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Creating Links to Library Content: Home

Tips and resources for faculty and staff regarding how to properly share articles with students.


We know that you place articles on D2L Brightspace in order to make it easy for students to find and read valuable content for your classes.  We also know that if you are putting PDFs directly into D2L Brightspace, it may be problematic for several reasons:

Why could it be a problem?

  • It could be infringing on our license agreements with publishers or violating copyright, exposing the university to the danger of a lawsuit.
  • When you post PDFs, the library cannot track the usage of the resources we purchase to support your classes.  This is important to you because we regularly study usage statistics to make informed decisions about which subscriptions we continue to provide.  On the other hand, if your students use citations to access articles, we can see that usage, and we can prioritize those resources for retention, even in tough budget cycles.
    • We also share usage statistics with accrediting bodies, who see usage of core journals as evidence of curricular success.
  • If you are posting PDFs because we do not have the resource, we will never know that you NEED the resource, so we will never consider those resources for purchase.  It is a vicious cycle, really.  

When do I need to worry about providing citations, instead of posting PDFs?

Every single time you want your students to access an article that the library provides through MavScholar and Google Scholar.

What about PDFs that I find freely available on the internet?

Freely available PDFs such as government reports do not fall under licensing restrictions because they are in the public domain.  Feel free to post them. HOWEVER, be aware that lots of the other freely available stuff on the internet is there illegally, so you are taking a risk.

What about my syllabi, course assignments, etc.?

Licenses to not cover these materials so they are not prohibited in any way, feel free to post them.

What about Fair Use?

Under copyright law, you are allowed some flexibility to use print resources under the Fair Use provisions of the law. Print resources include things like chapters from books or articles in journals made of paper. But, electronic resources – the non-paper stuff available through MavScholar or Google Scholar – are covered by license agreement between the library and publishers. Fair use is almost always tightly limited by these agreements, so you can assume it does not apply.

So, what can I do?

Provide citations so that your students can find articles using MavScholar on the Library website.  Benefits of citation access, as opposed to PDF posting, are A) it is LEGAL, and B) it is a critical skill for our young scholars. Students gain basic information literacy when they learn how to find articles the right way. They begin to understand the fundamentals of scholarly work. See  for instructions.



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