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Course Resources

About and how to use the Course Resources service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Course Resources service do?

The UC Merced Library's Course Resources service allows instructors to request supplemental materials for their courses such as book chapters, journal articles, audio, video, ebooks and books. Supplemental materials may be print or electronic and requested through the Course Resources tool in Catcourses. Print materials are held and checked out from the Library Services desk while electronic materials are accessible through the Course Resources tool in CatCourses. Video is made available through Kaltura.

What doesn't the Course Resources service do?

Course Resources doesn't:

  • digitize entire, or nearly entire books for the purpose of saving students the cost of purchasing what should be required textbooks.
  • violate copyright laws
  • pay unreasonable copyright-compliance fees

What about fair use and copyright compliance?

First of all, it is very important for instructors to understand the following:

  • Faculty can be held personally liable for egregious copyright violations
  • Publishers are actively looking for copyright violations, especially in the online realm

The intent is to keep you and the University of California out of trouble while still making information available to students.

The easiest way to avoid the entire question of fair use and copyright compliance is to take advantage of the approximately 10,000 online journals and tens of thousands of ebooks available through the UC Merced Library. We encourage faculty to explore these resources and use what is already available whenever possible.

For more information on copyright, see the UC Copyright site.

What about textbooks?

Books that are written explicitly for classroom instruction generally do not fall under fair use. Using portions of a text for a class is not transformative which does not lean toward fair use and often has detrimental impact on the rightsholder. Digitizing all or part of such books required obtaining copyright clearance and paying a permission fee. It is not the purpose of the Course Resources program to save students the cost of purchasing what should be required textbooks.

See the UC Merced Library textbook policy and the UC Copyright fair use guidelines and the Checklist for Fair Use for more details.

Shouldn't all materials used in teaching be considered "fair use"?

There are four factors used to determine if a copyrighted work can be considered "fair use":

  • Purpose and character/Nature of the use
    • Nonprofit educational purposes are more likely fair use than commercial educational purposes
    • Nature of the copyrighted work
    • Factual works more likely fair use than creative works
  • Amount and significance used relative to the entire work
    • Smaller portions more likely fair use than larger portions
  • Impact on potential market for the work
    • Little or no market impact more likely fair use than uses which interfere with potential markets

What about information resources in the public domain?

The Library can freely digitize information resources that are in the public domain. Typical examples of public-domain resources include U.S. Government publications, many state publications, and older resources for which the copyright has expired. The Library can help you determine whether or not an information resources is in the public domain.

How long does it take to fill requests?

It depends. Requests can be submitted at anytime, the sooner we receive your requests the better. Requests are processed in the order they are received. Although the UC Merced Library has excellent digitization equipment, digitization takes time. Please allow 10 business days for requests to be completed. If the Library does not own a copy of a requested item and we must obtain it through interlibrary loan or purchase the item fulfilling the request may take longer.

Can I post my syllabus in the Course Resources tool?

Yes. Instructors can upload a syllabus, lecture notes, and other original course materials.