalability (easing, where possible, the work required in the licensing process); price; liability vs. trust; and licensing layers (licensing of supporting or interfacing software).

Okerson, Ann. “The transition to electronic content licensing: the institutional context in 1997.” Okerson offers here a broad overview of the state of electronic licensing for libraries as of early 1997. Presented at the Mellon Foundation Scholarly Communications and Techology Conference, held at Emory University on April 24-25, 1997, this paper presents the background to the issues involved: why contracts and licensing rather than copyright are being used to govern electronic information transactions, and how licensing agreements spread to content collected and managed by libraries. The author then describes steps taken in recent years by libraries to improve their understanding of the licensing environment. Okerson identifies and discusses aspects of licensing that have posed challenges (and opportunities) to publishers and libraries: terms of use; scalability; price; liability and trust(specifically, dealing with publishers’ expectation that libraries should be responsible for the behavior of all individual users); licensing collections provided by product aggregators; library consortia; and restructuring and simplifying library workloads in dealing with licensing. Okerson writes that probable sources for help in negotiating licensing contracts are national and associational organizations (such as the ARL and the Council on Library and Information Resources [CLIR]), and product aggregators (including information bundlers, subscription agents, library consortia, and transactional licensing). Okerson concludes that much has been accomplished in the licensing of electronic information to libraries, though much work still remains to be done. “We are in a period of experimentation and exploration,” she writes, and “many are learning to work together pragmatically towards at least mid-term modest solutions, in turn using those modest solution as stepping stones into the future.”

Okerson, Ann S. “What Academic Libraries Need in Electronic Content Licenses.” Presentation to the STM Library Relations Committee, STM Annual General Meeting, October 1, 1996. Also published in Serials Review 22:4 (1996): 65-69. In this paper, presented to the STM Library Relations Committee at the STM Annual General Meeting on October 1, 1996, Okerson argues that there is a need for greater standardization in the terms of electronic licenses. Five license components are discussed here in detail: authorized use and users; legal responsibility and liability; coordination of technology expectations; pricing models; and archiving and perpetual access. For several of these components the author gives examples of what for Yale University is (or hypothetically would be) unacceptable language in contracts, and she suggests changes for such contractual difficulties. Finally, Okerson calls for the formation of a working group between academic libraries and publishers to work out licening germs with can be standardized.

Olivieri, Rene. “Site Licenses: A New Economic Paradigm.” Serials Librarian, (30:3/4) 1997: 183-190. Also published simultaneously in Pioneering New Serials Frontiers: From Petroglyphs to Cyberserials. Proceedings of the NASIG Conference. (ed. Christine Christiansen and Cecilia Leathem). Haworth Press, 1997. Olivieri argues in favor of site licenses for delivery of electronic journals over a pay-per-view system or online Internet access. As an example the author discusses a national site licensing program in GreatBritain involving three publishers: Academic, the Institute of Physics, and Blackwell.

O’Rourke, Thomas A. “Recent developments in shrink wrap licenses.” IPL Newsletter, 14:4 (Summer 1996): 7-9, 37-38. This article reviews the legal status of shrinkwrap software licenses to 1996. The author examines the 1996 decision by the Seventh Circuit Court in the case of ProCD Inc. v. Zeidenberg, in which the court upheld the shrinkwrap license, thus overturning the district court decision. The article also reviews judicial interpretation of shrinkwrap licenses up to the ProCD decision. Also discussed are amendments to the UCC proposed by the American Law Institute, the intent of which, the author explains, are to bring these licenses into conformity with federal intellectual property law.

Owen, J. S. Mackenzie. “Licenties en digitale archivering.” Informatie Professional, 1:2 (1997): 39-41.

Phillips, K. (2007). Deal or no deal – licensing and acquiring digital resources: license negotiations. LLRX, Retrieved from The second of a two-part special on negotiating license agreements that cross-references checklist items to a series of key articles on negotiations.

