The Catholic University of America


Course Reserves Guidelines [PDF version]

Required readings, also known as course reserves, fall into the categories described below:

Physical items owned by the University Libraries or faculty-owned items (books, DVDs, videos, CDs):

  • Course reserves are for required materials, necessary for a student to complete a course. Recommended, suggested, and supplemental readings will not be processed.
  • Physical items, including any personal copies loaned by faculty, are held at Central Reserves in Mullen Library. Students may charge them out for specific lengths of time, designated by the instructor (2 hours, overnight, 3 days, 7 days).
  • To guarantee that materials are ready for your students by the start of the upcoming semester, submit your Reserves Request form before the start of semester break. We will continue to process all requests that are received after the start of the semester break, but if our volume is high, we cannot guarantee that the requests received then will be ready for the first day of your course.
  • If you have assigned a book chapter as required reading, fill out the Reserve Request form to reflect that. Our staff will scan the chapter and send you the link to put into your Blackboard course. NOTE: It is a copyright violation to scan multiple chapters or an entire book.
  • To speed the processing of your request, provide all the details cited on the form. For books, you will include the call number, title, author, edition, volume, date and ISBN; for book chapters you will include the book title, author, edition, volume, date, chapter title, chapter author, page numbers and ISBN.
  • In case the book, DVD, video, or CD is not owned by the University Libraries when you look for it through SearchBox, contact your liaison librarian and request that he/she order it. With the exception of textbooks, the liaison librarians will order the item if there is money in the budget. New orders may take up to six weeks to process.
  • Copyright compliance requires that items be removed from Central Reserves at the end of the semester. If you plan to assign the same items for future classes you may teach, we suggest that you retain a copy of your requests for your files.
  • If you have questions about this category of required readings or course reserves, please contact the library reserves at or 202-319-5060.

Electronic reserves from e-resources to which the University Libraries subscribe (articles, e-books, streaming audio and video)

  • These articles are copyrighted, but under the provisions of “fair use” and by virtue of the fact that Blackboard is a self-contained site, you can add a direct link to an article in your Blackboard course. NOTE: You must use a properly formatted proxy link (sometimes known as a permanent, stable, persistent, durable or permalink) which is different than the URL that appears in your browser. The University Libraries’ web site includes instructions for identifying the correct link and adding it to your Blackboard course. If you have difficulty identifying the permanent link, contact your liaison librarian, who will be happy to assist.
  • Search for articles, e-books, and streaming media in SearchBox. If you do not find the item that you are seeking, contact your liaison librarian; provide a copy of your syllabus and mark the item you have been unable to locate. He/she will be able to track it down and will work with the resource sharing staff to make it available for your course. In the rare instance that the item is not located, the liaison librarian may be able to suggest an alternative resource.
  • Whenever possible, we recommend that you link directly to subscription database materials since these links can stay in your Blackboard course from one semester to the next without violating copyright. NOTE: Do not copy an article and upload it to Blackboard; if you choose to do that you are subject to violation of U.S. copyright law (title 17, US Code).

Electronic reserves from books and journals not owned by the University Libraries in electronic format, otherwise known as scanned materials:

  • If you have assigned one book chapter or no more than 10% of a book as a required course reading, we suggest that you let our staff scan the pages and send you the link to put into your Blackboard course. To make this request, fill out the Reserve Request form with an indication of the chapter or pages to be scanned. NOTE: It is a copyright violation to scan multiple chapters or an entire book.
  • Copyright compliance requires that scanned chapters be deleted from their server location at the end of the semester.


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