University Library

Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources


St. Cloud State University Library provides electronic resources to University students, staff, and faculty for activities that support the university's mission. U.S. copyright law, Minnesota State policy, and contractual license agreements and govern the access, use, and reproduction of these resources. In addition, use of electronic resources must be in compliance with the Minnesota State Acceptable Use Policy.


Licensed Electronic Resources

Access and use of many electronic resources provided by University Library are governed by license agreements negotiated between University Library and publishers or third parties. In general, these legally binding contracts allow authorized users (students, staff, and faculty) to access these resources for non- commercial, educational, scholarly, and research purposes. Individuals who do not have a current, formal affiliation with St. Cloud State University may also access these resources, but access is limited to on-campus only.  Users of University 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 access by University Library without warning. In using licensed electronic resources, users must:

  • limit use to non-commercial, educational, or personal research purposes
  • not facilitate unauthorized access by others
  • 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)
  • not distribute copies of material to individuals or groups outside the university, 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
  • give proper attribution when quoting from material.

Note: Many licenses prohibit the downloading and posting of licensed content on another server such as D2L. In general, it is preferable to link to articles (using an appropriate authentication mechanism) rather than to download and post articles to a server.

Copyright and Electronic Resources

U.S. copyright law, Minnesota State policy, and contractual license agreements agreements govern copying of electronic resources made available by University Library. When electronic resources are licensed to University Library, any copying and distribution is limited to the extent permitted in the license. The provisions of U.S. copyright law, alone, control the making and distribution of copies when use of a specific electronic resource is not governed by license agreements. Making reproductions of copyright-protected electronic resources, even those not covered by a license agreement, requires permission from the copyright owner unless the copying qualifies as a fair use.

Any questions concerning this policy should be directed to the University Library Dean’s Office at (320) 308-2022.


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