Creating links for course readings on Canvas sites: for instructors and other course staff

Our primary recommendation for readings on the course website is always Harvard Library Course Reserves. If we have online subscription access to an item, the Course Reserves staff can create links in your Canvas site. Students simply click and log in.

  • Library Reserves Quick Guide for Instructional Staff
  • Avoid any question of copyright/Fair Use or licensing violations (because of individual login).
  • No need to manage or maintain links or .pdfs yourself.
  • Course Reserves staff will try to acquire material needed for your course if we don't already have it.

If you choose not to use the Course Reserves service, the next best option is using the Permalinks in HOLLIS and HOLLIS databases to link directly to the item.

  • The permalink is one of the options under "Send To" in each HOLLIS listing.
  • This is the most stable way to link to these materials at this time. Other methods can introduce access issues, creating inadvertent barriers to students as they try to get to their readings.
  • Course staff will have to manage and maintain the links in Canvas, but copyright/fair use and licensing requirements are met without risk.

If we do not have online access to needed course materials:

  • Course Reserves staff can try to acquire it for you.
  • Consider posting the .pdf or other format if it's in keeping with copyright and Fair Use.
    • That the material will be posted in Canvas and used for a course does not automatically make it Fair Use. You can submit an inquiry to and ask for a Copyright First Responder for more guidance.


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