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Linking to Course Readings  

Last Updated: Nov 8, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Link or Copy?

Most instructors eventually find that they would like to ask their students to read something online.

The issues are twofold:

  • deciding whether to link to the item or copy it into the course web space
  • deciding about copyright clearance

It is generally faster and less expensive to link to an item rather than duplicate it within course space.

MSU has always advised that specific copyright clearance is needed for copying, even into password protected course pages. Since everything written after 1923 should be presumed to have copyright protection, linking avoids the copyright request process in the majority of cases. Be sure that the text surrounding the link identifies the source clearly.


Linking to Library Resources

Links to journal articles and other online resources that are part of MSU Libraries' subscription services will probably form the basis for many reading assignments. Currently there are three distinct ways that links work. In order of descending preference they are:

  1. A link to the actual article/item to be read
  2. A link to the journal/book which contains the article
  3. A link to the index which contains the article

Which type of link a particular resource will have is determined by the limitations of the software available and is not a matter of instructor choice.

Because copyright permissions cost time and often also money, faculty preparing readings for courses are asked to accept and utilize the first two of these options. Please contact your subject specialist librarian or use the instructions for Creating Stable Links for help in generating links.

Items that can only be linked at the index or database level can be requested through the MSU Library's Copyright Permission Service if desired. If requested and approved, this permission would allow duplicating the electronic reading within the course web site so that students would not have to search for it in the index.

This permissions request service is also available for items which we do not currently own in digital format.


Support for Student Use of Course Links

Libraries, Computing, and Technology maintains an 800 number/email help line service (manned by Distance Learning Services) for students who have trouble accessing Library resources.

1-800-500-1554 should be on most course web pages, as they also help with Angel, and other connectivity problems.

Questions will likely still come to the instructor, but having information about this service prominently displayed within the course web pages should minimize the questions. Instructors are encouraged to refer all such questions to the service.


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