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Electronic Resources Help: Acceptable use of E-Resources

Online guidance and information about the Library's electronic resources

General Information

Copyright regulations apply to electronic material in the same way that they do to printed books and journals. In addition, with electronic journals and databases, our access is based on license agreements with the publishers.

Electronic resources are available to the staff and students of the University of Exeter for teaching and research purposes only. It is a breach of license conditions to use the data for commercial or business purposes. You can find out your responsibilities in the Library Regulations.

Misuse of licensed resources jeopardises access for the entire University, so please use the electronic resources responsibly. The following are guidelines for acceptable use, but please note that these may vary between individual publishers, so you may like to check the terms and conditions on the publisher's websites.

JISC published some Guidelines for Fair Dealing in an Electronic Environment which can give you a quick start to understanding what you can and cannot do.


You can ...

  • download and copy on to disk, or print, one single article per issue of an electronic journal, or one chapter/up to 10% of an electronic book
  • View multiple articles from an electronic journal on screen;


The operation of your Web browser may result in multiple articles being downloaded onto your computer's hard drive.

Where there is no intent to store the copy permanently, any such incidental copying involved in viewing an electronic publication is permitted under 'fair dealing'.


  • Do not supply your username and password to anyone else
  • It is against our copyright agreement to download, copy or print more than one article per issue of a journal (electronic or print) without the permission of the owner;
    Downloading the entire contents of an electronic journal to your PC, home file space or writable CD is illegal.
  • Do not systematically download using robots, spiders or manual means;
    Publishers keep track of patterns of use and if they suspect misuse in the form of systematic downloading they will cut off access.
  • It is prohibited to pass on any information you retrieve to a user who is not authorised to use the resource, or republish the material in any form

For Your Information

When you search for and/or access bibliographic resources such as journal articles, your request may be routed through the UK OpenURL Router Service (, which is administered by EDINA at the University of Edinburgh.  The Router service captures and anonymises activity data which are then included in an aggregation of data about use of bibliographic resources throughout UK Higher Education (UK HE).  The aggregation is used as the basis of services for users in UK HE and is made available to the public so that others may use it as the basis of services.  The aggregation contains no information that could identify you as an individual.

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