Phillips, K. (2006, November 22). Deal or no deal – licensing and acquiring digital resources: license negotiations. LLRX, Retrieved from Author applies lessons from Fisher and Ury’s Getting to Yes specifically to electronic content licensing, and provides a useful list of general negotiating resources.

Pike, George. (2002). The delicate dance of database licenses, copyright, and fair use. Computers in Libraries, 22(5). Retrieved from Discusses the intersection of copyright law with database licensing, with a special look at the Copyright Act’s fair use provisions.

Raub, Emma and Peter McCracken, “Licensing Challenges Associated With Text and Data Mining: How Do We Get Our Patrons What They Need?,” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 11(1). doi: Today’s researchers expect to be able to complete text and data mining (TDM) work on many types of textual data. But they are often blocked more by contractual limitations on what data they can use, and how they can use it, than they are by what data may be available to them. This article lays out the different types of TDM processes currently in use, the issues that may block researchers from being able to do the work they would like, and some possible solutions.

Rogers, Michael. “ICOLC releases statement on the purchase of electronic info.” Library Journal, 123:8 (May 1, 1998): 25. This item is a brief overview of the ICOLC statement, which questions the usefulness of the “print price plus” model for online journal subscriptions. The ICOLC encourages the development of new economic models that will reduce the unit cost of electronic information and minimize the cost per access to journal articles.

Salonharju, Inkeri. “Le consortium des bibliotheques de recherche finlandaises: les licenses d’exploitation de documents eletroniques.” Bulletin des Bibliotheques de France, 45:2 (2000): 47-49.

Samuelson, Pamela. “The U.S. Digital Agenda at the World Intellectual Property Organization.”Virginia Journal of International Law 37(1997): 369.

Sanville, Tom. “A License to Deal.” Library Journal, 124:3 (February 15, 1999): 122-24. The author discusses consortium-based licensing and the experience of OhioLINK. The author discusses consortium-based licensing and the experience of OhioLINK. To ensure that each member library received the maximum benefit, the OhioLINK consortium pooled resources on a portfolio of databases. Then a cost-sharing formula for determining how much each library would contribute. This focus on the overall package of electronic resources to be delivered limited price comparisons for individual databases from library to library.

Schmidt, Karen A. “Licensing: Pitfalls and Protection for the Collections,” in Virtually Yours: Models for Managing Electronic Resources and Services. Chicago: American Library Association, 1998, pp. 111-117. This book chapter has two areas of focus: first, the library’s review of the language of licences and of licence implementation; and second, the effect of licenses on users and collections. In the first section, Schmidt give succinct and direct advice for dealing with the legal aspect of licenses. Also, user services should be a central focus of licensing agreements. Schmidt recommends that the collection development librarian be directly involved in license review, and she suggests that a committee of representatives from all library constituencies and stakeholders compile a checklist regarding license selection and negotiation. In the second part of her chapter Schmidt discusses how licenses themselves influence librarians’ and users’ view of the library collection. She also addresses the ways in which licenses influence libraries’ relationships with vendors. Finally, she argues that a reorganization of communication lines within libraries is necessary in order to best manage licenses and electronic information.

Schottlaender, Brian. “The Development of National Principles to Guide Librarians in Licensing Electronic Resources.” Library Acquisitions: Practice & Theory, 22:1 (1998): 49-54. Presented here is a draft set of licensing principles written by the Electronic Licensing Working Group of the “Shared Legal Capacity” (SLC). The SLC is an inter-organizational body with representation from the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association. The document presents fifteen principles which are to give guidance to library staff in creating license agreements. Background information on licensing agreements as legal contracts is also included, as is a list of terms to be defined by the licensee within a license agreement.

Sharp, David. “Copyright and licensing in the electronic age.” Multimedia Information and Technology, 24:3 (Aug. 1998): 194-7. This is a report of a seminar on copyright and licensing organized by the Library Association (UK) and held at the London International Book Fair on March 23, 1998. Presenters included Hazel Woodward and Elizabeth Gadd of Loughborough University, who discussed Project Acorn, an electronic collection of journal articles for short-term use at Loughborough University. Summarized in brief are also presentations from representatives of several publishers, SCONUL, and University of Utrecht.

