The majority of online resources not-freely available are disseminated via licenses (i.e., contractual, legal agreements). Typically, the higher education community handles such licenses based on individual campuses. The University Libraries handles the majority of University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus licenses for electronic content.

What is a licensed resource?

A licensed electronic resource is an online database to which the University Libraries subscribe through a contractual, legal agreement. These can include primary source book/journal collections as well as secondary indexing or reference type materials. The most recent count (11/28/2017) shows 43,680 licensed electronic journals (and many more e-serials including government documents) and more than 1.2 million licensed electronic books.

The University Libraries typically license access for the Twin Cities campus alone, as each campus has a separate library administration and budget. However, when there are significant economies to be realized for specific titles, the Libraries share licensing and associated costs with Crookston, Duluth, and Morris.

What do most licenses say about authorized users (who they are, what they can do)?

Such licenses are legally binding documents that usually require that the University Libraries limit off-campus access to current faculty, staff, and students (in credit-earning courses) at the University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities. This is a non-negotiable part of the contracts the Libraries are required to sign and there are typically no fee-for-access options for persons not affiliated as such with the University.

The University Libraries has traditionally served as a major resource for the broader community. In order to maintain access to University Libraries resources, the Libraries ensure that all licenses allow the general public to access electronic resources from within Libraries' facilities. The Libraries have structured their licensing agreements with database providers to make this possible.

While each vendor has its own unique licensing language, in general most licenses allow authorized users to:

  • Print / Download / Quote for teaching/research/personal uses
  • Create links to specific articles rather than a resource home page (e.g. the Libraries regularly creates such "deep links" as a convenience for faculty and students as part of its Electronic Reserves service, which makes customized web pages for specific courses/classes)
  • Email articles to other authorized users

How does the library/campus ensure only authorized users have access?

Because most e-resource vendors limit access to the IP numbers of campus computers, users who wish to access library-licensed e-resources from off campus should connect by clicking on library-created login links. This allows the Libraries to issue off-campus users with credentials that are recognized by the vendor. All users who access licensed e-resources through the Libraries' web site must first log in with their University Internet ID and password.

For this login to be successful, each user must have either:

  • An active staff appointment that is recorded in the University's Human Resources Management System (UM HRMS)
  • A current student admission or registration that is recorded in the Office of the Registrar's web registration system (including the Graduate School zero-credit registration)

These users make up the official FTE count of U M Twin Cities students that is typically reported to library vendors as the basis for e-resource license fees. Once properly recorded by the UM HRMS or Registrar, each current staff/student will have a library access entitlement or "flag" automatically added to their University Internet (X.500) account.

For example, a student who is no longer registered would thus be unable to access licensed library resources remotely; they could, of course, use the resources inside any campus library as a member of the public. Although the University currently keeps student email accounts active (at no charge) for up to 5 years after the last registration, this extension of email privileges does not include remote access to licensed library resources.

What specifically is needed in the University's Human Resources Management System?

Each current staff member should have one of these employment categories or groups associated with their UM HRMS record. If a person has a current University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities staff appointment, but is unable to log in to a library-licensed database, they should contact the departmental Human Resources office and ask that they verify that their UM HRMS record carries one of the following associations.

  • Pre-Start Hire
  • Regular CS/BU
  • Regular P&A
  • Regular Faculty
  • Academic (P&A and Faculty) without salary, with appointment
  • Clinical Faculty without salary, with appointment
  • Visiting Faculty or P&A without salary, with appointment
  • Regents
  • Temporary Posted
  • Temporary No-Post (CS/BU)
  • POI-Affiliate

Note: not just any type of appointment will do; even if it is a "non-salary" appointments, the staffer in question needs to be providing a service to the University to "count." For example, a "sponsored account" does not officially document a service relationship with the University of Minnesota and is thus not eligible for remote access to the Libraries' electronic resources. Visiting Faculty (who may also be referred to as Industrial Fellows,
Community-based Faculty, or similar names) can get entered into PeopleSoft in varying ways, but only those who provide a service to the University that meets the Human Resources criteria for one of the "with appointment" statuses above qualify for remote access.

If your department has already submitted a request for a PeopleSoft staff account and they need to follow up on or troubleshoot the request, or if they need assistance of any kind, they should contact the University Human Resources department.

What about off-campus programs or more loosely affiliated individuals? Are there ways to get them access?

Distance from the Twin Cities campus does not matter. The primary requirement is that individuals have an official, properly documented service/student relationship with the University. For individuals affiliated through a University program, the relevant unit or academic department must make this determination of affiliation. Designations of affiliation can then be recorded in the UM HRMS by his/her departmental HR office.

What about summer institutes/programs run by departments?

The temporary / seasonal nature of summer programs does not matter. Any type of visiting staff must still have an official University appointment, recorded in PeopleSoft. Note that such an appointment can be "without salary, with appointment."

Any type of visiting student must still be registered through the Office of the Registrar. Departments who need assistance in setting up a registration protocol for their summer program should contact OTR directly.

Are there any "special cases"?

Though the Medical School, Duluth, and the College of Pharmacy, Duluth, are on the Duluth campus, they are integral parts of the Academic Health Center, Twin Cities. Thus Duluth's med school staff and affiliated students carry associated Twin Cities Library access privileges.

Also, some Duluth faculty are formal advisors for Twin Cities graduate students. As such, they are considered dual appointment staff and carry both Duluth and Twin Cities Library access privileges. Any faculty with multiple appointments across campuses should obtain the library privileges for each campus (e.g. a Crookston faculty member who is also a faculty member in the Twin Cities campus Extension Service thus gets both Crookston and Twin Cities access privileges).

The Rochester campus is considered administratively part of the Twin Cities, so their staff/students have the same remote access privileges as Twin Cities-based users.

I have a proxy borrowing card to do research for a faculty member. Can I also get remote access?

No. The U Libraries' Proxy Card is for checking out materials only. Borrowing privileges do not extend to library-licensed databases, which are governed by legally binding contracts with publishers. Also, bear in mind that sharing of one's U of M Internet account password with anyone is forbidden by University policy and by our database contracts.

Who is responsible for enabling access to licensed resources?