Pdf of Electronic books available fully online

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  • Under which conditions can we downnload and display the pdf of E-books on a library server?

    1. In case of public domain book?
    2. Open access book?
    3. Available freely with copyright notice?
    4. Or anything else?

    Thank you for any input?
  • I believe that the answer would depend on the source of your pdf E-books. If you are asking about using pdfs of e-books from a licensed database to which the library subscribes, then you would need to review the license to determine how your library may use the materials. E-book licenses usually grant permission for some uses and restrict other uses.

    Another factor could depend on the accessibility of your library server. For example, are you mounting the pdfs on a closed e-reserve system on your server? or on a closed distance education server that meets the requirements of the TEACH Act? or is this an open server that makes the pdfs available globally via your library web page? or are you using Ariel or similar software to provide access to ILL items?

    In a nutshell, the answer to your question is a case-by-case "it depends" where you would need to look both at the source of the material and at the proposed use of that material to determine whether the use on your server is allowable or infringement. Here are some examples:

    Example 1: from your library's collection, you select a printed book published in 1900 that is clearly in the public domain and you scan a copy in pdf, place it on your library's server, and link to the pdf version from the 856 field of the MARC record for that book in your library's opac. This is would be allowable.

    Example 2: your library subscribes to a full-text database that includes pdfs of books and the license prohibits copying pdfs and making them available to the general public on your web site, via your opac, etc. In that case, it would not be allowable for you to copy the pdfs from the database and place on your server for access via your opac without permission from the vendor.

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