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Physical Reserves – Service Definition

The River Campus Libraries Course Reserves Service allows course instructors to identify physical materials for which the Library should provide controlled access during the semester. Placing items on reserve removes them from the general circulating collections and assigns shortened loan periods to ensure availability of high-demand items to the maximum number of borrowers possible. Items are placed on reserve at the request of course instructors and are limited to print and multimedia materials (DVDs, CDs, etc.) used in a course that are in the collection or eligible for addition to the collection. Items are removed from Course Reserves and returned to the regular library collection at the end of the semester during which the course is offered.

Scope of Service:

In order to facilitate access to materials on reserve, course instructors may request that reserves staff:

  • Place the following item types on reserve at one of the River Campus Libraries Service Desks:
    • items held in the library’s circulating collection
    • high demand non-circulating items in the library collections
    • an instructor’s personal item
  • Purchase obtainable materials to add to the library collections and place on reserve at one of the River Campus Libraries’ Service desks


Electronic Course Resource Support – Service Definition

The River Campus Libraries can assist instructors with identifying electronic resources used in courses and will ensure, whenever possible, that the library’s licenses for the selected online resources adequately provide access for the number of students enrolled in the course and are being used in compliance with any use limitations associated with the resource licensing.

Library staff will provide stable links to give students access to electronic resources owned or licensed by the library. Additionally, library staff can provide instructors with guidance in storing and providing access to electronic resources not owned by the library. The library cannot store or archive materials that are not owned or currently licensed by the library.

Instructors may add electronic readings to Blackboard courses as links or PDFs. The River Campus Libraries strongly encourage faculty to link to resources rather than uploading a PDF in order to ensure copyright compliance. Linking to electronic readings also allows the library to collect accurate usage statistics for our electronic resources, which inform our decision-making processes for the purchase and renewal of subscriptions. Library staff do not have access to Blackboard and will refer instructors to the University IT BlackboardSupport team to provide additional support for those who require assistance with adding links and course readings to their Blackboard courses.

Scope of Service:

In order to facilitate access to course resources, instructors may request that reserves staff:

  • Confirm the availability of electronic resources, including confirmation that the licensing agreement will accommodate adequate access for the number of students in the course whenever possible
  • Assist in creating stable URLS to access electronic course resources owned by or licensed by the library
  • Add links to library-owned electronic resources to the list of Course Reserves items viewable through the library catalog

In order to facilitate access to course resources, instructors will be connected to subject librarians or other library staff to:

  • Schedule an appointment to consult with their Subject Librarian to assist in the identification or acquisition of resources, including Open Access materials, to use in support of course curriculum
  • Facilitate a referral to the University IT Blackboard Support Team for consultation and assistance adding links to course readings to courses


Request Submission Guidelines

Requests for Physical Reserves

In order to ensure efficient processing of requests, The River Campus Libraries can only accept Course Reserves requests via electronic submission through our online form.

Online Form
The method for submitting requests is our online Course Reserves Request Form. The form will guide instructors through the types of information necessary to efficiently process their requests like course title and code, instructor contact information, and requested material citations. Citations for items should include title, author, call number, edition, year, and format (physical vs. electronic access).

Requests missing information or including incomplete citations may take additional time to process.

Submission Deadlines
To guarantee Course Reserve materials are ready for access by the beginning of the semester, requests must be submitted at least four weeks prior to the first day of classes. All requests will be processed on a first come, first served basis, with every effort being made to have them available for use as soon as possible.

The time required to process reserve requests varies with the workload of the unit, the availability of materials, and the accuracy of the information supplied. Most requests submitted during periods of lower demand (such as mid-semester) will be filled within seven business days, but additional time may be required for items that need to be recalled or purchased.

Required and Recommended Materials
Library staff may request instructors with lengthy or complex reserve lists limit their lists to required materials (as opposed to suggested or recommended reading).

When a course reserves request is placed through the online form, Library Staff will attempt to place all required materials on reserve. Recommended materials may also be placed on reserve at the request of the instructor, but will not be prioritized for processing and may take longer to be added to the reserves collection.

Reserves Locations
The River Campus Libraries maintain reserve collections in all library locations. In general, the preferred reserve location for library materials is the library where most of the subject materials are held (the owning library), unless a different location is more convenient for the class or instructor. Audiovisual reserve materials are maintained in the Art and Music Library.

Circulation of Reserve Items
By default, items on Course Reserve circulate for a period of 3 hours for films and 2 hours for all other materials. Alternatively, instructors may request materials that circulate under one of the following additional options: 3 hours, 1 day, 3 days, 7 days. Course Reserve materials carry an overdue fine rate of $1 per hour overdue for hourly loans, and $1 per day for daily and weekly loans with a maximum of $30 per item.

