University of Virginia Library E-book Value Statement

The University of Virginia Library is dedicated to providing scholars and students access to the information and resources they require to be successful in their research, learning, and teaching endeavors. As formats and methods of access continue to evolve, e-books will remain of increasing importance to research and learning across the academy. The Library is committed to providing e-books in a fiscally responsible and ethical manner, while considering issues related to accessibility and uniqueness of content. The Library seeks to partner with e-book providers in an effort to shape the publishing arena in a manner which respects authors, intellectual property rights, diversity, inclusion, and robustness of access.

The University of Virginia Library considers the following priorities in relation to e-book acquisition, in order to create an environment which best supports publishers, libraries, scholars, and students.

Research and instruction:

  • Licensing terms that do not limit fair use, Section 108, and first-sale doctrines under U.S. copyright law, including use of e-book content for course reserves, course management systems, and course packs.
  • Consistency of content between, and simultaneous release of, print and electronic book versions.
  • Provision and availability of persistent URLs to be incorporated in Library and University web sites.
  • DRM-free licenses which allow the Library to borrow and lend e-books in an analogous manner to physical books.
  • Simultaneous access to content by unlimited users at a reasonable cost.

User Experience:

  • Interoperability across technology platforms, including mobile devices.
  • Appropriate metadata for discoverability and access across search interfaces, catalogs, and portals.
  • Options to only search licensed content.
  • Easy and intuitive navigation through page cues, URLs, hyperlinks, etc.
  • No restrictions on copying, printing, sharing, and annotating with accompanying citation tools.
  • Compliance with the guidelines of the American Disabilities Act and other state and federal laws.

Sustainable Access:

  • Perpetual rights to purchased content regardless of the platform or its longevity.
  • Protection of user privacy with clear statements regarding how the publisher or vendor can use personal information.
  • Flexible pricing and content models, including options for multiple format access.
  • Agreed-upon schedules for removal of content, platform upgrades, or changes to back-end technology.  
  • COUNTER-compliant usage statistics.

With thanks to colleagues at other academic libraries from whom we have drawn inspiration and language in preparation of this policy. Statements from UCLA and University of Iowa were used as models for this document.