Library Services and Resources for Faculty

Course Materials for Fall 2020

Preparing to offer course materials online

Because the pandemic will limit our capacity to offer physical course reserves, we encourage faculty to use digital course materials wherever possible.

To provide equitable access to course materials, we encourage faculty to use open access or library-licensed course materials whenever possible. Instructors should use Blackboard or the library's e-reserve system to make materials available to students.

Please note that most textbooks are often unavailable for library licensing, and present unique challenges for electronic access and affordability.

There are several ways you can find, request, and access digital resources for your courses — and we’re here to help.

Finding electronic materials

Search the library resources to find digital versions of books, articles, films, and other media.

There is currently expanded access to items in the HathiTrust Digital Library.

To ensure compliance with copyright law and licensing agreements, please link to content from your Blackboard site, rather than uploading PDFs downloaded from databases. (And make sure your links are persistent and proxied, so they work seamlessly for your students).

  • We have partnered with OEL on a workshop entitled "Adding Library Materials to Your Blackboard Course." Please see the OEL website for upcoming dates.

Feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Contact your liaison librarian to learn about electronic resources in your discipline.

For materials we don’t have electronically

If you need materials the library does not appear to hold electronically, we can:

  • Verify whether the library has access
  • Possibly purchase electronic versions of materials
  • Scan or digitize selections for use in Blackboard (this service will be completed mainly by Document Delivery in Ann Arbor). 

How to request materials

Complete this request form as soon as possible.

We will work on requests in the order they are received and acknowledge receipt of your request within two working days. We may contact you to discuss your request if copyright or other constraints affect what we can purchase or digitize.

If you know you need one of the following formats, you can place requests directly:

  • For articles unavailable through library subscriptions and scans of book chapters, please place a scan request through Document Delivery's ILLiad system.
  • For help with film and video, contact Matt Wolverton.

Message adapted from UM-Ann Arbor library's website: https://www.lib.umich.edu/about-us/access-during-covid-19/course-materials-support.

Copyright Information & Fair Use

While providing course reserves, the library complies with copyright law. For more information about the copyright at the University of Michigan please see the following resources from the UM-AA Copyright Office.


Fair Use

Fair use is a limitation on the rights of the copyright holder that allows others to use portions of a copyrighted work or the whole work without permission from the holder (Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act). It is determined by a balanced application of the four factors set forth in the statute:

  1. Purpose of the use
  2. Nature of the copyrighted work
  3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The library also consults the Association of Research Libraries Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (2012).

Instructors who want to use copyrighted material as additional reading or viewing material, should determine whether their use is fair before posting uploading items to their online courses or submitting additional readings for course reserve. Not all educational use is fair use.

The library has created a Fair Use Checklist to help faculty work through their use of copyrighted works. All materials submitted for library course reserves, especially e-reserves,  will be assessed for Fair Use.

Additional information can be found through the UM-AA Copyright Office. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Liz Svoboda, Head of Circulation, at esvoboda@umich.edu.

Creating Persistent Links to Library Content

To comply with copyright law and licensing agreements it is better to link to library content in your Blackboard courses instead of uploading PDFs downloaded from databases.

To ensure that links to library resources will work for any UM-Flint affiliate whether they are on campus or not, they need to be persistent and proxied.

Persistent - The URLs that appear in the address bar of library resources are often session-specific, meaning they will expire. Persistent, or stable, links should be used instead.

Proxied - Links that include the library’s proxy server prefix or infix allow off-campus users to login and be recognized as affiliated with UM-Flint and entitled to access the content.

Finding a Persistent Link

Many resources provide an option to copy and paste a persistent link but they are sometimes tricky to find since the term used and the location for doing so can vary depending on which resource you are using. Some common terms to look for include:

  • Permalink
  • Bookmark
  • Jumpstart
  • Document URL
  • Stable URL
  • DOI

Once you have found the persistent URL, make sure it includes either the proxy server prefix http://libproxy.umflint.edu/login?url= or that the infix libproxy.umflint.edu is included in the middle of the URL.

Some resources automatically include the proxy server prefix or infix but, if they don’t, it can be added manually to the beginning of the persistent URL. For example:

If you need help locating or constructing links, please contact a librarian or attend our OEL-partnered workshop "Adding Library Materials to Your Blackboard Course."

What are Course Reserves?

In support of the teaching and learning mission of the library and academic institution, reserve services will be made available in compliance with US copyright law, including user rights such as the first sale doctrine and fair use.

Course reserves are textbooks and other required or supplemental materials that the library makes available to students. 

  • Physical materials can be put on reserve at the library's circulation desk with a variety of loan periods, but a 2 hour in-library period is the norm. If the library owns a copy of the book or film that can be put on reserve for the semester. If the library does not own a copy, an instructor's personal copy can be put on reserve as well.
  • Electronic copies of articles and supplemental reading can also be put in the course reserve's online catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions about Course Reserves

Who may place materials on reserve?

Only class instructors may put materials on reserve for the classes they are teaching in a given semester.

How do you place materials on reserve?

The instructor must complete a request form citing each item that is to be placed on reserve in the library. Complete the following form and submit any instructo-owned copies in person to the circulation desk. 

How many copies may be placed on reserve?

Faculty may submit multiple copies of each item for larger classes.  Please note that providing copies (duplicate folders or personal books) is the responsibility of the instructor.  The library is not able to provide photocopy service.

What may be placed on reserve?

  • Library Books (from both the Flint and Ann Arbor campuses)
  • Library Media (from the Flint campus ONLY)
  • Materials from library database subscriptions (as long as licenses allow)
  • Personal copies of books (provided they are legally obtained)
  • Personal copies of media (provided they are legally obtained)
  • Items created by the course instructor (not published), including:
    • Course syllabi
    • Lecture notes and presentations
    • Links to web sites
    • Practice exams and exercises
    • Media creations
  • Electronic copies of material evaluated for Fair Use, such as:
    • Journal or magazine articles
    • Book chapters

How long can materials be placed on reserve?

Most materials can be placed on reserve for multiple semesters if the use is deemed fair by the circulation staff. Electronic reserves will only be uploaded for the semesters in which the associated class will be taught.

Chat with a Librarian

Course Reserve Form

To put materials on reserve, either fill out the following online form or pick up a paper form at the library circulation desk.

Email any questions to Liz Svoboda (esvoboda@umich.edu), Head of Circulation.


Instructors are encouraged to apply the Fair Use Checklist to any copyrighted work they are assigning students to read, view, or listen to, outside of the assigned textbook.