FAQs Browse

Do I need to obtain permission to include a chart, diagram, map or other image in my thesis?

If the thesis includes reproductions of copyright protected images, including but not limited to, figures, drawings, paintings, photographs, logos, maps, diagrams, tables or charts, the author of the thesis must in most cases obtain written authorization from the copyright holder in order to reproduce this material for inclusion in the thesis. If fair dealing applies, the material is usable under a Creative Commons or similar license or the material is not protected by copyright, permission may not be necessary, but documentation of the exception may be required. Contact the Copyright Office (copy@sfu.ca) for more information.

The request for permission from the copyright holder must state that the thesis will be available in full-text format on the internet for reference, study and / or copying and that the electronic version of the thesis will be accessible through Summit, the SFU Digital Research Repository and through the Library’s online catalogue.

For theses and dissertations (but not projects or extended essays) the letter also needs to state that Library and Archives Canada will be granted a non-exclusive license to reproduce, loan, or distribute single copies of the thesis by any means and in any form or format.

A template letter prepared by the Copyright Officer is available for you to modify and use when requesting permissions.

Do I need to obtain permission to use copyright protected material in my course packs?

Under fair dealing, short excerpts of copyright-protected material may be included in course packs without permission. See the Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04 for copying limits and other requirements. In addition, some material covered by licenses that the Library has for electronic resources may be included in course packs. 

The Custom Course Materials Coordinator will assess the copyright clearance requirements for any materials that you would like to include in a course pack. This includes materials from the Internet, government publications, and unpublished works, not just books and journals. Providing details such as book/journal title, web address, author name, ISBN/ISSN number, page range and total number of pages in a book will help to confirm permission more quickly. If you have any questions about copyright materials you would like to include, contact the Custom Course Materials Coordinator.

Do I own copyright in my thesis?

Yes. However, when submitting your thesis, you will be required to grant a partial copyright license allowing the University Library to post your thesis in Summit, the University’s digital research repository, and allowing Library and Archives Canada to make your thesis available on the Internet and in searchable databases. These license clearly stipulates that you own the copyright to your thesis, but that you have allowed "non-exclusive" use of your thesis by the University Library and by Library and Archives Canada.

Do I submit my honours thesis to the library?

Currently, honours theses are not available in the library and undergraduate students do not typically submit their theses to the library. 

Honours theses may be deposited in Summit, SFU's research repository. Contact your undergraduate honours supervisor about the suitability of putting your honours thesis in Summit. If your supervisor agrees that your honours thesis belongs in Summit, please forward it to summit@sfu.ca along with your name and the name of your supervisor.

Please feel free to contact summit@sfu.ca for more information about submitting your work.


Do you have my course textbook?

As a rule, SFU Library does not purchase all the textbooks used for courses taught at SFU. However, use the catalogue to look for your book - your text may be on reserve or in the general collection.

Textbooks are available for sale at the SFU Bookstore.

Do you keep calendars from other universities?

The best source for finding university calendars is now the internet. University calendars are usually linked from the home page of the university which can ordinarily be easily found through a search using any one of the regular search engines, e.g. Google.

At the Burnaby campus, a large collection of calendars in paper format is available in the SFU Registrar's Office, in the Maggie Benston Centre, entered between the Bookstore and the Pub. The Registrar's Office is on the Mall level, at the extreme south-east corner of the floor. This collection is accessible during all hours the Registrar's Office is open.

The Belzberg Library (Harbour Centre Campus) keeps some print calendars from BC Universities and Lower Mainland Colleges and Institutes, although most have now been replaced by online catalogues. The print catalogues are in the LB call number range in the Belzberg Reference collection.

The Surrey Library does not have calenders from other universities.

Does citing a work make it okay to copy it?

No. Citing the source of a work you use is good academic practice and helps you avoid plagiarism, but citation alone does not mean you are permitted to copy the work.

In order to legally copy a copyright-protected work for use in teaching materials, assignments, or theses/dissertations, your use must be permitted by one of the following:

  • explicit permission from the copyright owner;
  • use of an "insubstantial" amount, e.g., a typical short quote of a few sentences;
  • a user's rights exception in the Copyright Act, such as fair dealing;
  • the terms of a license, like those the SFU Library has for ejournals and ebooks [note: these licenses typically don't permit use in a thesis/dissertation]; or
  • the terms of an open license, such as a Creative Commons license, applied to the work by its copyright owner.
Does fair dealing cover teaching?

Yes.  While fair dealing does not specifically mention teaching it does mention education.  The Supreme Court of Canada has also ruled that a teacher may make copies of short excerpts of copyright protected works and distribute them to students as part of classroom instruction without prior request from the student under the fair dealing exception.  See the Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04 for details about what may be as copied as fair dealing by instructors.

Additionally, the Copyright Act includes exceptions for educational institutions, which allow specific uses of copyright protected works in the classroom. See the Copyright Infographic for details about fair dealing and the educational exceptions.

Does SFU have more than one library?


Three libraries form the SFU Library:

1. The WAC Bennett Library or Bennett, which is located on the Burnaby Mountain Campus and is the main SFU Library.

2. The Belzberg Library or Belzberg, located in downtown Vancouver.

3. The Fraser Library or Fraser, located in Surrey.

The Library catalogue lists books, journals, etc. for all three libraries. You can transfer items between libraries by using the Request button in the Library's Catalogue.

The word "WEB" listed as a library in the Library Catalogue means that the item listed is available on the Web.

The phrase "Curriculum collection" listed as a library in the Library Catalogue means that the item can be found in the Curriculum Collection in the Bennett Library.

Does SFU Library offer fee-based research services?

The SFU Library does not provide research services for a fee, however, patrons can contact InfoAction, Vancouver Public Library's fee-based research service.