Electronic Reserve Service Guidelines

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Purpose and Access

Through its electronic reserve (eReserve) service, Northwestern University Library provides access to course materials in support of the University's academic and teaching mission. Access to eReserve is provided to enrolled students in each specific class primarily through Blackboard. Resources are available one for the academic quarter of the course.

Several types of course materials can be requested for eReserve, including book excerpts and journal articles. Exams, class notes, and other unpublished original works created by the requesting faculty member are also candidates for eReserve.

The University Library's guidelines for providing access to copyright-protected materials, through its eReserve service are derived from the fair use provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17 of the United States Code). Section 107 of the Copyright Act expressly permits fair use of copyrighted materials for teaching, scholarship, and research. Such educational copying does not require the payment of a royalty or the permission of the copyright owners, provided that the circumstances of the use are fair as determined by a consideration of four factors specified in Section 107:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potenital market for or value of the copyrighted work.

For each item requested to be made available, Reserve staff will make a case-by-case assessment, but for efficiency will follow the general guidelines set forth below.

General Guidelines

When scanning excerpts of a book for courses through its eReserve service, the Library's reserve staff will limit the portion of any single book scanned and made available to a chapter or two, but no more than 15% of an entire book.

Reserve staff will scan and make available a single article from a particular issue of a periodical (e.g., journal or newspaper).

For instructors who seek to use an item that does not meet the general guidelines stated above, Reserve staff will seek permission from the appropriate copyright holder or agent (such as the Copyright Clearance Center) and pay any associated fees, if reasonable.

Any item in the public doman can be scanned in its entirety for eReserve upon request.

For library-licensed resources, unless expressly contractually forbidden, a stable or durable link to an electronic item will be used for access to eReserve materials.

For library-licenses resources that do not provide DOI, stable or durable URLs and other like technical capabilities and do not contracutally forbid eReserve use, Reserve staff will convert the electronic item to a PDF and post it for class access.


Requesting Items

Request eReserve items through the Course Reserves tool under Library Resources in Blackboard/CMS course sites. Course Reserves Help can help you get started.

Please provide full citations for all items submitted, including the source (book or journal).

To guarantee timely processing of items, please submit item requests at least three weeks before the needed date. Processing materials (and obtaining copyright clearance, if applicable) may take a considerable amount of time. 

Specify the dates by which each item should be available to your students. Please note that we cannot process all your course readings at the beginning of term. Three week lead time is best.

Please indicate if a document has been used in Electronic Reserve during a past quarter, as archive files can be reactivated.

All eReserve documents will be automatically deactivated  at the end of the term.

Access to eReserve

Access eReserve through the Course Reserves tool under Library Resources which is found in your Blackboard/CMS course site.  Reserve is NOT responsible for the construction or support of Blackboard pages; technical support for Blackboard/CMS is handled through Academic & Resarch Technologies (467-7046).