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Challenges with digital or online Course Reserves

Digital-only Course Reserves for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

As SFU continues remote instruction in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, the Library will again provide digital-only Course Reserves.  

Reserve requests will be fulfilled in Canvas by linking to existing digital materials in the Library’s collection; by purchasing new digital materials; or by scanning fair-dealing amounts of owned or purchased physical materials and mounting them to course sites.

Digital textbooks unavailable from many publishers

Unfortunately, many publishers decline to sell digital textbooks to libraries.  In these cases, while SFU Bookstore allows students to buy or rent individual digital textbooks, there is no way for the Library to make a multi-user copy digitally available on reserve.

Publishers who will not sell digital textbooks to libraries include: Pearson, Cengage, Houghton, McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press Canada (Textbook Division), and several Elsevier imprints such as Elsevier Health Science, Mosby, Saunders, and Thieme.

Other ways the Library can fulfill Reserves requests

If we aren’t able to purchase a requested digital textbook for Reserves, we will inform the instructor and will offer support in any of the following ways:

  • Identifying a non-textbook alternative title or readings in the subject area
  • Providing fair-dealing scans of physical items in the Library’s collection
  • Identifying an Open Educational Resource in the subject area. Open Educational Resources are free, open learning materials that provide affordability for students and flexibility and control for instructors.

Submitting requests, and contacting us

So that we can fulfill Reserve requests in a timely way, we encourage instructors to submit Reserve requests as early as possible. 

If you have questions about digital Reserves for Fall 2020, please contact