For Faculty: Placing Materials on Course Reserve

Linking To Electronic Books and Journal Articles

The best way to provide access to course readings is through a link to an electronic resource posted on the class CourseWorks or Canvas page. This provides direct access to the article or chapter desired and is explicitly allowed by Columbia's contracts with our vendors. For more information on using CourseWorks, please visit the CourseWorks@Columbia page.

Columbia University Libraries supplies a proxy service to allow off-campus access to e-resources. To enable e-resources to work properly for on- and off-campus users, instructors will need to create a proxy link. For most resources, follow these steps:

  1. In a web browser, go to the resource to be added to the course page.  Most resources allow linking at the article or chapter level.
  2. Copy the URL displayed in the address bar.
  3. Test the URL in another browser to verify that the URL is stable. If the link does not work, use this Troubleshooting Guide to assist you.
  4. Use the E-Resources Linking Tool to create a "proxied" link.
  5. Post the link returned by the linking tool on the CourseWorks or Canvas website.

If you need assistance with proxy links or have any issues with reserves, please contact the library for further assistance.

Posting Scans of Print Materials

Posting PDF scans of print materials and PDF downloads is subject to Fair Use provisions of the Copyright Act, 92 U.S.C.107.  The Copyright Advisory Office has information on their website and can provide additional guidance.

Faculty are responsible for deciding whether scans or downloaded PDFs used for course purposes comply with the requirements of fair use.

Materials used under section 107 should be posted directly to the course's CourseWorks or Canvas site. Instructors are responsible for obtaining the required PDFs.

Print and Audiovisual Reserves

The library will continue to offer reserves services for printed items and audiovisual materials. Course packs and other reproductions are acceptable only if the instructor has secured copyright clearance for the included materials for the current semester. To place items on reserve, use the Add an Item to Course Reserves form.

If the library does not own an item requested for reserves, we will review options for obtaining a copy. If a physical item is purchased, the library will only add one copy of the most recent edition.

Instructors may provide personal copies to fulfill course reserves needs. Personal copies will be returned at the end of the semester for which they were placed on reserve. Please include a print copy of the Add an Item to Course Reserves form with personal copies.


For Students: Using Course Reserves Material

Accessing Print and Audio Visual Course Reserves

Print and audio visual materials placed on reserve are held at the Information Desk and anyone with borrowing privileges to the library may check out reserve materials. Health Science Library (HSL) reserve materials must be returned to the HSL location.

You will need the call number to request use of a particular reserve item. To determine the call number search the library catalog, CLIO. If you are unfamiliar with CLIO or are having difficulty locating an item, please contact us.

Loan period

Reserve materials are checked out in two-hour increments. Patrons with borrowing privileges may take out books overnight if checked out two hours before closing and returned one hour after opening. Professor personal copies do not circulate overnight and cannot be removed from the library.


For overdue reserve materials, fines accrue hourly to a maximum of $50.00 per returned item. For items that are not returned, you will be charged overdue fines plus the cost of replacing the item and a processing fee. See the Borrowing and Fine policy for more information.


Online articles and ebooks placed on electronic reserve by an instructor can be accessed via the Course Reserves login. Faculty members may also link to e-resources in their CourseWorks or Canvas pages.

Any problems with e-reserves should be reported using the ask a question form. Please remember to include your name, UNI, instructor, course number and title of the reading in your email.