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Using Library Resources in Online/Distance Classes: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


Question:  What is the best way to share articles found in the library databases with my online students?  Can I upload these directly to Canvas?

Answer:  The library recommends the use of permalinks. A permalink is a permanent URL, a web address that will consistently link to a specific online information resource such as an article, book chapter, e-book, allowing a reader to go directly to the linked resource. The library has created a permalink generator which will help you to create permalinks that will reliably link off-campus users to our licensed content.  Using permalinks also helps the library track the use of journal articles.


Question: Are there times when using a permalink is not appropriate?

Answer:  There may be instances when a copyright holder does not want you to link to their work. This may be explicitly stated in their terms of service (such as the Harvard Business Review). Usually, however, permalinks are the preferred way to link to a work. Additionally, be sure to cite the original source, as this is an important requirement in scholarly work and teaching. 


Question: What is the best way to share articles that are NOT available through the UD Library with my distance students (such as those received through interlibrary loan)?

Answer:  If the library does not have access to the article that you'd like to share with your students, you can make it available through the Electronic Course Reserves service. 


Question: I have one or more readings from a book that I would like to post online for my students.  What is the best way to make these readings available?

Answer:  The library offers an Electronic Course Reserves service that can help make readings available to students via a password login.  In order to comply with fair use, Course Reserves offers some guidelines for faculty regarding how much content can be shared using this service.  If the scanned materials do not comply with these guidelines, it is occasionally possible for the Library to purchase a multi-user license for an eBook. You may wish to talk to your subject specialist librarian to see what options exist for a specific text that you'd like to use.


Question:  I have found an online PDF of a research report from a government agency that I would like to upload to my course. What copyright concerns should I be aware of?

Answer:  United States government documents are in the public domain and are not subject to copyright. You are free to upload these documents to your course site.


Question:  I have found a PDF of an article from an online magazine / professional organization.  I'd like to upload this directly to my course, as I know that the link to this might be unreliable. Is this good practice?

Answer:  Best practice is to link to these documents rather than reproduce them fully in your online course.  Articles and PDFs found online- even if they have been made available by their creators- are still protected by copyright.  If you are concerned about losing access to the content for any reason, download those freely-available articles or PDFs to your personal computer and make a back-up copy in case the articles cease to become available at some future time. If the article is no longer available, contact the author or publishing body to request permission or use under fair use.


Question:  The resources that I wish to use in my course are all for educational purposes, and students have to sign in to the LMS in order to access them.  Doesn't that mean that the fair use provisions of copyright law apply to these resources?

Answer:  See the UD Library's copyright and fair use statement, which includes the fair use checklist.  If you do decide to include something in full within Canvas and you wish to make a fair use argument for that item, we recommend that you fill out a checklist for that item in order to capture your rationale for how your use falls under fair use. 


Question:  How can I incorporate streaming media into my online class?

Answer:  The library provides access to a growing number of streaming media databases.  Many of these databases include powerful features that can help you to create clips and playlists which you can share in Canvas.  You may also want to review our Media & Copyright page.