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Electronic Resource Policy

Purpose/Genereal Statement | Selection | Cataloging | Duplication | Licensing | Archiving | Copyright | Privacy and Confidentiality | Security | De-selection

Last Updated: 8/23/04

Purpose/General Statement

The Central Michigan University Libraries supports the instructional and research programs of the university. Toward this aim, the Libraries collects or provides access to materials in multiple formats, including electronic formats. This policy applies to the special features of all electronic formats existing and possible existing in the future.


Resources available via the Internet are proliferating. The Libraries recognizes that careful selection of electronic resources , and availability of these trough the Libraries' catalog will accomplish several objectives: 1) increase awareness and maximize use of significant sites; 2) provide value-added access to Internet resources often absent when using various search engines to locate resources; 3) enhance and expand the Libraries' collection of traditional formats. Selection responsibility of these resources rests with individual Subject Librarians and the Head of Collection Development as these materials fall into their regular selecting responsibilities.

Electronic or digital resources considered for acquisition should usually:

  • Follow current collection parameters already in place as represented by the currently approved collection development policy statements, individual department policies and other related documents;
  • Be available in formats currently accessible by appropriate hardware/software already in the library or available on campus. If the necessary hardware/software is not currently available on campus, purchasing these should be considered along with the resource. Care should be taken when choosing formats to consider the usability (due to format) of the data in the long term;
  • Be an enhancement and enrichment of current collections;
  • Be substituted for printed information with caution because of the volatility of the information industry;
  • Be evaluated in light of other potential acquisitions, and weighed against other possible acquisitions from the materials budget;
  • Be evaluated for stability and integrity;
  • Allow for the number of simultaneous users appropriate to the resource;
  • Allow printing, sharing, downloading within copyright regulations.


The cataloging of an electronic resource will signify that the Libraries have acquired it. All electronic resources linked to the Libraries' gateway will be cataloged without regard for whether they are free or fee-based. Cost or absence of cost is not a factor in prioritizing electronic resources for cataloging. Cataloging practice and procedures are outlined in the Electronic Resources Cataloging Policy.


Acquiring an electronic resource that duplicates an existing print resource constitutes acceptable duplication when the Libraries will incur no additional fee.

The Libraries may duplicate a print resource with a fee-based electronic resource when:

  • Multiple formats meet significantly different needs of user groups;
  • Features or access to information is significantly improved;
  • There is a cost benefit for purchasing multiple formats;
  • Preservation of the original for its intrinsic value or its historical value is important


When acquiring electronic resources, the Head of Collection Development will negotiate vendor licensing agreements in consultation with the appropriate subject librarian(s), Systems, and Technical Service staff. It is also possible that in some cases the University Purchasing Department may negotiate and sign agreements. Collection development will maintain the file containing copies of all licensing agreements. Final responsibility for compliance with licensing agreements rests with the Head of Collection Development, in consultation with the relevant members of the Libraries' DAC, the University Purchasing Department and the University Attorney, as may be necessary.

Information providers should employ a standard agreement that describes the rights of the Libraries and their authorized users in terms that are readable and explicit, and they should reflect realistic expectations about CMU's ability to monitor use and discover abuse. Agreements should contain consistent business and legal provisions, including, for example, indemnification against third party copyright infringement liability, the application of Michigan state laws and the use of Michigan courts of law should that become necessary.

Licenses should permit fa​ir use of all information for non-commercial educational, instructional and research purposes by authorized users. Authorized users are defined as all currently enrolled students (i.e., not former students), faculty, staff on or off campus, or visiting patrons located in the Libraries. License should include interlibrary loan and traditional and electronic reserves permissions whenever feasible.

Information providers should be able to link their access control mechanisms to CMU's authentication infrastructure; access to their products should not require individual passwords and/or user IDs.


The CMU Libraries have a legitimate interest in maintaining collection integrity through archives of the electronic resources they have licenses or otherwise acquired. For electronic journals and other similar resources, a license should include permanent rights to information that has been paid for, in the event that a licensed database is subsequently canceled or removed by either the Libraries or the vendor.

In these cases, responsibility for providing archival access should be clearly defined in all agreements and licenses. Government publications and some professional societies and publishers take on the responsibility for data archive security or are in partnership with a university of other entities to archive electronic-only publications. If the information provider does not maintain archival access, the CMU Libraries retain the right to maintain archival access on their own servers and/or to negotiate for formats that are most appropriate for the transfer and storage of archival information.

The Libraries are moving away from ownership in the electronic environment, preferring access via Internet, WWW, etc. whenever possible for ease of use, wider access, and possible cost savings over local maintenance and storage. However, there will be costs, copyright, and licensing issues associated with Internet access. It is not necessary in many instances for the Libraries to own the archival version of electronic products, but ownership can be crucial in certain circumstances, such as when vendors/publishers do not guarantee maintaining archival copies of products that are essential to the research and teaching needs of the University. Archival ownership may not be necessary, for example, for bibliographic databases and certain full-text databases. Subject librarians should use their best judgment in recommending the highest quality medium and must investigate cost/benefit and risk in collaboration with the Head of Collection Development.


The Libraries will comply with the existing copyright laws. The Libraries will also promote copyright compliance among its users and among its staff.

Privacy and Confidentiality

CMU Libraries respect the privacy of library users. No cookies or other tracking devices will be used that could identify individual users.


All electronic resources will connect and operate properly in conjunction with the Libraries and the campus' firewalls.


Electronic resources will be reviewed periodically to assess their continuing value. If the resource no longer meets the criteria in this policy or in the subject specific policy, it will be weeded from the collection.

In committee: S. Folsom, D. Ginsburg, P. Grudzien​