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SU Libraries Course Reserves

Faculty FAQ



What are "Course Reserves" at SU Libraries?

Course Reserves are resources that professors ask the library to set aside or manage so that they can be fairly accessed by all students in a certain course. They may be required readings, recommended sources for writing papers, DVDs, or textbooks. They can be library-owned, or personal items that you donate or loan to the library. Course Reserves staff are part of the Access Services team of SU Libraries -- we manage the reserves collection, and offer copyright assessment to help faculty.

The physical Course Reserve collection: Having material stored at the library on course reserve allows your students shared access to items they need for your course, but might not be able to purchase individually. We place these items on shelves behind the library service desk, and your students can request items by providing us with your name, course, or the title. Print material is loaned for 2-hour in-library use, and DVDs for 3-hour in-library use. (Since multiple students rely upon reserves, these conditions are needed to reduce risk of damage, loss, and hoarding!) Please use this online system to request items for your course reserves. (To begin, click here: Submit Request.)

Assisting faculty with Copyright questions associated with course materials: For electronic items (ie., online material/files you share with students on MyClasses), our course reserve system allows you to efficiently request help from library staff to make sure you are complying with United States copyright law, by submitting bibliographic records and enrollment data. We can help you make "Fair Use" determinations on readings that you post on Canvas/MyClasses. Due to the complex nature of the law and the fees that can be associated with using items, the SU Libraries will assess any materials that you ask us to (articles, book chapters, etc.) and if needed, we will request approval from the rights holder on your behalf, and make sure that any required copyright fees, if reasonable, are paid.

You as a professor are personally responsible for making sure you are abiding by copyright law in good faith when you post material on MyClasses. If you are unsure, we are here: just submit a course reserve request and we will offer assistance.

What, or how much, can I post on MyClasses/Canvas?

It is OK to post open-access articles, freely-available web-based material, your own unpublished items, or links to material in SU-subscribed library databases (including films available for streaming). You do not need to notify the library staff or request permission for these uses on your MyClasses pages. We have already paid dearly for access to thousands of journal articles, films, and more -- we are thrilled when you can use them in your teaching!

For sources that are NOT included in our databases, "Fair Use" provisions usually allow you to share one article per journal issue, and one chapter per book (or less than 10-15% of the total material). There are many caveats however -- for details and guidance, please see SU's Library Guide to Copyright for Faculty. If material you want to use is NOT considered Fair Use, you always have the option of putting the original on reserve in the library. In some cases, we might be able to obtain copyright clearance to post material by paying a fee ("pay-per-use") to the publisher. If you are unsure of whether your usage meets "Fair Use" guidelines, go ahead and submit a Course Reserves request. Library staff will review the usage, assess copyright restrictions, and get back to you with your options -- we might be able to apply for permissions and process payments of reasonable fees.

What if I want to post material in EXCESS of what is considered allowable by "Fair Use"?

If your item is not open-access or is not included in an SU-subscribed database, and its usage is in excess of that covered under the Fair Use provision of Copyright guidelines, you have 3 options:

1.) Don't use it -- find an alternative free resource. Your Librarian Liaisons are eager to help you locate OERs (open educational resources).

2.) Place a physical copy of the material on Reserve at the library. It can be a book, or your legally-obtained paper copy. Students can check out the material, and scan parts of it as needed for their personal use on one of the 6 scanners at the library, and then even print out 300 pages per week (included in tuition/fees).

3.) Ask the rights-holder directly for permission. You can use the library reserve request process to have us investigate -- we will attempt to locate the rightsholder and apply for permissions on your behalf. Click on "request item" on the Reserves homepage under the "Faculty" column. Fill in bibliographic fields including the pages you wish to share, and data on your course, such as the number of students who will need access. If the publisher agrees to permit posting the material on a "pay-per-use" basis, and the library agrees to the fees, faculty can make the digital material accessible to their students (put it on MyClasses). These requirements must be met:

* Access is restricted to students registered for the course (Canvas login takes care of this requirement)

* The complete bibliographic information is displayed, or attached to the file (Be sure the document/scan, or your syllabus/assignment in Canvas, includes the citation giving credit to the source.)

