Responsible Use of Electronic Resources

Through the Library, California State University, Northridge subscribes to the services of a variety of vendors and publishers to provide users with electronic resources (databases, abstracts, e-journals, full text, etc.). Copyright law and contractual license agreements govern the access, use, and reproduction of these resources.

The Library negotiates license agreements that stipulate how and by whom they may be used. If license terms are violated by anyone, licensors usually have the right to temporarily suspend access for the entire University community! In some cases, licenses can be permanently revoked.

You can help prevent problems with our electronic resource providers by adhering to "good practice" and avoiding improper use. Here are some good rules of thumb:

USUALLY OK USUALLY NOT OK
making limited print or electronic copies
(such as single articles)
systematic or substantial printing, copying or downloading
(such as entire journal issues or books)
using for personal, instructional or research needs selling or re-distributing content, or providing it to an employer
sharing with CSUN faculty, staff and students sharing with people other than CSUN faculty, staff and students
posting links to specific content posting actual content or articles to web sites or listservs
  modifying, altering, or creating derivative works

Always acknowledge your source on any published or unpublished document when you use data found on electronic resources.

Terms of Use Definitions:

  • Scholarly sharing: This means peer-to-peer informal sharing for research, teaching and educational purposes.  For example, if you are working with a colleague at another institution, and wish to make him/her aware of an article of mutual interest, you may send that article in print or electronically if this use is "permitted" under the Terms of Use. Some publishers do not permit sharing with non-CSUN users.
  • Course Reserves: Most electronic resources may be used for print or electronic reserves. If "Course Reserves permitted" is indicated, then copyright clearance has already been granted. Access, both print and electronic, need to be secure, and not made available on the open web.
  • Course Packs: Some electronic resources allow for limited portions, such as a single article from a journal, to be reproduced in a course pack. If "Course packs permitted" is indicated, then copyright clearance has already been granted for this use. Course packs must be provided on a cost-recovery basis only, and not sold for profit. If "Course packs not permitted" is indicated, then the material needs to have copyright cleared with the publisher before proceeding with inclusion in a course pack.

NOTE: Under the provision of "Fair Use," users are permitted to download, temporarily store, and print portions of the materials. Users are prohibited from downloading significant portions of the materials, posting copyrighted materials on a publicly accessible website, or using the licensed information for commercial purposes. Downloading entire issues of electronic journals, several sequential chapters in online books, or attempting to create large databases from bibliographic files, is generally prohibited by license agreements. Each licensed product may have more specific or additional permissions or prohibitions. For more information on Fair Use, see U.S. Code Title 17, §107.

In addition, sharing your CSUN User ID and password for the purposes of granting access to unauthorized users -- including family, friends, or co-workers -- may result in suspension or revocation of library privileges.