UDC Licences

Why do we need licences?

The content of the Universal Decimal Classification is the copyright of the UDC Consortium (UDCC) and formal permission (a licence) issued by the UDCC is needed to reproduce and/or distribute, i.e. to publish, any parts of the UDC. The formal permission includes the provision of the complete UDC database file, called the UDC Master Reference File (UDC MRF).

Who can obtain UDC licence?

Individual users and institutions (other than UDC publishers) can also obtain and access the complete UDC MRF. Because this file represents the full content of the UDC and may have many different applications, the use of this file itself is also licensed.

Following a licence application, licences can be purchased according to the license pricing scheme (available for each type of licence below), negotiated or, in exceptional cases, granted for free.

Kind of UDC licences

There are two kinds of standard UDC licences. To find out which of these licences applies to you and to learn about the terms, prices and application process, follow the link provided for each licence:

  • UDC publishing licence - covering rights for publishing and distribution of the UDC scheme
  • UDC MRF use licence - covering rights for the use of UDC Master Reference file for
    • pre-publication work, that is, for all the work needed to prepare a UDC edition, before actual publishing, e.g., executing the translation.
    • internal reference purposes on a local system for use within the organization, or for loading classification data in a given information system.
    • institutional research projects of any kind, notably to explore the potential of UDC in particular uses, new services, etc.
    • educational purposes, i.e. in library schools and other similar organizations.
    • personal use, e.g., individual study and research on UDC.
  • Non-standard licence - for special situations considered exceptional or not covered by the standard licence scheme, the UDCC is open to discussion and reserves the right to negotiate different licence conditions and fees.

When do you need a UDC licence?

You do not need a licence to use UDC if:

  • you apply UDC schedule content for information and knowledge organization from a copy of a publication (printed or CD-ROM) or by accessing an authorised UDC online service
  • you manually apply the UDC (i.e. there is no use of the UDC MRF) for organizing and indexing of resources for the purpose of document/shelf arrangement, organization of information gateways and library catalogue and in information retrieval where UDC numbers may appear as a part of your document labels or resource description.
  • if you want to publish, distribute or use in any other way the 2,600 classes published in the UDC Summary.

You need a licence to:

  • publish the UDC system, either complete or any selections or parts of it, in any language, media, territory and period of time. The concept of publication, also referred to as ‘edition’, applies to any form of reproduction and distribution of UDC schedules, either for free or on a commercial basis, suitable for end-users, either professionals or open to the public.
  • use the UDC Master Reference File (MRF) data