IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) has launched a new set of resources relating to eBooks and libraries. Providing access to eBooks is one of the most pressing issues facing libraries right now.
The rise of commercial dissemination of written content in digital form has imposed a new and challenging reality for libraries, publishers, authors and readers. Evolving and escalating changes in reader expectations fuelled by technological change are threatening traditional service delivery and business models.
The IFLA Principles for Library eLending is based on the assumption that it is necessary for libraries and publishers/authors to negotiate a range of reasonable terms and conditions for the licensing of eBooks to libraries which allows them to fulfil their mission of guaranteeing access to knowledge and information for their communities.
The principles below are intended to help all library professionals seeking to provide downloadable eBook content to their users, and are broadly drafted to maintain relevance across IFLA’s 150 member countries.
Principles for the Licensing/Purchase and Use of eBooks in Libraries
1. Libraries should be able to license and/or purchase all commercially available eBooks under a variety of terms and conditions dependent upon the nature of the work and the rights provided to libraries and their users such as:
- Number of simultaneous users
- The period of time the library has the right to make the eBook available.
- The option of outright purchase with permanent availability1
- A limit on the total number of loans permitted
- Publication date and retail sales.2
2. Given a mutual respect for copyright on the part of libraries and rightsholders, any eBook licensing/purchase options offered to libraries must respect copyright limitations and exceptions available to libraries and their users in legislation including if applicable:
- The right to copy a portion of the work
- Reformat the work for preservation purposes if it is licensed or purchased for permanent access
- Provide an interlibrary loan copy
- Re-format a work to enable print disabled access
Libraries should have the right to bypass a technological protection measure for the purpose of exercising any non-infringing purposes.
3. eBooks available from libraries should be usable on all commonly available eReading devices.
4. Libraries and library users must be able to control the use of a user’s personal information including their library digital reading choices.
5. When publishers and/or authors and/or resellers withhold library access to eBooks, national legislation should require such access under reasonable terms and conditions
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