Answered By: abby librarian (she/her)
Last Updated: Apr 03, 2023     Views: 28

Course Reserves 

The Libraries will continue to support course reserves as much as possible, though due to increased demand the processing time may be longer than usual. Additionally, we are unable to scan physical materials for course reserve until the statewide stay-at-home order has been lifted. Faculty should submit reserve requests as soon as possible. Electronic reserves should become available in the order in which requests are received.

Please note that copyright law applies to all course reserve materials. If you want to learn more about making course materials available online, please review the Teaching Remotely: Copyright guide available via the Libraries’ website. If you need help identifying online materials to support your syllabus for spring, please reach out to your subject team for additional support.


If the item you wish to use is available online, you can link out to it from Canvas. You may wish to utilize diligent link-checking, particularly when your students will be needing to use it, to ensure that the item doesn’t disappear.

If the item is something that is part of the Western Libraries collection, it is possible to use the item in Canvas with little restrictions. It is better to link directly to the item, using the EZ Proxy prefix (EBSCO databases do not require it, use the direct link provided) before the URL of the item you wish to link to:

For example, linking to the article “Globalizations are plural” in International Sociology found at would look like this:

If you are needing to scan materials you have on hand to use, start with the first chapter as a way to prepare for the beginning of the quarter. This will fall within Fair Use (see below). Beyond that first chapter, the fair use exemption may be possible to utilize--instructors will need to use the Fair Use Checklist to determine that. Feel free to reach out to the Copyright Librarian for assistance with using the Checklist. Check out the Western Libraries Copyright page for more information:

Fair Use

The Fair Use exemption considers certain uses of copyright works to be fair uses – that is, to not be copyright infringement. Fair use applies to “purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research” (17 U.S.C. § 107).

Fair use determinations must be made for each intended use and are dependent on a balance of the Four Factors of Fair Use. These are:

  1. Purpose or character of the use

  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

  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Tools like the Fair Use Checklist, a roadmap that can help you understand the individual factors and how different uses favor or oppose fair use, the Fair Use Evaluator, which provides the opportunity to describe the use and provide context, and the Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use, which put forth standards of fair use within a discipline, are available to help with fair use determinations.

The TEACH Act?

It is not copyright infringement for teachers and students at nonprofit education institutions (such as Western) to transmit performances (music, movies, etc.) and displays (image, text, etc.) of copyrighted works as a part of a course if certain conditions are met. Further information can be found in the TEACH Act Toolkit. Feel free to reach out to the Copyright Librarian for assistance with using the TEACH Act.

Open Education Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching materials that are openly licensed with a Creative Commons license or materials that already exist in the public domain. Open educational resources are free to students and faculty and do not infringe on copyright laws. That means if you find an OER textbook you want to use, you can attach the whole thing to your CANVAS site without worrying about copyright!

Most OER are digital resources that can be found in a variety of websites online. Check out WWU’s Teaching Handbook “finding” page for places to search for OER. OER are typically organized by subject and by kind of material (digital textbook, journal article, data set, etc.). If you want to get started looking for OER textbooks, we recommend looking at OpenStax or the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library.

Feel free to reach out to the Scholarly Communications Librarian or the Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment for assistance.

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