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The HAERVI project

The HAERVI (HE Access to e-Resources in Visited Institutions) project was promoted by SCONUL and UCISA to improve the service offered by HE institutions to visiting students and researchers from other HEIs who wish to access licensed e-resouces. The project, which was funded by the JISC, has now reached its conclusion with the publication of the Best Practice Guide to HE Access to e-resouces in Visited Institutions. Printed copies will be sent to all SCONUL contacts and lead representatives of UCISA full members in the near future.

The complete document is available to download as a PDF file.

Latest update - 10 June 2008

The report made a number of recommendations for further action and progress has been made on a number of these. Further the SCONUL and UCISA Executive Boards (and subsequently a sub-group from both communities) met recently to discuss further activity and progress. This update gives details of some of those recommendations and future directions.

Three of the recommendations were specifically for institutional Library and IT departments. Firstly it was recognised that some institutions will have negotiated directly with publishers or aggregators for some resources. Libraries should maintain locally a corresponding list of walk-in access conditions where such access is included within the agreed licence. Secondly, there is a risk that institutions relying on IP Authentication for visitor access to e-resources are inadvertently making it possible for those visitors to access unintended content. Consequently they should satisfy themselves that this is not the case. Finally, it was noted that many institutions include sections for visitors on their institutional websites. Library and IT departments within institutions should lobby for details of how visitors can gain access to e-resources to be included within such sections.

At the time the report was issued JISC Collections, NESLi2 and Eduserv CHEST all published online registers of publishers’ and aggregators’ licences negotiated by them on behalf of the UK HE sector with details of the level of walk-in access permitted. However, it is not clear how regularly these pages are being updated and assurances have been sought from both JISC and Eduserv that the online registers are being regularly reviewed and updated. It is desirable that a date of last update is included on each page; in the longer term it was agreed that merging the sources to provide a single register would be of benefit.

There were a number of issues regarding the definition of walk-in access clauses. It was noted that the definitions of walk-in clauses were not necessarily consistent and that it was not always clear whether ‘walk-in’ applied to the Library or whole institution. It was agreed to lobby both JISC and Eduserv to move towards a single definition for walk-in clauses with a strong preference for the clause to provide for access to the whole institution.

The report noted that a kiosk approach could be used to provide secure access to walk-in resources. Some development has been carried out towards a solution; details will be provided via this page once it has been completed.

Looking further into the future, it was recognised that visitor access is not just restricted to visitors from other HEIs; members of the public, former staff and alumni are also granted rights to access within libraries (it is anticipated that the business and community engagement initiatives will generate further specific requirements). It was recognised that there is still some work to be done to define a clear programme of activity to consider these additional visitor categories.

Finally, do you have a success story to tell? Some institutions already have policies and procedures in place and are successfully providing access to e-resources. If your institution is one of these and you would like to share your success with the rest of the community, we would be interested in case studies or examples of procedures and policies. Please contact Peter Tinson ( for further details.

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