Responsible Use of Licensed Electronic Resources

Access to and use of electronic resources is generally governed by copyright laws and individual license agreements (binding legal contracts) which define the specific terms of use and restrictions under which individuals can use the resources and under which the Library may make access available to its users, whether on or off-campus. All individual users must comply with the specific Terms of Use or License Agreement for the applicable electronic resource. Users are individually responsible for their compliance with the terms and conditions of use.

Terms of Use: General Restrictions

Access to the electronic resources listed on the UW-Madison Library website and catalog is restricted to current students, staff, and faculty of the UW-Madison for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study.  In most cases, community visitors can also use these resources when physically visiting a campus library location.

Under the UW-Madison Libraries’ license agreements for electronic resources, users may not:

  • Allow anyone other than an authorized user to use the licensed materials
  • Modify or create a derivative work of the licensed materials without the permission of the licensor
  • Remove, obscure or modify any copyright or other proprietary notices included in the licensed materials
  • Use the licensed materials for commercial purposes
  • Systematically download, distribute, or retain substantial portions of information (more information below)

Additional details may be found on the specific vendors’ website or database.

Examples of “excessive” or “systematic” downloading

  • Rapidly downloading one article after another
  • Continuously downloading tables of contents, search results, citations, or output
  • Downloading entire issues or volumes of an e-journal
  • Downloading the entire content of an e-book or multimedia resource
  • Using robots, spiders, or other automated programs to download from online resources

Consequences of Misuse of Electronic Resources

Electronic resource providers are constantly monitoring overall account activity. If a serious violation is detected coming from our campus or one of our remote users, providers reserve the right to immediately suspend access to their e-resource for that user’s IP address or even the entire campus. The Library would be notified of the suspension of service and would then investigate the situation, taking steps to ensure that the violation would not happen again. Once the situation is resolved, the service is generally restored. As such, misuse and disregard for terms and conditions of use puts at risk all UW-Madison users’ continued access to electronic resources.

Please contact the UW-Madison Libraries with any questions regarding appropriate use of electronic resources.