Permitted use of library online resources

As a member of the University you have access to many electronic journals, books and bibliographic databases through the library. You may have found them by doing an internet search but access is allowed due to a University subscription.

These resources are subject to licensing agreements with suppliers and publishers. The licences govern how you can use and copy the resources and you must abide by them.

Although licences can vary some general guidelines are:

Access and Use

  • Use of resources is for personal educational purposes only i.e. to support your study or research. Use does not extend to any commercial use. They must, therefore, not be used during work placements for the benefit of the host organisation, or to undertake paid research for an external institution.
  • Access to resources is normally via your university account, and you are responsible for keeping your account secure. IT Security advice is available. Above all, you must never share your login with anyone else. 


  • You can normally download, email, or print ONE copy of a limited amount (which will vary between publishers) for your own personal use. You should not download works in their entirety, or systematically. Making multiple copies is not allowed.
  • Manually or systematically downloading large quantities of material using automated software is strictly forbidden and if identified by a publisher or supplier will result in access being blocked for the whole university. Your individual IT account may also be disabled. Take care when using EndNote or other reference management software not to download too much material too quickly. 
  • For ebooks the amount that you can download, or print varies from one publisher and title to another. This information is usually displayed when you use each book. See our ebooks page for more advice.
  • You must not remove, obscure or alter any copyright information that appears on materials you download.


  • You may not share any material with unauthorised users i.e. non-members of the University of Nottingham.
  • Most licences do not permit you to share downloaded copies (e.g. PDFs of journal articles) with other students, or staff of the University. This means you should not email, or post online (even in secure intranets, or Moodle) copies for others to access. Only if it is expressly permitted in a resource licence can you do this.
  • If you want to recommend or share material you should provide a link to the resource itself. That way other university staff and students can access it themselves.
  • To link to journal articles look for a stable or persistent link, often called a DOI. These links are usually short and will always point to the article. Direct links to ebooks and journal articles can easily be provided to students via online reading lists.


University of Nottingham Libraries

King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

Please see our Help and support page for
telephone and email
contact points