Making Course Readings Available

Course readings are integral to most classes so it’s important to know how best to make them readily available for your students. This tip sheet and the supporting materials will hopefully make the process easier. It outlines the options, including the pros and cons, for the most common types of reading materials.


The simplest case is when the reading materials are entire books. For these there are two straightforward options:

  • Ask the Odyssey Bookshop in the Village Commons, to stock and sell the book to the students.  This is quite straightforward and raises no copyright concerns -- it may create a money problem for the students. It does require some leadtime in ordering. Contact the Odyssey for more information on procedure.
  • Ask LITS to put the book on physical Reserve.  For an individual book that LITS owns or can reasonably purchase (or that you provide), this is also uncomplicated and there are no copyright concerns.  Beginning Fall 2015, required readings listed in the Self Service area on will automatically be put on Reserve.  You do not need to request required readings separately for reserve.  You do need to request any recommended, optional, or supplementary readings.  This is certainly cheaper for the students, but it does limit their access as compared to each of them having a copy. And again, you need some leadtime (especially if the book is to be purchased) to allow LITS to process your request. For more information, check out How to Submit Print Reserves.

Note that except in rare circumstances, scanning whole books would be a serious copyright violation.

Articles or Chapters

For individual articles or book chapters, your options increase but so does the complexity. Although you can use the original source (e.g. the journal issue itself or the whole book), it would be much more common to scan and that’s where concerns about copyright start to come in. There are a variety of choices:

  • Consider whether the materials are already accessible electronically from online services or databases (e.g. JSTOR, PsycArticles, etc.).   For electronic books, search the library catalog.  You can then just link to the material from Moodle.  There are no copyright concerns here.
  • Request scans from LITS for electronic reserve.  LITS can scan the article or book chapter, and you can post it to Moodle. See How to Submit E-Reserves for more information on the process.  There may be copyright concerns here, but LITS can help you manage them.
  • Scan the article yourself and post it to Moodle.  On the up side, this offers full control and therefore more flexibility/spontaneity in assigning or changing readings. It also offers your students quick and easy access. You, however, are responsible for managing copyright.  Scanning a large portion of a work is problematic even if access is restricted through Moodle.  See our tip sheet on Fair Use.

If you want a large portion of a book that LITS does not own electronically, please:


Beyond an individual article or book chapter there are coursepacks. There are serious copyright concerns involved with coursepacks since they are specifically prohibited in most interpretations of Fair Use. Essentially you need to have copyright permission on each piece to compile a coursepack which adds considerably to both the time needed and the expense. Often the royalties/permission fees charged will end up doubling the cost of the coursepack. Aside from that important consideration, however, your options are similar to those for books and single articles. Note that if you place the individual readings on reserve (or E-Reserve) there are less concerns than if you want to keep the readings together as one large compiled document.