Adams State University
Nielsen Library

Reserves: Copyright & eReserves

Copyright & eReserves

Question: if the library can mass digitize large quantities of textbook chapters, why can't we extend this service to include greater numbers of expensive textbooks?

Answer: Copyright Law.

For more information about copyright, contact Amanda Langdon ( or Tyler Eagan (

Nielsen Library has stretched the boundaries of legal copyright under every exemption possible, including Section 107 (Fair Use), Section 108 (Library exemptions), and the TEACH Act (digital/online provision of materials, namely 'locking' material behind logins through Blackboard and LibApps). Honestly, we have twisted Copyright Law into a pretzel during Covid, and what we've done is of questionable legality; however, we're taking the risk because of "unprecedented" circumstances. This cannot continue long term. 

Course Reserves are a money-saving stop-gap to help students who are unable to afford expensive materials, but there are limitations. Frequently, there is only one copy of each text available. Students may have to wait for items. Distance or commuting students may not be able to easily access the library; the same is true of students with multiple jobs. 

A more permanent solution is OER -- Open Educational Resources -- Openly Licensed material without the limitations of traditionally-published digital textbooks. Most digital textbooks contain DRM (Digital Rights Management) software, which prohibits downloads and printing. This ensures that students cannot share material, but it also further excludes students who do not have reliable internet or a tech device to access online materials. (12% of ASU students, as of Fall 2019) OER can be printed or saved as PDFs for offline reading.

The library has a Research Guide dedicated to OER for more information.

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