VALA2022 Vendor Greenberg

Controlled Digital Lending Role in Ex Libris Products

VALA2022 Vendor Presentation

Daniel Greenberg
  • Product Manager
  • Ex Libris, a ProQuest Company
Judith Fraenkel
  • Product Manager
  • Ex Libris, a ProQuest Company

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Ex Libris is working full steam on 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”.

CDL enables libraries to cater to patrons with differing needs, such as a print disability or difficulty in accessing a library building.

In August 2021, a new tool was released as part of Ex Libris Alma® Digital, enabling a librarian to easily make CDL resources available for short-term use. The key principle of CDL is maintaining the own-to-loan ratio between the number of copies—both digital and physical—that the library holds and the number of concurrent copies in circulation.

To adhere to that principle, the librarian sets parameters for the number of concurrent users and the amount of time that the patron may use the resource. When the number of copy limit is met, students can register for the resource’s waiting list and be automatically notified when their turn comes. Technical mechanisms enable the library to prevent redistribution of the resource.

In addition to CDL functionalities that are already part of Ex Libris solutions, the company is planning to implement CDL for general circulation loans, and through the Ex Libris Rapido™ discovery-to-delivery resource sharing platform.

Ex Libris maintains a strategy of working with its customer community to ensure that the company’s solutions address customers’ needs. A community-led advisory group has been established to create a roadmap for implementing more CDL capabilities in Ex Libris products. The advisory group members bring to the table a broad range of expertise on CDL workflows and copyright issues.

In this session we will describe the various CDL services already implemented and draw out Ex Libris’ roadmap in this area for single libraries and resource sharing between libraries.


Daniel Greenberg is the Product manager of Alma Digital and Rosetta, Ex Libris’ digital asset management solutions for libraries, archives, special collections and more. Responsible for positioning Ex Libris as a lead player in the latest digital trends at libraries, resulting in an industry-focused and innovative roadmap. Previous experience includes many years of developing SaaS and on-premise software solutions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License