There once was a time when the only thing
a computer could do to help students with
their schoolwork was to provide a calculator
function and maybe some word processing. Today,
someone could earn a college degree on-line
and never leave the house. Somewhere in the
middle, there are classes utilizing both the
classroom and the Internet at the same time
to help students learn. The use of Electronic
Reserves is one of those ways.
Reserves are materials set aside in a library
to supplement whatever in-class material a
student may receive. The materials could be
anything (like journal articles, books, pictures,
movies, and so on) and their use is usually
restricted by time and location. In the Weinberg
Memorial Library, books and paper copies of
journal articles are kept behind the Circulation
Desk. For the most part, these reserves are
restricted to in-library usage only (and therefore
only available when the library is open),
though there are some books that can be checked
out for a day or two.
Electronic Reserves, on the other hand, are
available on the World Wide Web through a
program called ERes (http://libres.uofs.edu/).
Being on the web allows reserved materials
to be accessed by the students 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week. The documents could be
printed out, saved to disk, or simply accessed
whenever need be. The documents can be in
a number of electronic formats (MS Office,
JPG, Text, etc.) and scanned documents will
usually be in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat).
In addition, links to other web sites can
be made available. Along with the range of
formats for electronic documents and links
to other web sites, ERes has two other features
to help the students and instructor interact
with each other: each Course Page has its
own chat room and bulletin board.
Copyright questions arise any time materials
are reproduced for Reserves. Most educational
use is governed by the "Fair Use"
provision, section 107 of the copyright law.
It allows for copying to be done for teaching,
scholarship, and research purposes. In general,
there are four guidelines to help determine
if something is being fairly used: 1) The
"purpose and character of use" of
the document is considered; 2) The "nature"
of the document being used; 3) What percentage
of the whole is being used; and 4) What effect
the use will have on the marketable value
of the document. Fair use is permitted the
first time an item is placed on reserve. For
its second and each succeeding use, the Library
must obtain permission from the holder of
the copyright and/or pay a copyright fee for
use of the material. In a small number of
cases, if the Library is unable to obtain
permission for use, the item cannot be placed
The use of Electronic Reserves is growing.
It would be hard to imagine any college level
course not utilizing the web in some way in
the near future. In the end, the students
are here to learn, the instructors are here
to teach, and anything that helps the process
of education should be used.