At the end of each semester, physical materials on reserve will be moved back to the circulating collection and their normal circulation rules will be restored.

Personal Copies
Instructors may submit personal items to be placed on reserve with the understanding that they will be processed for use (which may include application of labels) and that the library is not responsible for their loss or damage. Library staff will attempt to acquire copies of these items for the library collection whenever possible. When a copy of the same title is purchased for the library’s collection, this copy will be placed on reserve and the instructor’s personal copy will be returned to them.

Purchase Requests
Materials included in a Course Reserves request that are not already part of the River Campus Libraries’ collection will be ordered for the library collection whenever possible.

Items purchased for use supporting a course will be given priority in the library’s acquisitions process, but may take longer to obtain and prepare for reserves than items already in the library’s collections.


Requests for Electronic Resource Support

Instructors have the option to request support for acquiring or accessing electronic resources through our Online Form. If such assistance is requested, instructors will be connected to the appropriate subject librarian to navigate available electronic resources.

Reserves staff will connect any electronic access resources to the course reading list in the library catalog; however, including electronic resources on the library catalog’s reading list will not cause links to the resources to automatically display in Blackboard. Links to online resources must be added to the Blackboard interface by a course instructor.


Copyright Compliance

Materials may be placed on reserve through the University libraries only in accordance with the University of Rochester Copyright Policy.  Faculty members, instructors or other authorized personnel should carefully review any copyrighted material to be used and determine whether they need to seek permission from the copyright owner. Materials will not be put on course reserves without the copyright owner’s permission unless the fair use factors are met, or unless some other legal exception to the permission requirement applies.

The following rules also apply:

  •  All use of materials placed on electronic reserves will be at the initiative of faculty solely for the non-commercial, educational use of students.
  • Materials to be scanned by digitization services for electronic access will be in legal possession by the library or the faculty member (by purchase, license, fair use, etc.) or some other unit of the University.
  • Any copyright notice on the original material must be included in the material scanned. Appropriate citations and attributions to source must also be included.
  • When possible links to sites where material already is legally available (e.g., article databases) will be used instead of making a digital copy through digitization services.
  • To the extent applicable and feasible, use of copyrighted materials on class web pages or otherwise outside the course reserve system should follow the above rules.


Related Services

Library Staff can assist instructors in obtaining additional course support services related to, but not included in, the Course Reserves service. Instructors may direct requests for these services to Course Reserves Staff or their Subject Librarian, who will assist with the request or facilitate a referral to a partner department as appropriate.

Librarian Consultation

The Subject Librarians of the River Campus Libraries are happy to assist instructors in a range of course planning activities, including selecting resources used in courses, determining availability of these resources, and obtaining access to course resources.

Blackboard Support

Instructors requiring assistance with course building or adding resources in Blackboard may contact the University IT Blackboard support team

Digitization Services

In the event that no electronic access option is available, the RCL Digitization Service can provide single book chapters, individual articles, or sections of books comprising less than 10 percent of the total page count (for materials that are currently held in our collection). For instructions on submitting digitization requests and more information about the service, see their webpage.

Captioning and Transcription of Course Materials

Instructors who have received a Request for Accommodation from a student enrolled in their class may request that audio and video files required for a class be captioned or transcribed. The River Campus Libraries have coordinated with the University of Rochester’s Office of Disability Resources to provide this service, and library staff may consult with staff in this office to determine the most effective way to provide student accommodations.

Service Guidelines:

  •  Requests for captioning and transcription can be directed to the Course Reserves Staff at rclreserves@library.rochester.edu or to the Office of Disability Resources, which will make any necessary referrals to our service.
  • Captions may be added to videos either submitted to the library as a video file (mp4, avi, wmv, etc.) or hosted on YouTube. Other online video hosting services are not compatible with the services provided by our transcription and captioning vendor, 3Play Media. Captions can not be added to videos available only in physical formats such as DVD or VHS.
  • Transcription of audio files requires the submission of an audio file (mp3, wav, wma, etc). We are unable to transcribe hosted audio content or audio available only in physical formats such as CDs.
  • This service is currently limited to course materials and does not extend to the captioning or transcription of lectures or class presentations.
  • Requests for captioning or transcription may take up to 7 days to process. Instructors are encouraged to submit requests in a timely manner.
  • Once transcription or captioning is complete, library staff will send the instructor a link to the captioned video and/or a PDF version of the transcription, depending on the needs of the requesting student.