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Licensing and Access

Below is a summary of the range of rights and access models which exist as a result of the TCP’s close partnerships with commercial vendors. Currently, we are actively seeking partners for EEBO-TCP Phase II.

Pre-Requisite: Database Access

Before becoming a TCP partner, an institution must purchase or license access to the corresponding database. This transaction is negotiated directly between the institution and the publisher, and the license will pertain to all content owned by the publisher. This might include:

  • page images
  • Searchable text generated by the vendor through OCR (EEBO has no such text)
  • access to vendor’s interface, search engine, and other functionality (perhaps conditional upon the payment of an annual maintenance fee)

The TCP requires an institution to warrant that they have completed this step before they become a TCP partner.

E.g.: Northwestern University purchases EEBO from ProQuest. Users can search the catalog records and view the images of all 125,000+ books, but cannot search or view the full electronic text.

TCP Partnership


TCP partnership is established between the partner and the University of Michigan Library. The database publisher is not party to this agreement. TCP partnership fees are different from either a subscription or a straight purchase because they directly fund the ongoing work of this project. TCP partnership is an investment in our work: your contribution helps the TCP corpus to grow, so you and all of the other partner libraries benefit.

E.g.: Northwestern University becomes an EEBO-TCP partner. Their partnership fee of $50,000 supports the keying and review of 200-250 books, which become a part of the corpus available to all users.


TCP partnership confers co-ownership of the TCP text files on the partner institution. This gives the partner permission to access the texts through ProQuest’s EEBO interface, as well as through interfaces hosted at the Universities of Michigan and Oxford. In addition, as co-owners of the texts, the TCP partners have the right to load, use, and host a copy of the texts locally.

E.g.: Northwestern University hosts a version of the EEBO-TCP texts at PhiloLogic@NU, a search engine that supports searching across several datasets at once. 

These rights extend to the TCP texts only; the institution’s right to use the page images is still governed by their agreement with the vendor.

E.g.: Northwestern’s PhiloLogic instance only indexes the text created by the TCP; no attempt is made to involve the page images from EEBO.

Public Access to the TCP texts

Exclusivity Period

TCP partners share ownership of the texts, which are all in the public domain. However, the TCP’s agreements with our commercial partners grant these companies a limited window of time to be the exclusive providers of the text files (the “exclusivity period”). Consistent with this agreement, TCP partners agree not to distribute the TCP texts to non-partners until this period has ended.

E.g.: Northwestern’s PhiloLogic interface for the EEBO-TCP texts is only accessible to CIC institutions that are EEBO-TCP partners. It is Northwestern’s responsibility to set up and maintain an authorization system that ensures only TCP partner institutions can access these texts.

Release to the Public

Once the exclusivity period comes to an end, all TCP texts will be made available to the public. The University of Michigan Library will make the source files available to the public for their own use and remove the wall from our hosted version of the texts, so that anyone may search, browse, and read them online. Likewise, at this time, partner institutions are no longer obligated to restrict access to the texts to other partner institutions.

E.g. Starting January 1, 2015, Northwestern University may remove all restrictions from the EEBO-TCP Phase I texts in PhiloLogic@NU, and make these available to the public.

These releases are staggered, based on when a project was finished, and the exclusivity period began.

  • ECCO-TCP has already been released to the public.
  • EEBO-TCP Phase I is currently available exclusively from ProQuest. It will be released to the public January 1, 2015.
  • EEBO-TCP Phase II is currently being produced, and actively seeking new partners. Once work is done, this corpus will be available exclusively through ProQuest for five years. Then, it will be released to the public.
  • Evans-TCP is currently in its exclusivity period.

The release of the TCP texts to the public is entirely separate from, and does not change, the restrictions on the relevant commercial database. Even after the TCP texts become available to the public, an institution will have to purchase the relevant database from its publisher in order to access the page images.