Sklar, Hinda F. “Getting your license: pitfalls and potholes on the electronic highway.” Art Documentation, 17:2 (1998): 43-5. The author presents a brief review of basic licensing issues and procedures. The article is a revision of a presentation made by the author at the ARLIS/NA March 1998 conference in Philadelphia.

Snow, Maryly. “Fair use and licensing agreements: digital permissions in the slide library.” Visual Resources Bulletin, 23:2 (Summer 1996): 73-76. This article discusses “digital permissions” and site licenses for slide libraries. Digital permissions involve agreements with slide vendors under which libraries may make a digital representation of a slide. Site licences for slides in the form of digital images cover a wide range of uses and conditions, as do site licenses for other electronic media. Snow recommends that libraries obtain digital permissions from slide vendors rather than rely on fair use. However, digital images made from books are covered by fair use in her view, provided that the source information of images are provided and that the images produced are low-resolution. Snow also suggests that slide librarians be proactive in negotiations with slide vendors. Also discussed are fees for electronic scans of slides, file size and image resolution, authorized use and audience, and other licensing issues.

Soete, George. SPEC Flyer 248: “Managing the Licensing of Electronic Products.” Association of Research Libraries. August 1999. This document reports the results of a survey of ARL member libraries on licensing issues. Questions involved the sharing of license management with consortia and other libraries, personnel involved in license management, education of users and staff, record keeping, use of standardized terms of agreement, the impact of licensing on collection development selectors, and the overall level satisfaction within libraries in managing licenses. The document concludes with some suggestions for libraries seeking to improve their effectiveness in license management.

STM Library Relations Committee. “Publisher/Library Relationships in the Digital Environment.” Commissioned April 1999. This white paper, commissioned by the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), emphasizes the complementary roles and responsibilities of publishers and librarians, and it stresses the need for cooperation and partnership from each group. In the view of STM, renewal is needed in the balance between the interests of publishers and authors on the one hand, and libraries and readers on the other. Currently, publishers and libraries are divided over the scope and application of fair use, interlibrary loan, and document exchange. STM holds that rights and obligations should be achieved by a consensus that is legally enforceable and supported by legislation with which all members of the community are in agreement. Cooperation between publishers and libraries will also aid the development of a more predictable licensing environment. STM also calls for a more sophisticated licensing system for digital works.

Tannery, N., Silverman, D. L. & Epstein, B. A. (2002). Online use statistics. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 21(1): 25-33. Fills an important gap in the literature by focusing on the metrics institutions need to make informed decisions about content purchases.

TeleRead. Home page of a site that calls for a national digital library with voluntary licensing of copyrighted books and other items, and with fair compensation for publishers and writers from a mix of tax money, philanthropic funding and commercial investment.

Tenopir, Carol. “The states of online.” Library Journal, 125:20 (Dec. 2000): 44-48. This article provides an introduction to statewide licensing. The work of several regional consortia is outlined, as is that of the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC). Tenopir writes that the advantages of statewide licenses are greatest for individual participating libraries, such as small school or rural public libraries, which often cannot afford to acquire their own access to many electronic resources or conduct license negotiations. Statewide licensing is also advantageous for vendors as they obtain a single uniform contract and the possibility for increased business. Tenopir also briefly discusses some of the licensing projects major vendors have established with statewide library organizations.

Trant, Jennifer. “Enabling Educational Use of Museum Digital Materials: The Museum Educational Site Licensing (MESL) Project.” A paper from the Electronic Imaging and the Visual Arts Conference, Florence (Italy), February 1996. Based on a site licensing model, MESL brings representative museums, colleges, and universities together to define the terms and conditions for educational use of museums’ digital images and information on campus-wide networks.