* Payments must be made PER TERM (one payment does not give you the right to keep the material posted indefinitely)!

For details, please see our Faculty Guide to Copyright issues! Library Guide to Copyright for Faculty

I want to put a book on reserve for my students. How do I start?
First, look up the book in our library catalog. If we DO own the book, go ahead and use this system to make the request. (Submit Request) Staff will pull the book from the stacks, or recall the book if someone currently has it checked out. If the library does NOT own the book, there are two options. 1) You can put your own copy on reserve (or an extra copy that your department has). 2) The library MIGHT be able to purchase the book for our permanent collection. Be aware that his process could take a few weeks, or more. You will need to contact your Library Liaison (Librarian assigned to your department) as soon as possible if you want to pursue this possibility.
How do I request a course reserve?

To submit a request for an item that you have never had on reserve before, click the "Request Item" button in the Faculty menu on the course reserves homepage (or click here: Submit Request).

To re-request an item that is currently on reserve, or that has been on reserve for you in the past, click the "Faculty Login" button on the course reserves homepage. Once you log in, you will see a list of all the items you have requested in the past, and you can re-request an item from there without having to re-enter the item's detailed information.

What about Textbooks?

Unfortunately, the library does not have the resources needed to purchase every book that our faculty assign as required texts for courses. In order to relieve some of the financial burden on students, we have established the Textbooks on Reserve Program. We have purchased copies of the textbooks of some courses to keep on Reserve behind the Library Service Desk. Students can check these out for 2-hour periods of in-library use. The Dean selects the textbooks to purchase based on course enrollment, with weight given to those courses with high withdraw/failure rates. In addition, we are happy to place "donated" textbooks on reserve for your students! If you have an extra copy or can obtain one through your department, please loan it to us.

Over half of our Textbooks on Reserve are faculty donations or personal copies on loan to us.

What is "Digital Lending," and how can the library do it?
During Covid-closures when physical reserves were suspended, we experimented with Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) to make some reserves available online. This practice theoretically permits libraries to "loan out" a scan (that we make in-house, of our legally-owned physical library book) IN PLACE of our physical copy, while still adhering to copyright guidelines. (It is not the same as when libraries circulate e-books, which we must continually pay for access to on behalf of our students.) CDL loans must be controlled in such a way that the digital loan replicates the physical library loan. We can only have one digital copy available per each physical copy that we set aside and do NOT check out; we have to set limited loan periods in line with the typical loan periods of the books (2 hours); and we must ensure that reproduction, downloading, and printing of the scan is blocked. This means that only one student will be able to access each digital book at a time, and usage will be limited in the above ways, so it will be preferable to use MyClasses to share fair-use amounts of texts, if that can meet your needs.
How do students access "digital course reserves"?
During the 2020-2021 school year, we digitized some of our most popular course reserves. You can check out these digital book scans for two-hour loans, 24/7, from the Library Course Reserves web site. Because of copyright restrictions, only one person can access the online book at a time, and sharing/printing/downloading is disabled. In spite of the limitations, we hope that this service can make these textbooks more accessible. To see if an item is available to check out digitally, look up your item in this system and look to the right for its location -- it will be a shelf location for a physical reserve, and a "Check out" link if it is available digitally. Click that, and follow the prompts!
How do I know if I need to "involve the library" before posting digital material on Canvas/MyClasses?
If you are sure that the material you are posting falls under "Fair Use," or it is freely available online or is already covered by an SU Libraries database subscription, there is no need to contact us. If you aren't sure if your material use is "Fair Use," and want our guidance, we can help you determine that, and even can pay some fees if that is necessary and reasonable. The final responsibility for following Copyright laws in good faith rests upon you as a faculty member.

