Acceptable use of electronic resources

Electronic resources made available by the University Libraries to Twin Cities Campus students, staff, faculty, and other authorized users, are for activities that support the U of MN mission. 


Contractual license agreements and U.S. Copyright Law govern the access, use, and reproduction of these resources. In addition, use of electronic resources must be in compliance with the campus-wide policy on acceptable use of information technology resources and related standards.

Licensed electronic resources

Access and use of many electronic resources provided by the University Libraries are governed by license agreements negotiated between the University Libraries and publishers or third parties. In general, these legally binding contracts allow students, staff, faculty, and other authorized users to access these resources for non-commercial, educational, scholarly and research purposes. Users of library-licensed resources must comply with the terms of agreements and be aware that publishers may monitor use of electronic resources to ensure that the terms of their licensing agreements are enforced. Breach of license may lead a publisher/vendor to turn off the University's access without warning.

In using licensed electronic resources, users must:

  • familiarize themselves and comply with license terms associated with specific resources (note: in many cases, license agreements impose greater restrictions on use than does copyright law);
  • limit uses to non-commercial, educational, or personal research purposes;
  • not engage in systematic downloading of licensed content (e.g., downloading entire issues of electronic journals or large-scale downloading from databases to create other collections of data). Many licenses prohibit systematic or bulk downloads. Check the Text Mining Guide for text and data mining options or email to investigate which Libraries' license permits such uses.;
  • not distribute copies of material to individuals or groups outside the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, unless the license for the resource specifically allows it;
  • not share client software used to search licensed resources with individuals or groups outside the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; and
  • give proper attribution when quoting from material.

Note: Many licenses prohibit the downloading and posting of licensed content on another server, even if for use in course web sites or course reserves. In general, it is preferable to link to articles (using an appropriate authentication mechanism) rather than to download and post articles to a server.