Responsible Use of Electronic Resources

The Baylor University Libraries contracts with a variety of vendors and publishers to provide users with thousands of electronic resources (databases, abstracts, e-journals, full text, etc.) costing millions of dollars per year.

In addition to paying for these resources, the Libraries typically negotiate license agreements that stipulate how and by whom these resources 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 practices and avoiding improper use.

Good Practices (or, things that are usually OK)

  • Making limited print or electronic copies (e.g., single articles)
  • Using these resources for personal, instructional or research needs
  • Sharing materials with Baylor faculty, staff and students
  • Posting links to specific content

Improper Uses (or, things that are usually NOT OK)

  • Systematic or substantial printing, copying or downloading (e.g., entire journal issues or books)
  • Selling content, re-distributing content or providing content to an employer
  • Sharing with people other than Baylor faculty, staff and students
  • Posting actual content or articles to web sites, blogs 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Always acknowledge your source on any published or unpublished document when you use data found on electronic resources. The Baylor University Libraries subscribes to RefWorks that provides invaluable assistance in the collection, management, and appropriate citation of references.

Grey Areas

Some resources allow inclusion for electronic reserves, course packs, and multiple copies for classroom use and interlibrary lending. Others explicitly forbid one or more of these activities.
  • Sharing with non-Baylor users: 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 "allowed." Some publishers do not allow sharing with non-Baylor users, and only allow this activity with other authorized users within the Baylor University community.
  • Course Reserves: Most electronic resources may be used for print or electronic reserves. If "Course Reserves Allowed" is indicated, then copyright clearance has already been granted. Reserves, both print and electronic, need to be secured and not made openly available. For more information, see Course Reserves
  • Course Packs: Some electronic resources allow for limited portions, such as a single articles from a journal, to be reproduced and provided to students in a course pack. If "Course packs allowed" is indicated, then copyright clearance has already been granted for this use. In nearly all cases, course packs must be provided on a cost recovery basis only, and not sold for profit. If "Course packs not allowed" is indicated, then the material needs to have copyright cleared with the publisher before proceeding with inclusion in a course pack. Information on how to handle course packs at Baylor University can be found at the Baylor Copyright website.

If you have questions about a particular resource, please send us an email

For more information see Information Technology Services' Technology Usage Policy BU-PP 025.