E-resource licensing and virtual reference

Sloan, Bernie bernies at uillinois.edu
Fri Sep 27 15:11:39 EDT 2002

I've given presentations at two conferences within the past week
(International Coalition of Library Consortia, and Illinois Library
Association) where a main topic of discussion involved the use of licensed
e-resources to serve a user from another library, during a virtual reference
session. Generally, the discussion involved collaborative virtual reference
projects (i.e., where two or more libraries band together to provide virtual
reference services to their collective group of users).

Basically, the scenario is this: you are working the virtual reference desk,
and a user connects from an institution other than your own. Can you use
your licensed e-resources to help this user? For example, can you search a
full text journal article database and e-mail articles to this user? Can you
help the user by providing them with information from a licensed database?

The consensus was that this should be no different than serving a walk-in
patron who asks for help at the physical reference desk. With most vendor
licenses, it is OK for a walk-in user to make use of licensed e-resources.
But when it comes to providing virtual service (e.g., via a virtual
reference service) the licensing terms and conditions are less clear.

What do you all think?

Bernie Sloan
Senior Library Information Systems Consultant
University of Illinois Office for Planning and Budgeting
338 Henry Administration Building
506 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL  61801

Phone: (217) 333-4895
Fax:   (217) 265-0454
E-mail: bernies at uillinois.edu

More information about the Web4lib mailing list