Adapted from a poster presentation given at an internal event at the University of Sunderland
How old do you have to be to…? [jurisdiction: England & Wales]
Here are the answers – did you get them all correct?
Are these laws are consistent? How is this related to the way in which they have developed?
Licences for electronic resources have evolved over time, and inconsistencies can appear because of historical precedent. Consider the following table, showing a range of resources, and which types of people may access them:
This table is created by consulting the “authorised users” section of the licence for each resource.
Of those who are not current staff or students, it is walk-in users who receive the most generous entitlements. This is because walk-in users have long been permitted to access print periodicals in academic libraries, and nowadays this is extended to include electronic journals (still within the library only).
The access entitlements of retired staff and “retired students” (i.e. alumni) are different, probably because it is assumed that retired staff will use this access to pursue academic research, whereas many alumni will be working in commercial settings. If alumni were allowed access to their alma mater‘s academic subscriptions, this could damage the publishers’ income from commercial licences for their information products, so publishers do not permit alumni access for their products. NB: some publishers allow alumni access for an additional fee, and usually for information resources for which there is no significant revenue from the commercial sector.
I’ve been working on a project to increase the granularity of our Single Sign-On authentication system, so that it can accommodate different types of users, and allow each group to access only the resources within its permission set. I used this presentation to make the concept of usertypes and permitted resources more tangible, especially for people who don’t work in the e-resources (or indeed library) environment.