Why are my online course materials no longer available at the library?
My assigned course materials have disappeared from the library's website. What gives?
The University Library strives to provide consistent and stable access to online collections, with particular attention paid to those materials we know are being utilized as assigned reading or viewing in courses. Similar to subscription services like Netflix or Hulu, many of the library's ebook, online journal/article, and streaming media providers regularly remove content from our subscription packages. The reasons for content removal vary, but typically land in one of the following categories:
- Outdated material/superseded edition
- Change in business model
- Loss of publisher/distribution rights
- Author/publisher requested removal
Some providers remove content on a schedule and give forewarning, while others neither follow a schedule nor give any warning. Further, some providers give us the option to permanently purchase the removed content, while others do not -- the content is simply gone and cannot be reacquired (in an online format).
How can I prevent this from happening to me in the future?
Unfortunately, the Library has no control over what/when content is removed by providers. We can, however, recommend some best practices to potentially mitigate the impact of content removal:
- Let us know what online library material(s) you are assigning in your courses, so we can notify you if we receive advance warning of the removal
- Double-check the links for online library materials in your syllabus and Blackboard/Canvas course at least 1 week in advance of the assignment, and contact us if anything is not working as expected: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Some content providers are more "stable" than others. If potential content removal is a concern, you can request that the library purchase permanent access (where available) to assigned course materials via our AL$ program. Here are our most common subscription ebook and steaming media providers, ordered from most to least reliably stable content:
Now that my assigned content is gone, can anything be done?
We are deeply sorry for the situation, and we will happily partner with you on potential solutions (up to and including the purchase of permanent replacement access, where available). Contact us at email@example.com and we'll get back to you no later than the following business day with options for resolution.
Where can I learn more about access and "ownership" in the digital age?
We're so glad you asked! We recommend the following for supplemental reading about this complex and challenging issue:
- Walled Culture
- Library Futures
- American Library Association
- International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
- The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy (2016), Aaron Perzanowski & Jason Schultz
Other comments, questions, or concerns? Contact Wendy Vermeer, Library Collection Services Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org