Notes from Electronic Reserves Session

Facilitator: Mary Giunta, Head, Access and Technical Support, Lehman and Social Work Libraries, Columbia University Libraries

Recorder: Cyndy Pawlek, Director of User Services, Dartmouth College Library

Discussion Topics:

  • Linking versus scanning
  • Role of the library in electronic reserves
  • Copyright

Reasons to do electronic reserves:

  • Students love it.
  • Faculty thinks it's great.
  • Quicker turnaround time than coursepacks.
  • Save students money on purchasing coursepacks

Reasons not to do electronic reserves:

  • If students pay for printing on your campus, are they better off with a coursepack than with printing individual articles as they go along?
  • Observation from some faculty that students don't seem to digest the information as well online as they do in print. Web is not an effective presentation method. Faculty sometimes request students to bring the article to class with them, so they are forced to print it out.

Copyright issues still open.

  • College Counsels are conservative: some suggested not talking with them.
  • Copyright guidelines for e-reserves varied widely across the group
    Some following "Wisconsin model": if limiting access by course registration, then extend print model to the electronic in what you feel meets guidelines for fair use.
  • Real concern from upper administration that total supplanting of coursepacks makes institution more liable for copyright violations.
  • Who is responsible for obtaining permissions? In some institutions, the faculty is responsible, in others, the library. If you leave it in the hands of the faculty, they aren't likely to do it.

Appropriate use for e-reserves

  • Suggested that it is best to use coursepacks for core readings, and e-reserves for supplemental readings.
  • Perfect for distance education, but often users aren't in the patron database and it's hard to limit access by course registration.

Linking vs. scanning

  • Fairly easy to negotiate rights in contracts for electronic products for the use of materials on reserve: but we need to remember to do it, and keep track of what permissions we have.
  • Much faster to link than scan.
  • More efficient to link than scan, especially for graphics-rich documents where the scanning time is long and the files produced large and hard to manage.
  • Content sometimes differs between the print vs. electronic journal article, esp. regarding images.
  • Who decides the appropriateness of chosen links? Often staff, who are under pressure to get items up quickly and efficiently.

Where should e-reserves be presented? Through the library's web pages, or the faculty's classroom webspace?

  • Some prefer they be linked to the faculty pages. But want the library to provide the scanning/linking service. Librarians are sometimes given authorization to work within faculty WebCT space in order to do this.

Duplicate paper backup

  • Some are maintaining paper backup for security—not often needed, but useful when something goes wrong. These are returned to the faculty at the end of the term.
  • Electronic files: keep or discard? Some are keeping and just unlinking. Copyright questions here are real, but the temptation is strong.

Discussion ended with a universal agreement that faculty put too much on reserve and students don't use much of it. Suggestions were made that faculty be given statistics showing the amount of use, to encourage them to decrease the size of their reserve lists. Partnering with bibliographers and staff in Academic Computing to work with faculty to help steer them to appropriate levels and quantities of materials for reserve readings was also suggested.