Trant, Jennifer. “Exploring New Models for Administering Intellectual Property: The Museum Educational Site Licensing Project.” P. Bryan Heidorn and Beth Sandore, eds. Digital Imaging Access and Retrieval. The 33rd Annual Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, March 1996. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997, pp. 29-41. Presentation.

University of California. Committee on Intercampus Information Technology and Networking for Academic Purposes (CINITAP). February 7, 1996. “Copyright Considerations for Faculty: Authored Multimedia Instructional Materials” (Discussion Draft). This draft paper is a good primer in copyright and licensing issues facing academic institutions and faculty who are developing multimedia course materials. The paper describes some of the possibilities of multimedia courseware and addresses concerns of the university, especially with regard to commercial use of such courseware. University of California policyation society that the legal environment foster rather than disrupt the balance between private intellectual property owners and the public good that is embodied in current law.” Issues addressed include the following: relations between owners and users of copyrighted works; ease of compliance over punitive measures; maintenance of public domain; respect for personal privacy; liability for infringing activity; respect for intellectual property rights; caution in creating new rights and protections; and enforcement provisions.

Warro, Edward A., “What Have We Been Signing? A Look at Database Licensing Agreements.” Library Administration & Management, 8:3 (Summer 1994): 173-177. The author, Associate University Librarian at Loyola University, discusses (or rather, cautions librarians about) a number of clauses in licensing agreements which gave rise to questions and concerns with Loyola university attorneys. The clauses involve security, customer service, payment and delivery, exclusion of warranties and limitation of liability, termination, indemnification, assignment, and governing law. The author outlines changes in clauses made before contract signing. To simplify the contract review process, the library began to use a standard rider, attached to contracts, which stated the terms to which the library was agreeing. The text of the rider is appended to this article.

Watkins, Steven G. “Consortium licensing of Internet-accessible databases.” In Electronic information and publications, looking to the electronic future, let’s not forget the archival past. (IAMSLIC Conference).(Eds. James W. Markham, et al.). Fort Pierce, FL.: IAMSLIC, 1999: pp. 9-16.

White, Martin S. “International dateline-the UK perspective.” Against the Grain, 11:5 (Nov. 1999): 86, 88. On subscription agents and licensing agreements.

Wiant, Sarah. “‘License’ or ‘sale’? New regulations may affect libraries.” Virginia Libraries, 45:2 (Apr-May-June 1999): 19-20. This article discusses the possible impact on shrinkwrap licenses by the proposed Article 2B to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which deals with the licensing of information. Wiant, the Director of the Law Library and Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, expresses concern that if the current draft of Article 2B is passed into law by states, library patrons could expose libraries to liability and responsibility by inadvertently entering into license agreements through use of Internet-based resources. In addition, if shrinkwrap licenses are in the future applied to books and book supplements, libraries could face contractual restrictions in lending such materials.

(n.a.) “License de ressources electroniques: comment eviter les pieges juridiques?” [Licensing digital resources: how to avoid the legal pitfalls]. Documentaliste, 36:2 (Mar./Apr. 1999): 105-12.

Winternitz, Ingrid. Electronic Publishing Agreements. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. This book presents sample agreements involving various aspects of electronic publishing: acquiring rights; software development; commissioning data and services; online and site licensing; and licensing and distribution. Addressed in a commentary section are legal issues connected with electronic publishing: copyright; moral rights; databases and software; contract; libel; competition law and intellectual property rights; and drafting of agreements. The legal context for the agreements in this volume is that of Britain and the European Community.



Anderson, R. (2004). Buying and contracting for resources and services. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. Unlike other books, this volume focuses not on content or contract negotiations, but the equally important issue of vendor relations. Included is information on issuing requests for proposal (RFPs), vetting vendors among a group that carries similar information, and tracking vendor performance.

Bielefield, Arlene and Lawrence Cheeseman. Interpreting and Negotiating Licensing Agreements: A Guidebook for the Library, Research, and Teaching Professions. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 1999.

