Skip to Main Content

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 Overview & Policy

Course Reserves Overview
  • Course Reserves are collections of password-protected readings related to a particular course.
  • These collections are made available, subject to copyright restrictions, for an academic term.
  • Content typically includes Articles & E-Books available via the library's completely virtual collections, but externally-available, copyright-compliant, resources are also linked to where approriate.
Course Reserves set-up is an Instructor-initiated process
  • The Business Library relies on instructors to communicate in advance of each term regarding course reserves requests.
  • All Course Reserves requests should be sent to
  • Library staff review requests to determine whether content is available and to ensure adherence to copyright norms.
Course Reserves are Digital Only
  • After an instructor submits a request to the library, a password-protected webpage for the designated course is set-up or updated depending on the need.
  • The resulting Course Reserve will contain the list of requested readings assuming they were available and conform to copyright restrictions.
  • Each item in the Course Reserve collection is linked. The link location will depend on the type of items in the list:
    • An article link may open in a library database or in a website.
    • E-Book links open in an E-Book platform such as O'Reilly Books Online, EBSCO eBook Collection, or ProQuest Ebook Central.
    • Course reserves may also occasionally include links to video and other digitally-available content.
  • Access to any available content takes place via an authentication process restricted to those currently-affiliated with the university.

Course Reserves Policy

  • The library is receptive to all instructor requests to add content to course reserves.
  • PDFs of articles are discouraged due to the risk of copyright violations.
  • In extremely limited situations some PDF availability may exist for scanned parts of print books within generally accepted norms:
    • 10% or 1 chapter is a generally accepted guideline, but even these amounts need to be examined carefully to ensure adherence to copyright restrictions. 
  • Linking to articles and other content through library databases is the preferred method as it ensures compliance with copyright norms.
  • If an option for linking to a resources via library databases or elsewhere is not available and the Instructor still wants to use a PDF they are encouraged to do a obtain copyright permission from the author or to do a Fair Use Exception to Copyright analysis (see: Fair Use Checklist) and/or consider making the PDF available via the eLearning course platform (see detailed information below).

Course Reserves & Copyright Guidelines for Faculty

How does it work?

Instructors are responsible for determining any fair use exceptions to copyright and to obtain any necessary permissions to use copyrighted works.  Items within the Business Library's databases are available for use in Course e-reserves without any additional steps for clearance.

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

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

Course reserves requests require careful consideration with regard to copyright and fair use. Materials are evaluated on an individual basis. While some items will be straightforward determinations of fair use, other items will require a more thorough analysis. The considerations can be complex. For example: the repeated or long-term use of a particular work is discouraged as this kind of use can run afoul of copyright norms even when the initial short-term use may have been acceptable. 

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. The good news is Course Reserves are ideal for linking to articles, ebooks, videos that are available via the library databases.

For material that is not in the Library's databases and/or 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 e-reserves?

  • Course Reserves are instructor initiated. The Instructor is responsible for requesting the set up of course e-reserves each term
  • Archives of course e-reserves are maintained for two years
  • Email requests 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?

  • Please send requests prior the start of term to 
  • Course reserve requests and edits are accepted at any time

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

  • Direct students to the library homepage. The Search Course Reserves tool is on the right side.
  • Sharing the the direct class Course Reserve URL is not recommended as it changes every term
  • Here is a communication template for your syllabus and eLearning: 
  1. Go to the Business Library homepage.
  2. Click: Search Course Reserves (right side)
  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 changes each year, but is available via a link in all syllabi. If not, contact

4. What can be placed in course e-reserves?

  • Journal articles may be linked through course reserves - with exception of Harvard Business Review (see #4). Uploading PDFs is not permissible as it risks copyright problems.
    • You may use HBR articles for your class, but we cannot link to them in course e-reserves due to contractual restrictions from Harvard.
  • Scanned sections or chapters (to be supplied by instructor). To comply with Fair Use, there are restrictions when scanning material for course reserves. Consider these guidelines:  
    • Typically, one chapter or 10% of the book whichever is less.
    • 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 fair use applies.

  • Videos and websites can be linked 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.

*** In the limited situations in which materials are scanned and posted in course reserves (PDFs, WORD docs, etc.) they should only remain there for the length of time needed to serve a particular assignment or other course objective. These items should not remain in the course permanently as this risks copyright infringement.

5. What cannot be placed on course e-reserves?

  • Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles may not be posted or linked to directly from Course e-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 Course packs. At GGU, HBR course packs are administered by the individual schools, 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 electronic 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 e-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 e-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 e-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 Course Pack or use course e-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 that 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 "course pack" that is assembled, accessed, and for paid online. The HBR course packs are administered through the Schools, 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...