Tufts University -
Policy on Licensing of Electronic Content Resources
Drafted by the University Library Council
- October 5, 1998
The license agreements for electronic content are a fact of
life in an electronic environment. Many units within the University
sign license agreements for access to electronic content. The libraries
lead the University in this activity as one of their primary roles
is the purchasing or licensing of electronic content resources to
support Tufts University's mission of teaching, learning and research.
As responsible agents for Tufts, the librarians negotiate licenses
that address the institution's needs and recognize its obligations
to the licensor. As such, the librarians provide a licensing consulting
service to other University units who are licensing content resources
whose annual licensing fees exceed $5000.
In order to leverage the financial investment
and assure University-wide access and support, the initial procurement
process for electronic resources, as defined in this policy, is
facilitated by a team of staff from the libraries and the requesting
unit. One or several of the libraries may offer to assume the licensing
of the resource if it is appropriate for the library collections.
The libraries will also serve as a clearinghouse to ensure that
the resource is not already available to the Tufts community.
Definition of Electronic Content Resources
An electronic content resource is defined as any publication,
database, indexing source, or service made available over the Internet,
on CD-ROM, on tape or on any other electronic medium. For the purposes
of this policy it includes only those resources whose annual license
fee equals or exceeds $5000. It does not include the purchase or
site licensing of software to be run on PCs, Macs or time-sharing
computers. Individuals should contact Tufts Computing and Communications
Services (TCCS) for information about site licensing of software.
The libraries will serve as a clearinghouse and resource for
the licensing of electronic content resources. A review will be
conducted with the sponsoring unit based on the following premises:
- One of the library's primary
roles is to review electronic databases for licensing decision
- Monitoring is done by
the library to ensure the database is available according to the
- A single license is negotiated
for the entire University
- The resource is properly
evaluated for content appropriateness which may include comparison
with similar resources already licensed as well as monitoring
when deselection is appropriate as other databases become available
- The resource is not already
available or being negotiated via consortia arrangements such
as with the Boston Library Consortium
- The license agreement
sets terms that will best serve the community whether they are
on or off campus
- The best price is negotiated
- University Counsel will
be consulted whenever necessary
- The resource is evaluated
for systems compatibility
Any University unit outside of the libraries wishing to license
or purchase an electronic resource will contact the chair of the
ULC Collections and Licensing Committee to evaluate the resource
as a possible purchase within the library. The process includes:
1) Review of the resource with the appointed
2) Determination of who will pay for the
resource, a library or the sponsoring units.
3) If it is determined the resource should
be licensed by the sponsoring unit, the review team will review
the terms of the license, and negotiate new terms if needed. University
Counsel may be required in unusual situations.
4) Sponsoring unit signs the negotiated license,
sets up the ongoing subscription, and pays for the subscription.
5) To provide off campus access to the Tufts
community, request proxy service for the resource through the University
Library Technology Services Office (ULTS). ULTS will maintain a
central listing on Tufts' homepage of all electronic databases Tufts
subscribes to or licenses.
The libraries will work with Purchasing and TCCS to communicate
this new policy to the Tufts community. Strategies for implementing
the new policy include:
- A cover letter will be
sent out to all department heads, managers, and faculty with a
copy of the policy.
- An announcement about
the new University proxy services and a request for a list of
existing resources that are currently inaccessible from off campus.
This would be mailed with the cover letter about the new policy.
- Involve Purchasing to
notify the Chair of the Collections & Licensing Committee
of the libraries when new contracts are received that exceed $5000.
- Establish a Web page with
guidelines and checklists for licensing content resources. Publicize
this resource in the policy announcement and provide links from
a variety of places on the Tufts Web site.