Durrant, F. (2006). Negotiating licenses for digital resources. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. One of the most recent books on electronic content purchasing, this volume focuses on issues in the European Union markets, but its emphasis on contract negotiations make it unique from previous books that cover similar territory.

Epstein, Michael A. and Frank L. Politano. Drafting License Agreements. 3rd ed., (looseleaf), NY: Aspen Law & Business, 1997.

Halvey, John K. Computer Law and Related Transactions. Charlottesville, VA: Michie Company. 1994.

Harris, L. E. (2002). Licensing digital content: A practical guide for librarians. Chicago: ALA Editions.

Megantz, Robert C. How to License Technology. New York : John Wiley & Sons, 1996.

Milgram, Roger M. Milgram on Licensing. 2 vols., (looseleaf current updates), New York: Matthew Bender, 1990.

Ubell, Robert. Draft negotiating networked information contracts and licenses. New York: Robert Ubell Associates, 1994. 75 p.



ALPSP. Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers: provides “Advice Notes and Guidelines for Good Practice” in several relevant areas for ALPSP members. Items 3, 6, and 13 on the linked page are most relevant. Guidelines for license of electronic publications. Now available only to ALPSP members.

California Digital Library. The CDL’s Licensing Toolkit also contains its “License Agreement Checklist”

Columbia University Libraries. Electronic Resource Coordinator: Draft License Agreement Checklist. Outlines steps Columbia takes in evaluating proposed licenses for electronic resources.

University of Texas. Software and Database License Agreement Checklist. This interactive form offers a guide through a typical contract analysis.

University of Western Australia. “Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources.” A checklist.



ASERL (Association of SouthEastern Research Libraries). “Recommended Principles and Terms for Electronic Resource Agreements” (PDF document)

California State University Libraries. “Principles for CSU Acquisition of Electronic Information Resources.” (Microsoft Word document)

Committee on Institutional Cooperation. Task Force on the CIC Electronic Collection. “Assumptions & Guiding Principles for Near-Term Initiatives”

ICOLC – International Coalition of Library Consortia, “Statement of Current Perspective and Preferred Practices for the Selection and Purchase of Electronic Information” (1998)

“Statement of Current Perspective and Preferred Practices for Selection and Purchase of Electronic Information: Update No. 2, Pricing and Economics” (October 2004)

“Statement on the Global Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Consortial Licenses” (January 2009)

“Revised Statement on the Global Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Consortial Licenses” (January 2010)

IFLA – International Federation of Library Associations. IFLA Licensing Principles. IFLA’s Executive and Professional Boards approved a set of Licensing Principles which should prevail in the contractual relationship and written contracts between libraries and information providers. Aspects that have been touched upon by these principles include: the law, access, usage and users, and pricing. Marianne Scott, Chair of the IFLA Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM) which prepared the text of the Principles, commented: “Licensing is increasing in importance as a means of gaining access to commercially available digital information. I am pleased that the library community world wide now has a set of principles to provide support and guidance in negotiating these licenses.”

Joint principles of six American library associations. “Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources” (July 1997), promulgated by the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association.

LIBER Licensing Principles. Prepared by the Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche. In 1997 the university libraries of the UKB (the Dutch Association of University Libraries and the Royal Library) and the GBV (Gemeinsamer BibliotheksVerbund: the German Association of Research and University Libraries in North and Middle Germany) published licensing principles in order to define a common policy and formulate some general principles to meet the publishers’ strategy with respect to access to electronic journals and license agreements. These principles were broadly acknowledged by research libraries inside and outside the Netherlands and Germany. They played an important part in the drafting of the Licensing Principles of the International Coalition of Library Consortia: (Statement of Current Perspective and Preferred Practices for the Selection and Purchase of Electronic Information).

“Licensing Best Practices for Orbis Cascade Alliance & Member Institutions” (2022)

The University of California Libraries Collection Development Committee. “Principles for Acquiring and Licensing Information in Digital Formats.” (May 1996).

University of Maryland Library, “Licensing Principles”


Last updated: February 7, 2023

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