Yale University Library Ebook Acquisitions: Guiding Principles

Yale University Library seeks to acquire e-books that support the university’s teaching, research, and public missions, and which are in alignment with the library’s Collection Development Philosophy.

As the ebook marketplace continues to evolve and present an increasing number of pricing, content, and access models, the following principles guide the library’s ebook acquisitions approach.


  • Publishers should support or show that they are working toward supporting screen-readers and other assistive technologies so that the Library can comply with legal standards and university policies.
  • Content should be accessible across a variety of platforms and devices, and evolve with the emergence of new technologies.

Fair use and scholarly communication

  • License agreements should allow ebook use that is commensurate with print book usage, including:
    • scholarly sharing and fair use rights.
    • interlibrary loan.
    • use of ebooks in course reserves, course management systems, and course packs.
    • reproduction for local loading, preservation, or migrating to new formats.

Access and availability

  • We prefer:
    • simultaneous access by unlimited users at a reasonable cost.
    • ebooks that can be downloaded to users' devices in a variety of formats.
    • platforms that do not have digital rights management (DRM) restrictions; for example, we prefer that users be able at minimum to print, copy, and save content at the chapter/section level.
    • consistency of content between print and ebooks, including quality illustrations and supplementary materials.
    • simultaneous availability of newly published (front list) titles in both print and electronic formats.
    • the ability to discover and access ebooks in a variety of ways through library catalogs, discovery services, search engines, and link resolvers.
  • Products that impose annual limits on use cannot be managed as part of the Library's collection and are avoided.

Sustainable and fair business models

  • We prefer:
    • minimal or no maintenance and/or access fees.
    • models that provide adequate discounting for format duplication (print and online).
    • perpetual access to purchased content.
    • archival rights, including the ability to archive content locally.
    • no advertisements on the interface or embedded in the content.
    • the ability to add Yale University Library branding.
    • the publishers/platforms support the privacy of our users.

These principles were drawn from the recommendations of the 2013 report of the Yale University Library eBook Strategic Plan Task Force and informed by the following eBook Value Statements:

University of California Libraries E-Book Value Statement

University of Iowa Libraries E-book Value Statement

Approved by the Collection Steering Committee, May 4, 2017

Last modified: 
Monday, May 8, 2017 - 4:47pm