Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Course Reserves Support Teaching, Learning at Ball State University Libraries

One of the University Libraries’ most popular services is print and e-reserves for courses. They are a vital part of the University Libraries’ services since faculty count on course reserves to make accessible specific materials that are related to their classes.

“For items that are heavily in demand, students benefit from having course reserve loan periods that are shorter than the norm,” said Jan A. Vance, Periodical/Reserve/Microforms Collection Supervisor. In the case of print items, a short borrowing period, such as two hours, allows more students access to the materials since they are required for the whole class. Faculty set the actual loan period, the most common choices being two hours, four hours or one, three, or seven days.

Christy A. Groves, Head of Access Services, points out that a number of different formats are used for course reserves, primarily library-owned materials, such as articles, books, pictures, realia, and music as well as faculty members’ personal materials, such as course notes.

Recently, electronic access has become popular, especially for journal and newspaper articles. Students benefit from convenient, 24/7 access to articles on course reserve, allowing students access to reserves from any computer connected to the Internet.

When faculty identify an article for course reserve, personnel in the University Libraries are available to scan the item. When requested, Libraries’ personnel will provide full-color scanning since color may be an important part of the item. Fritz Dolak, Manager for Ball State’s University Copyright Center, points out that fair use of copyright is to limit each e-reserve of a digital item to one article from a journal issue, or one chapter or 10% of a book. These limits do not apply to a physical item that is placed on reserve.

The following units within the University Libraries process course reserves:
· Access Services
· Architecture Library
· Educational Resources Center
· Music Collection
· Science-Health Science Library

This semester, the Music Collection has been especially busy with reserves. “I’ve processed over 1,100 items this semester which is a record for us,” said D. Jason Smith, Music Collection Coordinator.

“Faculty, particularly those in music theory and music history, typically request a wide range of formats, including books, scores, recordings, and articles,” said Keith H. Cochran, Music Librarian.

The popularity of digital course reserves has increased significantly — over 240% from 805 in fiscal year 2002-2003 to 1,932 in fiscal year 2005-2006 in Access Services alone.

A significant reason for the increase may be because of the convenience that digital reserves provide students for their research and learning.

For more information, contact Dr. Keith H. Cochran, Ball State University Libraries’ Music Librarian,, (765) 285-5065.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(3): 6; March 2007.

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