Course Reserve Service: Information for Professors

The Course Reserve Service allows instructors to set aside course materials for the short-term use by students. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library is offering a digital course reserve service in the summer and fall 2021 semesters (PDFs, e-books, streaming videos, scanned documents, etc.). Ares, the Library’s course reserve platform, provides a single point of access for all course materials; it can be accessed directly and, if the option is activated, through Virtual Campus as well.

What are the benefits of the course reserve service?

  • Less work for instructors:
    • Course Reserve staff will locate the materials listed in a syllabus and make them available via the reserve platform
    • Course Reserve staff will manage the delicate and time-consuming application of copyright and licensing agreements
  • Lower costs for students:
    • Reduces costs by maximizing the use of openly available materials and the Library’s own collections
  • Easy access:
    • 24/7 remote access – ideal for students working off-campus
    • Multiple concurrent users (with the exceptions of some e-books)
    • Accessible from Virtual Campus (once Ares has been activated)
  • Convenient tools
    • Cross-list your readings with another course you’re teaching
    • Create tags to organize your readings (ex. “week 1”, week 2”, etc.)
    • Review item usage to see how often students are accessing material

Contact Us

For assistance with course reserves, please contact

How to Place Materials on Reserve

  1. Before preparing your request, please verify the Submission Deadlines in the FAQ below.
  2. To request that course materials be placed on reserve, simply email your course syllabus or reading list to The reserve service staff will then process your request.
    • Note that providing a full bibliographic citation for each item in your syllabus or reading list will speed up the processing of course materials; please consult the FAQ below for the necessary information.
    • Please notify staff if you have scanned materials you wish to include in the course.
  3. Once your request has been processed, any materials placed on reserve will be available to your students via Ares. You may also integrate your list of readings in Ares into Virtual Campus.


What can be placed on reserve?

Any materials placed on reserve should be originals or legal copies. These may include the following:


Digital (subject to copyright and licence restrictions)

What if I prefer the traditional (physical) course reserve?

As physical course reserves are, by their very nature, high-touch and used frequently by multiple individuals, the Library has determined that it will not be possible to offer this service during the summer and fall 2021 semesters due to health and safety considerations and will only be offering digital course reserves instead. In combination with our scan-on-demand service, for which we have recently expanded our capacity, we are confident that the digital reserve team will be able to help instructors assemble licensed Library materials ahead of the upcoming session. The combined use of the Library’s scan-on-demand services and digital collections have two key advantages:

  1. As usual, digital course reserves will mean no additional costs to students.
  2. Those studying remotely will have equal access to materials placed on reserve by their instructors.
What information do I need to provide?

You should provide full bibliographic citations for each resource as this will speed up the processing of course materials, including (as applicable):

  • Author name
  • Book or journal title
  • Article or chapter title
  • Name of journal or sourcebook
  • Date of publication and/or volume and issue
  • Page range
  • Total pages in the book
  • Publisher name (for books)
  • ISSN or ISBN


Questions? Contact for assistance.

When are the submission deadlines?

Requests are treated in the order they are received. We may need to order some of your items, so be sure to submit your requests early so they can be available on time.

Due to the volume of requests received at the start of each term, our policy is to process (as priority) the material required for the first 3-4 weeks of the course, and then add the remaining material required before the reading date for this material.

During non-peak times of the year: 1-2 days*

* The availability of the material may impact processing time.

How long does material stay on reserve?

Generally, materials will remain available until the end of the current academic semester, including the exam period; a new request must be submitted every semester even if the material remains the same.

Will a student with a deferred exam have access to the course materials after the semester has ended?

All readings are automatically removed at the end of the semester to support copyright compliance; however, you may contact to request that the materials remain available for an extended time period.

What are my options if a commercial resource is not available for purchase or subscription through the Library?

Consider using open educational resources (OER), which are freely and openly available. To find an OER for your course, visit the Library's OER page for repositories and search tips. You can also consult the OER by Discipline Guide: University of Ottawa for suggested resources for specific courses at uOttawa.

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