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Open Educational Resources

Library Ebooks, Articles, & Videos

If OER is not an option for your course, using library ebooks, articles, and videos is another zero-cost option for students. You will find tips for using these materials in your courses below.

Library Ebooks

Library ebooks can be helpful when academic or trade books are assigned for course readings.

It's possible that Hutchins Library may have an ebook version of a title you assign for a course, or may be able to purchase an ebook version. If you would like the library to purchase an ebook, please submit a purchase request.

Not every title is available for purchase as a library ebook, and standard textbook publishers rarely offer library ebooks.

Library ebooks have some advantages and disadvantages:
+ Students can access them for free with an institutional login from off campus.
+ No particular ebook reader or other special device is needed: Library ebooks can be read via an internet browser on a laptop.
Some library ebooks can be purchased in unlimited multiple-user versions which allow simultaneous access. (Ebooks in JSTOR have unlimited user access.)
Some library ebooks may be accessible to students with special needs. 
+ Unlike print reserves, no staff intermediation is required.

- Some ebook titles are only available in a one-person at a time version.
- Some library ebooks must be read online and have only limited options for downloading or printing content.
- Although ebooks work well on computers and laptops, they don't always display well on phones, ipads, and other devices.

Ownership vs access
Many ebooks in library collections are purchased and owned by the library in perpetuity; while some others are accessed as part of subscription services rather than owned by the library. There is a small chance that books accessed via a subscription service will "disappear" from the collection. 

Let your librarian know when you are planning to use a library ebook for course readings, as they may be able to point you to a more stable version.

Library Articles

Copyright fees can make course-packs very expensive! Your library may already be paying for electronic subscriptions to the journals (sometimes a hefty institutional price!)

It's fair use to link students to electronic articles in the library's collection. Here are some tips for using library articles as course materials:

1.) Link to articles
Linking to articles is always fair use and is the best practice. Uploading or distributing copies is fair use some of the time. 

2.) Choose a link to JSTOR or to the electronic journal subscription when possible.
Your Library owns some electronic journals; and has only access to others. The articles in aggregator databases, such as ProQuest or EBSCO, fall in the access category. It doesn't happen frequently, but access only articles can disappear from databases. 

3.) Use a stable link that includes the proxy prefix which triggers a login
When using subscription resources, the web address you see at the top of your browser won't always work again for another user.

Use the permalink or stable link to the article that is found in the database record. It should include the proxy prefix ( so that off-campus users can login to access the article. If you can't find an obvious stable link in the record, check with your librarian on the best way to link the article.

4.) Provide full citation info
If the link doesn't work, the student may be able to find the article if they have full citation info. (And, library staff have something to work with to help them.)

5.) Check your links before the semester starts
Check to be sure links are working. It's easier if links can be fixed, before students panic. A good practice may be to check the links from home to check for off-campus access.

Library Videos/Films

To post a video into Moodle, make sure you use a permalink/stable link or the embed code.  Those are usually found through a "Share" link by the video you want to use.

To find videos in databases available through the library, try:

Note: Kanopy is another option for video content. This is a subscription product that is available through Madison County Public Library. Berea College faculty, staff, & students are eligible for library cards from MCPL which would allow access to Kanopy content.


Please review the library's copyright policy for reserve materials.


This page was adapted from: