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Faculty Services: Course Reserves & Copyright

This guide outlines library resources and services available to GGU faculty including: how to place course materials on reserve, arrange for a librarian class visit, search library resources, and much more.

Course Reserves

What are course reserves?

  • Course reserves is a service that the Business Library offers to instructors and students.
  • Instructors are invited to request textbooks and other required/supplemental readings and other materials to be placed on course reserves for the term.
  • With course reserves set up, students can conveniently access course materials either online or at the library - the mode depends on the available formats.

Course reserves is a faculty-initiated process.

  • The Business Library relies on instructors to communicate each term regarding course reserves.
  • The librarians review all course reserves requests.
  • A course reserves request of an item not owned by the library: an instructor may loan the library the text for the term, librarians may consider acquiring the item using collection development guidelines, and an article requested through InterLibrary Loan can be evaluated for use (some restrictions apply). 
  • Copyright and fair use are considerations of the course reserves process.

Course reserves are online

  • After an instructor communicates to the library, a librarian sets up a password-protected webpage for this course. This webpage will contain the list of readings and other materials.
  • Each item in the list is hyperlinked. The hyperlink location will depend on the type of items in the list: for an article the hyperlink may open in a library database or in a website; ebooks open in an ebook platform such as Safari Books Online; and for physical books the hyperlink opens in the library catalog. Course reserves may also include links to websites, video, and PDF attachments.

Course reserves at the Library = print books

These are physical books that are owned by the library or are on loan by an instructor. Typically, these books are a for 2-hour use in the library, which may be renewed. Note, these items may not be taken out of the library to an open-book exam.

Course Reserves & Copyright Guidelines for Faculty

How does it work?

Updated May 2019

Instructors are responsible for determining any fair use exceptions to copyright and to obtain any necessary permissions to use copyrighted works.

Librarians can provide guidance and resources to help instructors navigate copyright.

To evaluate fair use of materials for teaching and course reserves use a Fair Use Checklist.

Course reserves requests require careful consideration in regards to copyright and fair use. Materials are evaluated on an individual bases. While some items will be straightforward determinations of fair use, other items will require a more thorough analysis. The considerations can be complex, such as, the repeated or long-term use of a particular work can be considered unfavorable in terms of a fair use evaluation.

The library cannot provide course reserve materials if the nature, scope, or extent of the materials exceeds reasonable limits of copyright law and fair use. Course reserves are ideal for linking to articles, ebooks, videos that are available via the library databases.

For material that does not meet fair use guidelines, instructors must obtain permission to use the copyrighted work directly from the copyright owner or through a third-party service such as the Copyright Clearance Center. Instructors may also consider assembling a "reader" or "course pack." See General Course Reserves Guidelines #10.

Course Reserves Guidelines

1. How do I request items to be placed in course reserves?

  • Course reserves are instructor initiated. Therefore, you are responsible for requesting the set up of course reserves each term.
  • Archives of course reserves from past terms are maintained for two years.
  • Email your request to:
  • Required information:  term, course name, course number, and instructor’s full name.
  • Include full citations for items requested: title, author, publication year, edition, article and journal title, volume/issue.  

2. Are there timelines and due dates?

  • Do you want the course materials available for the first week of class? Email your list three weeks prior the start of term or earlier 
  • Course reserve requests and edits are accepted at any time.
  • You may request course reserves to be set up a full term in advance.

3. What is the best way to direct my students to course reserves?

  • Best practices - direct students to the library homepage.
  • Sharing the the direct URL is not recommended. The URL to a course reserves webpage changes every term.
  • Here is a communication template for your syllabus and eLearning: 
  1. Go to the Business Library homepage.
  2. Right-side menu. Click: Find Course Reserves
  3. In the search box type the course code or instructor’s name
  4. Click the correct section
  5. The term password for course reserves: GGU2019
    Contact the Business Library for help with course reserves and for research assistance. Drop-in or set up an appointment (in person, phone, online).  Information Desk: (415) 442-7242

4. What can be placed in course reserves?

  • Journal articles may be posted online to course reserves - with exception of Harvard Business Review (see #4). Linking to articles from the Business Library’s subscription databases is ideal, rather than uploading PDFs.
  • Textbooks, books and other materials purchased by the library, or an instructor’s personal copy, may be placed in course reserves for the current term. These physical items are available for in library use - typically, 2-hour loan periods and may be renewed for more time.
  • Scanned sections or chapters. To comply with Fair Use, there are restrictions when scanning material for course reserves. Consider these guidelines:  
    • Typically, one chapter - cannot exceed 10% of the book.
    • Workbook pages may not be scanned.

