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Course Reserves: Information for Faculty

Important Copyright Information for Course Reserves

Important Copyright Information for Course Reserves

As part of Yale‘s effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Library is fulfilling scanning requests as part of a legitimate response to a public health emergency such as this one. If your request is for course materials that will be used by students needing accommodation for print disabilities, please submit that request here and we will work with Student Accessibility Services to deliver an appropriately formatted version.  If you do not have students needing accommodation and you have determined the use to favor fair use under U.S. copyright law, you may upload this material yourself and share it with your class through the university’s Canvas learning management portal.  If you need the Library to scan this material, please submit your request through Canvas for assistance.

Note, however, that we must still ensure that our scanning is feasible, permissible and reasonable in relation to these extraordinary circumstances. Please only request materials where an electronic copy is not available from the Library (and note that the Library may be able to purchase electronic access if it does not currently offer the resource). Please also limit your request to the portions of a given work that are needed for full participation in the course for the duration of the limited student access and/or student dislocation. Scans made during this time may include a special cover page with important copyright information; please include the cover page when you share the scan with students. Please only distribute these scans to students using your course site on Canvas to ensure that access is limited only to those enrolled in the course. 

Course Reserves Policy & Guidelines

Course Reserves Policy & Guidelines

Yale University supports teaching with electronic course reserves and similar analog and digital services. The primary function of these services is to ensure that students and instructors will have timely access to course-related library resources.

Course Reserves

Course Reserves are short-term loans of print materials, videos, audiotapes, and other materials that an instructor requires for the teaching of a current course. An instructor submits a request to the library to place these materials on reserve at a library facility. At the end of each semester, library staff remove these items from reserve, re-shelve them, or return them to the instructor.

The library can only reserve materials that are a part of the library’s collection or belong to a course instructor or corresponding university department. The library cannot put materials from non-Yale libraries on reserve. If we do not own the requested materials, the library can attempt to purchase them.


Electronic reserve materials, or eReserves, are short-term “loans” of digital materials that an instructor requires for the teaching of a current course. An instructor submits a request to the library to place these materials on a course-specific eReserves web page. At the end of each semester, library staff remove these items from eReserves. eReserves may only be used in compliance with copyright law.

All course pages containing eReserves material are CAS-authenticated and require a Yale NetID and password.  Access to an eReserves course web page is restricted to:

  • Yale University students currently enrolled in the course
  • Instructors for the course
  • Authorized course auditors

Yale University Library is committed to complying with all applicable intellectual property laws and expects instructors to respect copyright. It is the responsibility of the instructors to determine if the material placed on eReserves complies with copyright law.

All materials placed on eReserves must be lawfully owned or licensed by either the library, the course instructor, or the corresponding university department. Materials from non-Yale libraries – including Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan items - may not be placed on eReserves. Additionally, custom course packs are licensed only for individual student use and cannot be included in eReserves holdings.

The library will provide links to library-licensed content on behalf of instructors. In the event no licensed content is available, instructors are responsible for evaluating, on a case-by-case basis, whether the use of a copyrighted work submitted for eReserves requires permission from the copyright holder, is in the public domain, or qualifies as a “fair use” under copyright law.

Roles and Responsibilities

Instructors will

  • Determine if the item is in the public domain
    • Books published in the U.S. prior to 1924 and U.S. federal government documents generally fall into this category
    • Some items released under a Creative Commons license may permit course use – you must read the license to determine if electronic reserve is a permitted use; or
  • Have already received permission from the copyright holder; or
  • Claim copyright ownership to the materials; or
  • Complete a fair use evaluation
    • Use fair use tools to help you determine if the use of the item for the course is considered “fair use” under copyright law
    • Instructors should review and comply with the Terms of Use and Tips & Good Practices for use of Canvas
    • Instructors should also review the Rights Clearance Guide for Digital Projects. The Guide provides information designed to assist members of the Yale community in understanding the legal issues that may arise in the context of disseminating digital content
    • Instructors must print and save a copy of the completed evaluation for their records

Permission to use the item must be secured if none of the above options apply to your request. The library will assist with seeking permissions through the Copyright Clearance Center. Contact your local reserves unit if you need assistance.

Library staff will

  • Check to see if the library licenses the resource
  • Seek the necessary permissions through the Copyright Clearance Center for any items that instructors determine are not covered by the copyright statement categories
  • Assist and answer questions about eReserves

Contact your local reserves unit if you need assistance.

Getting Started with Course Reserves

How to submit Course Reserves requests:

For step by step instructions on how to submit Course Reserve requests via Canvas, follow this guide: Using Canvas for Reserves

Check the Library for Your Course Materials

  • Check to see if the Library owns a physical copy of the material you would like to place on Reserve
    • Search for Books, DVDs, and other items through the online catalog
  • Check to see if the Library licenses a resource that provides an electronic version of the material you wish to use for eReserve.

Get Started

To submit your course reserves, go to Canvas.

Contact Reserves Staff

For specific Yale course reserves:

Arts Library
Phone: 203-432-2643

Bass Library
Phone: 203-432-1872

Marx Library
Phone: 203-432-3439

Divinity Library
Phone: 203-432-5288

Yale Film Archive
Phone: 203-432-0149

Medical Library

Music Library 
Phone: 203-432-5549

Get Help

Help is available Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Emal Email:

Call Call: (203) 432-1775

SMS text Text: (203) 826-2053

Chat with us!

Warning of Copyright Restrictions


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of the copyright materials. Under certain conditions specified in the law, library and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than in private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The Yale University Library reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order, if, in its judgement fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

1 37 C.F.R. §201.14