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Library Policies

Your Rights and Responsibilities in using the Library's Databases

The library provides access to numerous research databases to support the information needs and research activities of the Westminster College community. These databases are produced by private companies and are not freely available to the general public. In order to provide access to these databases the library must sign a contract, called a license agreement, which governs how a database may and may not be used. The clauses in the license agreement supersede the "fair use" provisions laid out in copyright law.

Every license agreement is different, but there are typically some common responsibility clauses that tend to appear in each one and there are general rights that Reeves Library seeks to negotiate into these license agreements. It is your responsibility to understand what you are permitted or not permitted to do when using a particular database and to act accordingly.

The following are some of the rights and responsibilities that are typically present in the license agreements signed by Reeves Library:

Authorized Users
  • Authorized Users of the library's databases are typically defined as current faculty (including visiting faculty), staff, students as well as library patrons who access the database within the library.
  • Most License Agreements specifically prohibit sharing the licensed material in the database with non-authorized users. This means that you may not e-mail or send a copy of an article or other material to a friend or colleague at another institution. You may not post licensed material on your web site either.

Rights of the Authorized User

  • You, as an Authorized User, have the right to search the database, view the results, and to extract (by e-mailing, printing, or downloading) a limited amount of material from the database.
  • You do not have the right to systematically extract material from a database or to extract a substantial amount of material (more than 1% of the total content is a general rule of thumb).

Use of and Rights to the Licensed Material

  • You have the right to use the Licensed Material for personal and for research purposes.
  • You do not have the right to use the Licensed Material for commercial purposes. You do not have the right to engage in any activity that might endanger the publisher's ability to market or sell its product.
  • The publisher of the database retains the rights to the Licensed Material. It may withdraw any component of the database at its discretion. Generally, this would be done if the publisher lost the rights to the material or felt that its rights to the material may be challenged.
  • You do not have the right to alter, amend, modify, delete or make derivative works of the Licensed Material or database itself without permission from the publisher.


  • The publisher generally disclaims any Warranties for the database and the Licensed Material including fitness for a particular purpose, the completeness or accuracy of the information, or the availability of the product. The library does make every attempt to get the publisher to warrant the database will conform to its advertised characteristics and in the event access to the database is lost, the publisher will undertake reasonable efforts to restore it.

Using Licensed Material in Coursepacks or Putting it on Reserve

  • Do not assume that the library's subscription to a particular database automatically gives you the right to include Licensed Material in a coursepack or to place it in Reeves Library's E-reserves system or in print reserves. Contact the Library for more information.

Violation of the License Agreement

  • Violations may result in the publisher terminating access to the database for the entire Westminster College community. This in turn will result in serious disciplinary action against the offender.

If you have any questions with regard to the appropriate use of the library's online resources please contact Angela Grogan , the Director of Library Services at extension 5245.

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