Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU): FAQ

As the Women Writers Project has signed onto the Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU) registry, we can offer SERU as a simpler alternative to our standard license. You can find more information on SERU on their website. Pricing is unaffected by subscription type. This FAQ addresses several common questions about subscriptions through SERU—please reach out to us by email if you have other questions or suggestions for this page:

If my institution has an existing agreement with the WWP that covers multiple related institutions, can we still switch to the SERU license (which indicates that “The acquiring institution is generally understood to be a single institution”)?

Yes: we can include a note that specifies what institutions are covered by our agreement.

If we use the SERU agreement, how are provisions such as alumni usage, affiliated campuses, concurrent users, or other special situations handled?

As with our regular license, under a SERU agreement we are happy to include alumni and other users who typically have access to your institution’s electronic collections in our coverage for your institution. We do not place a limit on the number of concurrent users.

How is interlibrary loan handled with a SERU license?

We permit very broad support for interlibrary loan of resources from Women Writers Online, including print and PDF of entire documents or portions of documents. We do not require that ILL materials be returned, destroyed, or limited as to duration or number of copies circulated. Our assumption is that libraries will act in good faith in using the ILL mechanism and will not use it to circumvent a normal subscription.

Under the SERU license, does my institution retain access to the digital content in perpetuity?

Under SERU as with the normal WWP license, the WWP provides access for the duration of an institution’s subscription, and also warrants that the WWP will make the content available to subscribers if the WWP ceases to publish Women Writers Online itself. If a subscriber chooses to discontinue their subscription, we do not provide access to the WWO collection after the end of the subscription period. However, we offer generous discounting in cases of financial hardship and in other ways are ready to work with subscribers to maintain continuity of access as much as possible. This is consistent with SERU’s provision that “providers may charge a reasonable annual fee to recover their costs for providing continuing access following termination of a subscription”. The WWP subscription fee is essentially a cost recovery fee; the WWP is a non-profit and all license revenue directly supports the project’s work to maintain and expand WWO.

If we choose the SERU license, how would disputes be resolved?

Although the main WWP license provides for a conflict resolution process covering several specific points (including unauthorized use (3.3), breach of obligations (6.2), limitation of liability (8.6), and location of legal proceedings (10.5)), none of these provisions has ever been called upon during the past 22 years of licensing to several hundred institutions worldwide. Furthermore, because of the nature of the subscription (whose sole function is to provide access to digitized versions of out-of-copyright resources), we do not feel that there is a significant likelihood of a dispute that could not be remedied by either party simply discontinuing the subscription. Our expectation is that institutions that are comfortable with using the SERU license share those assumptions and are willing to proceed on a non-conflictual basis.