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IFLA approves Licensing Principles
The worldwide marketplace for all types of electronic information resources is developing rapidly as publishers and vendors creating electronic information seek to attract libraries of all types (academic, public, national and special) as their customers. Today, libraries around the world continue in their role as mediators between users and producers of information and cultural expression. This role persists even more energetically, it appears, for electronic information than for print.
The use of electronic information everywhere in the world is usually defined and described by contractual agreements, otherwise known as licenses. These are marketplace arrangements in which a willing information provider and a willing purchaser of information access come together to make arrangements, deal by deal, resource by resource.
IFLA views the licensing arena positively, although key issues remain to be resolved. In particular, licensing is increasingly responsive to the complex business arrangements between information providers and library consortia of different types and sizes. IFLA encourages and supports the evolution of all types of libraries negotiating as consortia.
Recently IFLA's Executive and Professional Boards approved a set of Licensing Principles which should prevail in the contractual relationship and written contracts between libraries and information providers. Aspects that have been touched upon by these principles include: the law, access, usage and users, and pricing.
Marianne Scott, Chair of the IFLA Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM) which prepared the text of the Principles, commented: "Licensing is increasing in importance as a means of gaining access to commercially available digital information. I am pleased that the library community world wide now has a set of principles to provide support and guidance in negotiating these licenses".
The text of the IFLA Licensing Principles is available on IFLANET at: http://archive.ifla.org/V/ebpb/copy.htm
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