User Tools

Site Tools


Controlled Digital Lending (CDL)

What is CDL?

“Through CDL, libraries use technical controls to ensure a consistent “owned-to-loaned” ratio, meaning the library circulates the exact number of copies of a specific title it owns, regardless of format, putting controls in place to prevent users from redistributing or copying the digitized version. When CDL is appropriately tailored to reflect print book market conditions and controls are properly implemented, CDL may be permissible under existing copyright law. CDL is not intended to act as a substitute for existing electronic licensing services offered by publishers. Indeed, one significant advantage of CDL is addressing the “Twentieth Century Problem” of older books still under copyright but unlikely ever to be offered digitally by commercial services.From: Controlled Digital Lending website

Implementing Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) Responsibly and Effectively: A Primer for Librarians. Ex Libris [White Paper] 2021?

“Making copies of print materials available to patrons in digital format brings many advantages. For instance, this practice can make collections more widely accessible to researchers and the general public, as seen during the pandemic. There are also economic and ecological benefits to digital lending. Yet, libraries must ensure they are not violating copyright restrictions when circulating digital copies of their physical materials. To help librarians navigate this challenge, a concept known as Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) has emerged. This paper explains what CDL is, how it supports the library's mission, and how librarians can implement CDL successfully at their institutions.”

Transforming Our Libraries: 12 Stories About Controlled Digital Lending. By: Caralee Adams, Lila Bailey and Chris Freeland. 2019

Library Lending Fit for the 21st Century? Controlled Digital Lending in the UK . David Prosser. RLUK blog. 27 September 2021

From the blog: “Over the past few decades, a growing proportion of materials purchased by libraries has been in electronic rather than physical format. This format shift has brought many changes in the way in which we make materials available, and archive and preserve them. We have also moved in many areas from owning materials to leasing or renting them. However, nothing in these shifts affect the fundamental principle that libraries should be able to lend the materials that they have acquired to the communities they serve.”

The wider context: will there be libraries in 25 Years?

I Set Out to Build the Next Library of Alexandria. Now I Wonder: Will There Be Libraries in 25 Years? Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. Time. 22 October 2021

“Global media corporations—emboldened by the expansive copyright laws they helped craft and the emerging technology that reaches right into our reading devices—are exerting absolute control over digital information. These two conflicting forces—towards unfettered availability and completely walled access to information—have defined the last 25 years of the Internet. How we handle this ongoing clash will define our civic discourse in the next 25 years. If we fail to forge the right path, publishers’ business models could eliminate one of the great tools for democratizing society: our independent libraries.”

IFLA Statement on CDL

IFLA releases a statement on Controlled Digital Lending.16 June 2021

From the statement: “Controlled Digital Lending can represent an important tool for libraries. IFLA therefore supports this, underlining its ability to offer libraries the freedom to provide access to their collections, both during the pandemic and beyond. To achieve this, IFLA argues that all countries should recognise the possibility for libraries to lend works, that laws should be adapted to the digital environment so that libraries can continue their mission to provide access to information and knowledge in the modern age, and that the combination of exceptions – for example to digitise and lend – should not be restricted unnecessarily.”

Library technology vendors responses to CDL


Controlled Digital Lending to Play a Larger Role in Ex Libris Products. Ex Libris Press Release 19 August 2021

Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, is happy to announce the development of new functions that will increase the compatibility of the company’s library software solutions with controlled digital lending. Controlled digital lending (CDL) is a practice that enables libraries to lend a digital copy of a physical resource in a “lend like print” manner—that is, in the same way in which they lend the physical resource itself.

The Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries group has defined three “core principles” of CDL: “A library must own a legal copy of the physical book, either by purchase or gift; the library must maintain an ‘owned to loaned’ ratio, simultaneously lending no more copies than it legally owns; the library must use technical measures to ensure that the digital file cannot be copied or redistributed”.

Implementing Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) Responsibly and Effectively: A Primer for Librarians.Ex Libris Whitepaper 2021

This paper explains what CDL is, how it supports the library's mission, and how librarians canimplement CDL successfully at their institutions.


EBSCO Information Services to Support Resource Sharing and Development of Controlled Digital Lending in FOLIO Ebsco Press Release 15 June 2021

“Ebsco Information Services (EBSCO) is increasing its development commitment to Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) and resource sharing on the FOLIO Library Services Platform (LSP). Collaborating with Knowledge Integration (K-Int), EBSCO will advance the development of these solutions for libraries worldwide.”

controlled_digital_lending.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/27 09:01 by paul