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How does NILDE refer to e-resources licenses?

Licenses Librarians Share

E-resources are nowdays the most represented in academic and research libraries collections. Exceptions and limitations for libraries provided by copyright laws have become “license to use” under contract law. In fact, in all but four EU member states (Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and UK) contract terms can override existing copyright exceptions.

A NILDE working group was set up in 2005 to examine the licenses on electronic journals in Italy. The purpose of the group was to foster communication between librarians and consortia negotiating with publishers, to stimulate them to be more aware about ILL clauses in licenses. As a consequence, the NILDE system has been recognized by many publishers as a “secure electronic system” or an “Ariel or fax-like equivalent system” to supply (single) copies from their licensed material. Publisher’s requirements have driven the implementation of NILDE SEDD module. In these cases, a proactive and careful negotiation, carried out through years, has led to suitable licensing conditions.

Licensing restrictions give rise to many issues on ILL practices. One main issue is the difficulty of identifying the “proper” license applying to each e-journal to be supplied by the library, and to know if they have a license that enables them to share an item with another library. It has been found in several studies that “the license checking that is required inhibits fulfillment more than the licenses restrictions do themselves” 1. Since licenses are often written in technical, legal and sometimes vague language, license text interpretation is another common issue.
In this rather complex context, full of “lights and shadows”, NILDE launched the ALPE project, aimed to develop a framework for ILL librarians to comply with licenses, to automate the license checking and comprehension process during the ILL activity and to allow exchange of ILL rights data across systems.
ALPE (E-Journals Licenses Database) is a national archive of ILL clauses, extracted from standard and negotiated licenses, to manage, to publicly share and to check the permitted uses of e-resources for Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery.

The ALPE database is freely available using a web-based interface3. It allows browsing and searching for ILL clauses contained in e-licenses by resource identifiers (ISSN and ISBN), by publisher or content provider or by platform. It then allows refining a search by subscriber institution, by e-resources type, by license validity year and subscription type (i.e., current or back-files subscription).  The NILDE software has been integrated with ALPE to automate the license checking activity during the lending work flow: NILDE uses APIs to query the ALPE database, retrieves and shows information about licenses and then applies the restrictions, if any, before to supply (or not supply) the requested item.