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Use of eResources in Education: Recommendations

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How to use this guide

The librarians have compiled a list of resources to consult, as well as some recommendations to help clarify how to apply fair use when using electronic resources (such as journal articles, eBook chapters, and images/multimedia from subscription databases and the open Web) in educational settings.

There are several key points to keep in mind, resources to refer to, and questions that each individual must ask themselves in order to decide how to proceed in determining the fair use of each resource.

These are recommendations only. 

Additional Advice

Key Points

First, review the Four Factors of Fair Use (U.S. Copyright Law - Section 107), and determine if they apply to your use. If so, you can use the item, but be sure to cite your source

  • Each use and each item/resource should be examined on an individual, case-by-case basis.
  • First determine how you are using the resource, more importantly than what the resource is.
  • Think reasonably about the intent of use for educational purposes.


When in doubt about using a resource, get permission from the owner/author/publisher. 

Place a copyright notice in each course stating the materials used cannot be redistributed in any form and are for the intended audience only.

Check the Terms of Use for the item to determine how it can be used.

Think about how the use of this resource is enhancing the educational experience. Use resources wisely where it makes sense to illustrate a point, enhance student discussion, etc.

Use Library or OER resources for use in education settings!

Special Considerations for Multimedia

First, it is important to determine fair use. As noted above, the librarians recommend linking to items from the Library’s subscription databases in online courses.  However, if you would rather embed an image from a library database within an online course, be sure to follow the factors of fair use and recommendations listed above.

Next, if you decide your use falls within fair use, here’s an example of how to cite an image in APA format:
Spurny, J. (2008, October 27). Online collaboration [Graphic].

If you decide to choose this route, we recommend putting the citation directly below or beside the image, or using in-text citations that refer to a list of references (bibliography). Here's an example of how to cite an image in-text in APA format:

photograph of art gallery

Maddaloni, C. (2016, May 25). Art [Photograph].