Responsible Use of Electronic Resources

The Georgetown University Library provides faculty, students, and staff with access to a wide range of electronic resources, including databases, e-journals, and e-books. All of our e-resources contain copyrighted materials, the use of which is subject to license agreements with publishers that govern how the e-resource may be used. It is very important that all library patrons abide by the terms of our license agreements; violations may result in temporary or permanent loss of access to the e-resource for the entire Georgetown community.

Some terms of use for e-resources are standard across most of our licenses:

Usually Permitted Usually not Permitted
Making limited print or electronic copies (such as single articles) Excessive or systematic or substantial printing, copying or downloading (such as entire journal issues or books)
Using for personal, instructional, or research needs Using for commercial purposes (such as selling or re-distributing content)
Posting links to specific content Posting actual content or articles to websites or listservs
Quoting with proper citation Modifying, altering, or creating derivative works

Other uses of e-resources may be permitted or prohibited by the license agreement, including:

  • electronic reserves
  • text mining
  • scholarly sharing of articles
  • course packs
  • multiple copies for classroom use
  • interlibrary lending
  • authorized users
    • The majority of license agreements define authorized users as currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff of Georgetown University
    • In most cases, walk-in users (individuals who are physically present on GU campus and who are not current GU students, faculty or staff) are also included
    • A limited number of e-resources are available for off-campus use by alumni; click here for a list

If you have questions or need additional information about the terms of e-resources licensed by the Library, please email

For questions about copyright, please email