Blackboard and Reserves

This page provides information about placing electronic resources on Blackboard and print materials on Course Reserve at the Library Circulation Desk.

Frequently Asked Questions:

To place print material on Reserve, submit the RESERVE REQUEST FORM

Electronic Resources and Blackboard

Steps for placing reserve materials on Blackboard

  1. Identify your citation. (For example: Wang JY. A never ending story in the pursuit of susceptible genes in allergy and asthma. [Editorial] Pediatrics and Neonatology. 49(2):3-4, 2008 Apr.)
  2. Copy a link to the electronic resource (e-journal or e-book) by following these steps:
    1. Under E-Resources on the Library’s homepage at, click on E-Journals or E-Books
    2. Access the electronic resource (you may be prompted to authenticate using your login ID and Kerberos password)
    3. Copy the URL (i.e. link) to the electronic resource. Make sure the URL begins with http://
  3. Add a link to your Blackboard site (for instructions see the Library Tutorial: How to Add Links to Your Blackboard Site)

Please note: without permission from the publisher, you can only add direct links to the journal title page, not links to specific articles or PDFs, in Blackboard.

Reproduction of Copyrighted Electronic Materials for Blackboard

Title 17, section 106 of the United States Code grants to copyright owners, the exclusive right to reproduce, display, and distribute their work. Section 107 (the fair use doctrine) provides that under certain circumstances, material protected by copyright may be used without permission from the copyright owner. However, contrary to popular belief, an “educational use” does not necessarily mean material may be used without copyright permission. Faculty should use these guidelines to determine fair-use:

  • The purpose (commercial or nonprofit educational).
  • The nature of the copyrighted work.
  • The amount of the portion used.
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market value of the work.

In addition to meeting the four criteria above, faculty placing copyrighted materials on Blackboard must also adhere to the following:

  • Unless explicit permission is obtained from the publisher, do not place PDFs of copyrighted articles in Blackboard. Instead, place links to the journal’s website within Blackboard. To learn more, view the Library Tutorial: How to Add Links to Your Blackboard Site.
  • The recommended method of adding content to Blackboard is to include both the full citation of an article and a link to the journal in which that article has been published.
  • If you would like to place an article on Blackboard published in a journal that we currently do not subscribe to then you also need to contact the publisher.

The Print Reserve Collection

The purpose of the Print Reserve Collection, located on the 12th floor of the Library, is to make required course readings easily accessible to Boston University students. By limiting the amount of time such material may be charged out and/or requiring that the material remain in the library during use, all students in a class have the opportunity to make use of it. Additionally, the Reserve service provides a secure location for heavily-used items.

Who may place material on reserve?

Course Instructors at the Boston University Medical Center (Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Public Health and the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences) may place materials on reserve. Instructors may place library-owned books, personal books, videos, DVDs, lectures on DVD/CDs, and sample exams on reserve each semester for use by students in their courses.

Placing print materials on reserve

Faculty may request that any of the following materials be placed on Reserve as course readings:

  • Library-owned books
  • Instructor’s personal copies of books
  • Sample exams and quizzes
  • Homework assignments and solutions
  • Lecture notes and course syllabi
  • DVD/CD recordings of lectures

How to place print materials on reserve

Reserve requests are made by completing the Reserve Request Form. The Circulation Services staff will regularly relocate reserve materials that are no longer being used by a course instructor to the general collection. Course instructors must fill out or update a Reserve Request Form at least 14 days before these materials are needed on Reserve.

The following copyrighted material may be placed on Reserve according to fair use guidelines:
Faculty may place copyrighted materials provided that they comply with fair-use guidelines. While these guidelines don’t have force of law, they are used by many institutions, and they are endorsed by many major publishers and the U.S. Copyright Office.

See BU Copyright Policy for detailed information about which materials may be placed on reserve.

Please note the following restrictions:

  • U.S. copyright law restricts you to filing a single copy of library-owned journal articles
  • Books which the library does not yet own may take up to several weeks to receive after ordering; requests for such books are subject to the approval of a librarian
  • The online RESERVE REQUEST FORM must be completed.

Additional copyright background information can be found at the BUMC Library Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents page.