Remember – these are guidelines, not law, and other considerations may apply. Generally, the larger the amount scanned, the less likely that it is fair use.

  • Video and websites can have links within course reserves. 
  • Lawfully obtained copies possessed by the faculty, library, or another unit of the educational institution may be posted in course reserves. These may include public domain documents or class notes.

*** Materials posted in course reserves in the form of copies (PDFs, WORD docs, etc.) should only remain in the course for the length of time needed to serve a particular assignment or other course objective. These items should not remain in the course permanently.

5. What cannot be placed on course reserves?

  • Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles may not be posted or linked to directly from Course Reserves.
  • Harvard Business Publishing imposes these copyright restrictions.
  • The library provides a research guide designed to help students locate HBR articles the database Business Source Complete - a link is added to course reserves to facilitate the search process. For articles and case studies not available via Business Source Complete, you can set up HBR Coursepacks. At GGU, HBR coursepacks are administered by Ageno School of Business, not the Business Library. Watch a short video explaining the ins-and-outs of using HBR materials: HBR Tutorial for Faculty. For more information, click the tab HBR Case Studies and Articles.
  • Review copies of textbooks may not be placed on reserve due to copyright restrictions unless written permission is granted by the publisher.
  • Workbooks and other consumables - materials meant for individual one-time use may not be placed on reserve or copied and posted digitally.

6. Can articles obtained through interlibrary loan be placed in course reserves?

  • Articles obtained through interlibrary loan may be placed on reserve; however, these items are likely to be copyrighted works and require fair use analysis. Use the Fair Use Checklist.
  • Interlibrary loan articles placed in course reserves in PDF or other electronic file format must remain in course reserves only for the duration of its need in that course. Repeated or long-term use of a copyrighted work poses an infringement risk.

7. Linking to articles or placing copies (PDFs) in course reserves, which better-adheres to copyright?

  • Best practice: link to items whenever possible, rather than uploading PDFs. 

8. How do I determine when I need to obtain permission and when a Fair Use exception applies? 

  • Evaluate the materials. Refer to The Campus Guide to Copyright and the Fair Use Checklist.
  • Use a Fair Use Checklist to make a determination.
  • Good Faith. In doing the Fair Use analysis and retaining your notes, you will have evidence of your good faith intent to use the copyrighted material appropriately.
  • If you do the analysis and determine that it weighs against Fair Use, do not submit the item for course reserves.
  • Obtain permission. The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) at is the first place to check for information on permissions and licensing. The CCC facilitates copyright compliance by providing one-stop-shopping for those seeking permissions to use materials. See #10 for other options.

9. How can I effectively adhere to copyright?

  • Follow the guidelines in this document. It is important to follow best practices and to document a good faith effort to conform to copyright law when utilizing any Fair Use exceptions. It is in the interest of the entire academic community that we all observe these best practices.  
  • Fair Use Documentation. When utilizing a Fair Use exception to copyright, it is recommended that you document your good faith effort by conducting a Fair Use analysis and saving the notes as a record of your effort to conform to copyright restrictions. We encourage you to use a Fair Use Checklist.
  • Discuss questions or concerns with librarians or the library director. Send your question to

10. Should I create a reader or use course reserves?

  • First, consult with a librarian to learn if the items are freely available via the library databases.
  • If you are using chapters and articles that require copyright permission, then you likely need to create a reader or course pack.
  • Typically, these types of readers are sold to the students and the cost covers the fees for the copyright permissions, but not always. Talk with your department head.
  • GGU's Book Store offers a service to instructors: secures the necessary permissions, assembles the reader and sells it to students. Contact the GGU Book Store manager for more information.  
  • Harvard Business Publishing Education has a "coursepack" that is assembled, accessed, and for paid online. The HBR coursepacks are administered through the Ageno School of Business, not the library. 
  • Best Alternative: Use the library ebooks and articles, and try Open Source and Open Educational Resources. Ask the librarians for help. 

Copyright, Fair Use & Permission

Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use.  Section 107 calls for consideration of the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:

Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

Nature of the copyrighted work

Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole:

Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

In addition to the above, other factors may also be considered by a court in weighing a fair use question, depending upon the circumstances. Read more...