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E-Resources + Copyright: Home

This LibGuide provides guidance on copyright in relation to providing electronic versions of classroom materials.

Copyright Resources - Introduction

COVID-19 has caused much consternation when considering books, textbooks, and resources for our students.  During the spring semester, many companies offered free electronic versions of textbooks, but unfortunately, this access has ended for most of the companies that were offering it.  In addition, due to library closures and concerns about spreading the virus, textbook reserves are no longer a viable option.  This has left many scrambling to find solutions.  In this LibGuide, we will be discussing some of the different options that you may want to consider for classes in the upcoming fall semester.

This LibGuide concentrates on electronic resources, but there are still plenty of places where one can purchase print copies of textbooks, such as the NVC Bookstore, which now has shipping to your home, Amazon, Abe Books (used copies at good prices),, and many more.

Copyright Guidelines for Copying Materials

Copyright can be very tricky, especially when scanning and photocopying materials for student consumption.  There are a couple of things to keep in mind.  If you scan your textbooks, you will only be able to upload one small portion of that textbook, such as a chapter or section, at a time.  Once you have finished with that chapter/section, take it down and upload the next chapter.  If chapters in your book are short, a good rule of thumb is only provide about 10% of the text at a time.  Do NOT upload an entire book all at once as that does violate copyright.

If a work was published before 1925, it is considered fair use and can be copied and distributed.

If you wish to show a video to your class, you may use your own DVD so long as it was purchased legally.  You cannot copy a video and distribute it to all of your students, as this does violate copyright.  You may use embed videos from sources like YouTube and Films on Demand into your Canvas pages.  Kanopy can be a bit tricky, however, as access is through the Napa County Library, and you need a library card to access it, so you cannot simply embed the link into a Canvas page.  You would need to show the video as you would from a subscription service.  Subscription services are where copyright can be tricky.  If you are simply showing the video during a ConferZoom session, this is a gray area.  If, however, you try to distribute a video from a subscription service, this does violate copyright.

Please click on the links provided below for further explanations of copyright rules and regulations.  You might also use the tool, "Thinking Through Fair Use Checklist," which Glendale Community College has put together.  This is a community commons resource, so feel free to use it to help aid you in thinking through copyright for your classes.

Free Resources

There are several sites where you can find e-textbooks.  First, you may want to see if the library's E-book database has your book.  If the library does not have it, you may want to check for a copy with the National Emergency Library.  Many textbooks can be checked out for short amounts of time for free.  You may also want to check out which publishers have an open access program, such as Taylor & Francis.  In addition, you might consider adopting a textbook from an open source site, such as OpenStax.

If you are looking for a work that was published before 1925, you might want to look at Project Gutenberg, as they have a large selection of texts available for free.  If you are looking for classical Greek or Roman texts, the Perseus Project at Tufts University is a good resource, too. 

There are also many PDF versions of works floating around the Internet.  When you search for the work, add "PDF" after the title, and often you can find either part of the text or the text in its entirety.

If you are unsure about a text, you can always contact one of our wonderful librarians for further assistance.

Purchasing E-books

There are several places where students can purchase e-textbooks, such as Vital Source, Redshelf, and Amazon.  There are also some sources that students should avoid, as they appear to be scams.  It is important to use reputable vendors.  When in doubt, encourage students to visit the publisher's webpage.  Some of the most common college textbook published listed below.  If we have missed an important one, it is purely unintentional.  Please e-mail us the addition, and we will be happy to add it.