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Resources for Alumni: Controlled Digital Lending

Getting books, articles and more resources after you graduate from TMU

CDL Policy

Robert L. Powell Library Policy for Controlled Digital Lending

Controlled Digital Lending (CDL)  <> is an emerging method that allows libraries to digitize print books for patrons in a “lend like print” fashion. Through CDL, libraries uses technical controls to prevent users from redistributing or copying the digitized version. This 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.

In addition to the basic function of preservation and access, the Robert L. Powell Library’s mission is to support the academic and scholarly programs of The Master's University by providing reliable, relevant, research resources for its students, faculty, and staff. With the implementation of a pilot program of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the Robert L. Powell Library will make great strides toward attaining this mission.  Through CDL the library will be able to mitigate the inequalities that have arisen for those students learning remotely as well as strengthen accessibility for those with disabilities. CDL will revolutionize research and scholarship by supplying resources to those students and faculty around the globe who do not have access to local physical libraries.  It will also remove readability barriers for those with print and physical disabilities and it will resolve utilization issues for those with neurodiverse conditions who are unable to access needed educational resources that are only available physically in the library. CDL further transforms research by providing full text searching of each shared book’s content. Controlled Digital Lending is a low risk, low cost, reasonable solution that preserves legal and fiscal value of the Powell Library’s collection.

For centuries libraries have been implementing the practice of acquiring a book, loaning it out to one person at a time, limiting the loan period and after the item is returned, making it available to the next person. No permission is needed from a copyright holder. In keeping with this practice, the Robert L. Powell Library will use only lawfully acquired works (purchase, donation, etc.), not licensed works.  It will maintain the “owned to loan” ratio, lend to a single user at a time, and limit the time period of the loan (hours, days, weeks, semester) thereby mimicking the physical loaning process. In addition, the Powell Library will implement reasonable controls to prevent wholesale copying and redistribution. If the Powell Library loses, sells, or gives away the physical copy, it ceases lending the digital one.

Print books may be digitized and shared with patrons while complying with Copyright Fair Use “good faith” boundaries and First Sale Doctrine, by applying the following reasonable controls:

  1. View only access
  2. Download, copy, print and share options are blocked
  3. Expiration Date/hour set to appropriate time frame
  4. Notice of Copyright adherence accompanies the document. See Copyright Notice below.

CDL will be available to anyone who makes a request (CDL Request Form).  However, fulfillment will be given in this order of priority:

  1. TMU online students living outside the contiguous United States
  2. TMU online students
  3. TMU Faculty
  4. Traditional TMU students
  5. TMU staff
  6. TMS students
  7. TMS Faculty
  8. Everyone else


The copyright law of the United States ( governs the making of copies and reproductions of copyrighted materials. These materials have been made available for your personal research and scholarship and may not be reproduced by any means. Please HONOR the copyright of these documents.

Last updated June 2022.

CDL Request Form