How do you deal with something that is not easy to manage? By this, I mean issues related to the excessive or systematic download of the library’s subscribed electronic resources materials.
A little background to this: Libraries sign license agreements with electronic resources publishers to ensure that users do not violate or infringe any copyright regulations. In addition, we also have to ensure that there are no ‘crawling’ activities – our users do not deploy some form of software to download multiple documents within a very short period of time. So, when any of these happen (excessive / systematic downloading), it will trigger an automated access block on the suspected campus IPs from the publishers. Thus, users are not able to access that particular electronic resources.
The last few weeks have been pretty busy with a spike of such incidents. I had to liaise with the publishers to ensure that our access is reinstated as well as assuring that we will investigate the matter thoroughly on our end. In addition, I have to contact our counterparts – campus IT Security Team. Once we have identified the ‘perpetrators’, my next task will involve contacting them and ensuring that they are NOT to repeat the ‘act’ again. (if they are guilty of it)
We have been very proactive in ensuring that our users are well-informed about these issues. Some of our initiatives include:
- Announcement on our library website
- Email blast
- Posters at strategic places on campus such as campus diner, congregation areas in the library
- Library trainings
- Electronic Billboards
- Informal meetings / chats with our users on this issue
- Re-visiting our license agreements and renegotiating with the electronic publishers
Hopefully, we can reduce the number of such incidents; though eradicating them would be rather tough. Like I said before, sometimes when it rains, it pours …