Excessive Downloading: What You Should Know

Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

excessive download


Have you ever received a notification saying, “Your IP address is blocked” or “This resource is currently unavailable due to suspected systematic downloading” when trying to access electronic resources through the University of Ottawa Library? If so, excessive downloading of licensed content is likely to blame.

Although the definition of excessive downloading varies from publisher to publisher, it generally applies to downloading a large number of articles within a short time period. To learn more about what is considered acceptable use, please consult our Conditions of Use for Electronic Resources.

It is important to know that excessive downloading is an increasing problem for universities around the world. In 2016 and 2017, publishers including Springer, Elsevier, Taylor and Francis and ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) temporarily suspended uOttawa’s off-campus access to licensed resources due to instances of excessive downloading.

Because a single suspected case of excessive downloading can prompt a publisher to temporarily block access for the entire uOttawa community or even cancel our license altogether, your access to electronic resources could be disrupted through no fault of your own.

Still, there are steps we can all take to ensure that uOttawa’s access to licensed electronic resources continues uninterrupted. First and foremost, it is crucially important to avoid sharing your uOttawa library username and password with others and to be on the lookout for potential phishing attempts. Please visit Information Technology’s IT Security website for more information about cybersecurity.

We also recommend that users avoid downloading more licensed resources at one time than they could reasonably read over the course of several days. If you have questions about the license restrictions of a specific resource, please contact the Electronic Resources team.

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