What does the SCR program do?

The UC Merced Library’s Supplemental Course Resources (SCR) Program provides online access to supplemental course materials by making them available through UCMCROPS (aka Sakai). Specifically, the SCR Program will:

  • digitize supplemental materials for courses.
  • ensure that principles of fair use and copyright compliance are followed.
  • pay reasonable copyright-compliance fees out of Library collection funds.

What doesn't the SCR Program do?

The SCR Program doesn’t:

  • digitize entire, or nearly entire, books for the purpose of saving students the cost of purchasing what should be required textbooks.
  • violate copyright laws.
  • pay unreasonable copyright-compliance fees.

The Library will determine on a case-by-case basis whether or not a copyright-compliance fee is reasonable. If we decide a fee is unreasonable, the Library will consult with the faculty member involved to come up with a reasonable solution to the problem.

What about fair use and copyright compliance?

First of all, it is very important for faculty to understand the following:

  • Faculty can be held personally liable for egregious copyright violations.
  • Publishers are actively looking for copyright violations, especially in the online realm.

While jumping through the Library’s hoops to get a few readings posted online may seem like a hassle, the intent is to keep you and the University of California out of trouble while still making information available to students.

The easiest way to avoid the entire question of fair use and copyright compliance is to take advantage of the approximately 10,000 online journals and tens of thousands of online books available through the UC Merced Library and the California Digital Library (CDL). We encourage faculty to explore these resources and use what is already available whenever possible. If you aren’t sure how to find out what is available, contact for assistance.

For information resources that are not already available via the UC Merced Library or CDL, the Library will use the Four Factor Fair Use Test to determine whether or not the use of a resource falls under fair use; if it doesn’t, the Library will pay reasonable copyright-compliance fees. For more information on fair use, please visit

Please note that any resources that require copyright-compliance fees will take longer to process than resources that fall under fair use. Determining the actual copyright holder can be complicated, and copyright holders do not always respond promptly once contacted.

Since this material is for educational use, shouldn't it meet fair use exemption?

The character of use (e.g. for educational purposes) is one of the four factors that must be considered when determining fair use. Educational use does tip in our favor for this factor, yet there are three other factors to consider: the nature of the work, the amount of the work requested, and the effect of use on the original market or permissions market.

What about digitizing textbooks?

Books that are written explicitly for classroom instruction—Introduction to Calculus (7th Edition), Understanding Human Development (4th Edition), College Chemistry (19th Edition), etc.—generally do not fall under fair use. Using portions of a text for a class is not transformative which does not lean toward fair use (Factor #1 "The Purpose and Character of Use) and often has a detrimental financial impact on the rightsholder (Factor #4 "The Effect of the Use Upond the Potential Market"). Digitizing all or part such books requires obtaining copyright clearance and paying a permission fee. When necessary, the Library will clear copyright and pay reasonable permission fees; however, it is not the purpose of the supplemental course reserves program to save students the cost of purchasing what should be required textbooks.

See "Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors" for more details.

Should I use a printed course reader instead of digitizing?

There are times when using a printed course reader is a better option than digitizing. Some points to consider:

It is better to use a printed course reader if:

  • It is likely that students will need paper copies of large amounts of the information resource. In such cases, it is actually less expensive for students to buy an already-printed reader than to print out their own copies page by page.
  • The information contains crucial illustrations, tables, diagrams and such that may copy better than they digitize. The Library will be happy to help you determine if the information resource you wish to use will digitize well.
  • Permission costs for digitization are extraordinarily higher than permissions for using the same information in a course reader. The Library will help you determine this if you are not sure.
  • The sheer number of pages is so large that using a printed course reader is the best way to make sure the information is available when the students need it.

It is better to use digitized supplemental course readings if:

  • The nature and/or amount of the information resource is such that most students will be able to read it online without the need to print out large numbers of pages.
  • The information is in the public domain. In general this includes anything published before 1923 or published by a government agency.
  • The information resource is already digitized and readily available via subscriptions purchased by the California Digital Library or UC Merced Library. The UC Merced Library will be happy to help you identify and make use of such information resources.
  • The information resource is already digitized.
  • The information resource is already digitized and readily available via subscriptions purchased by the California Digital Library or UC Merced Library. The UC Merced Library will be happy to help you identify and make use of such information resources.

How do I get a course reader printed?

Contact the UC Merced Bobcat Bookstore (209.381.6999 or for information about course print reader services.

Another option it to contact commercial firms that print and deliver course readers. Googling the phrase “course packs” will retrieve information on a number of such firms.

What about information resources that are in the public domain?

The Library can freely digitize information resources that are in the public domain. Typical examples of public-domain resources include U.S. Government publications, many state publications, and older resources for which the copyright has expired. The Library can help you determine whether or not an information resource is in the public domain.

How long does digitization take?

Although UC Merced Library has excellent digitization equipment, digitization is still a complex process that takes considerably more time than, for example, making photocopies. The digitization process is further slowed when:

  • information resources require copyright-compliance fees (as opposed to falling under fair use).
  • pages are highlighted, marked up with pen or pencil, torn, taped, folded, or bent by clips (paper, mini, or binder).
  • the paper on which the book or journal is printed is excessively thin, discolored, or poorly finished.
  • the quality of the submitted book or article is so poor that the Library must obtain a clean copy either through purchase or interlibrary loan.

How can I make sure everything is digitized in time for my class?

  • Submit books, journals, and other resources as far in advance as possible.
  • In the interest of fairness, the Library processes items in the order in which they are received. Being at the front of the line is the best way to make sure your materials are digitized in time for your class.
  • Provide the cleanest copy possible.
  • Accompany materials with a syllabus clearly indicating the pages needed and the sequence of readings so we can prioritize if necessary.

How do I submit information resources for digitization?

  • Submit the following: materials for digitization, your course syllabus and a form for each item.
  • Deliver materials to the Library's 2nd floor service desk or send through campus mail.

How do students access the supplemental course resources?

Students may access supplemental course resources via UCMCROPS.

  • Access to UCMCROPS is limited to UC Merced faculty, students, and staff.
  • Students can look up copyrighted resources mounted on UCMCROPS by faculty name, course name, course number, or date of assignment.
  • There is no charge for access to digitized materials.
  • Students can choose to print out resources on any printer available to them. Students who print on UC Merced Library public-access printers will be charged the going rate for printing.
  • It is a violation of copyright for UC Merced students, faculty, or staff to redistribute digitized copyrighted materials to those who do not have legal access to them.
  • The Library will place copyright notices on all digitized copyrighted materials.

How do the digitized materials get on to UCMCROPS?

The Library has access to the"Resources" section of each UCMCROPs course and can upload materials.

If you have deleted the Library as an assistant, you can add the Library again using the following steps:

  • Log into UCMCROPS.
  • Select the course to which the Library will add materials.
  • Click "Site Info".
  • Click "Add Participants".
  • Username: type library into the box
  • Click "Continue".
  • Select the role "Assistant".
  • Click "Continue".
  • Click "Send Now". This will notify us that we have been added as an assistant.

How do I get my originals back?

The Library will notify you by email once your materials have been digitized. Either you, your curriculum assistant, or other designated proxy can pick them up in Room 275, Kolligian Library. We can also send you the materials through campus mail.

What about materials in non-print formats?

The Library will handle the digitization of non-print formats (VHS tapes, LPs, 35mm slides, etc.) on a case-by-case basis. Submitting non-print formats well in advance will insure that they will be ready when they are needed.

What if I have other questions?

For additional information on the Supplemental Course Resources program, please email


© UC Merced Library | 5200 North Lake Rd. Merced CA | 209-228-4444