If you are examining whether your intended use is "Fair Use," you can start by taking this short questionnaire to find out.

Do I need to submit a Course Reserve request for every article or reading I post on Canvas?

In general, if you submit reserve requests for any articles or book chapters you intend to post on Canvas that MIGHT need copyright clearance, we can ensure that all copyright requirements are taken care of. The library will handle contacting the necessary organizations to determine the required copyright fees, and we will pay any reasonable fees associated with your items.

For more details see Library Guide to Copyright for Faculty.

What about posting articles found in SU databases? (Posting Links vs. PDFs in Canvas)

It is always preferable to post the LINKS that take the students to articles through our databases, instead of the PDFs. This benefits both the library and the faculty -- each viewing of the article is documented as usage, so that we can continue to justify paying for the databases that are being used.

The link from your Canvas page can take the students straight to the database's article record -- from here, students click on the PDF or full-text html version of the article. Permalinks are easily visible and available to copy/paste in most of our databases.

How do I see my pending requests, access my course reserve history, and re-request items I have used before?

You can see your pending requests by clicking the Faculty Login link on the course reserves home page. Enter your email address, and you will instantly be sent a temporary login URL, which will work for the next 15 minutes to get you in to the system. (You will need to request and use a new, unique URL each time you want to log in -- this process frees us from needing to create/manage personal passwords.) Clicking the URL from your email will take you to a page where you can see your pending requests, as well as all of the items that you have already had on reserve in the past. From this page, your "faculty page," you can easily see the titles (with years and editions) you have used, terms they have been active, and which items are still physically here on our shelves. Also, you can go down the list and click on any items that you want to RE-request for the upcoming term (without having to submit the citation information again).

How do students get to their electronic reserves?

They must log in to Canvas, and go to their MyClasses course page, to access all digital materials (including COPYRIGHT-PROTECTED e-reserves).

Ebooks or articles that are in SU-licensed databases can be accessed through links going through the online SU library page (not the databases directly!) -- faculty should post these links in their MyClasses pages, so that students can efficiently get to all of their readings from one place.

How do I get access to the books my professor has on reserve?

Just come up to the Library Service Desk, and tell a staff person that you would like to check out a Course Reserve. If you can provide the Shelf Name/Number of the item you want (for example, "Smith #10"), the staff person can quickly retrieve the item from the back and check it out to you. You can find this "location" information in our searchable Reserves catalog, to the right of the item's title.

We can also assist you when you come up to the desk with looking up the item in our Course Reserves system catalog on a service desk computer -- you will need to know the item's title, your professor's name, or your course number.

You must have your Gull Card (or the SU Gull Card Barcode app) to check out anything at the library.

What if my professor has a DVD on reserve?

Usually DVDs being used in courses have a 3-Hour checkout period, and can NOT be taken out of the building. When you check out the DVD, you can also check out an external DVD player and headphones, and watch the film on any computer in the GAC. Check out a laptop and find a comfortable couch or chair in the library, or watch the film on one the large screens in a reservable study room. You should also check for yourself to see if the film is currently available available to stream online, or through one of our film databases, Kanopy or Swank.

Last term some of my reserves were digitized -- are they still accessible?
Yes, we are keeping all digital reserves open until faculty let us know otherwise. If we have one physical copy here on reserve at the library, we can have the digital version available to circulate if and only if the physical copy is sequestered. By default we will keep the digital version active because students can access the material 24/7 and have expressed preference for that option. Faculty, if you would rather have the physical copy used by your students instead of the digital, please contact us. If multiple copies are on reserve, you may choose a combination of digital and physical. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff power to digitize any additional printed material at this time. However, if you can supply us with a PDF, we will be happy to load it into our system and offer online checkouts -- but keep in mind that we will have to keep a physical copy sequestered "on reserve" at the library to do so!