Skip to main content

Musselman Library Services and Resources During Summer 2020 Reopening: Scanning Course Materials

Scanning and Copyright


At this time, Musselman Library is closed.  Scanning of materials by library staff is suspended until the library can re-open.

We recognize that faculty and students may need digital access to course materials should classes transition to online format as a result of COVID-19. This page outlines our interpretation of what is permissible under Fair Use from a copyright standpoint.

Copyright questions or concerns? Contact the Library Copyright Committee at

Scanning Course Materials

Scanning course materials necessary to support online classes

  • Faculty may need to provide online access to course materials already owned by students if they cannot access them due to the extended spring break/campus closure. 
  • We believe that providing a temporary, convenience copy under these circumstances constitutes a Fair Use of the Copyright Act*. We strongly recommend that faculty and staff follow our scanning recommendations.
  • Faculty and staff may scan course materials and post to Moodle, with Fair Use in mind.
    • The Fair Use evaluation checklist from Columbia University is a straightforward tool that can help determine Fair Use. 
    • See the library’s guide on Fair Use for more information. We are available to consult about Fair Use determinations.
  • "But what if I don't have a scanner?" We are hearing good reports from people using phone apps like CamScanner and Genius Scan. You can also scan with Google Drive (Android only).
    • Use your smartphone to take pictures of your texts and the app will convert them to pdf.
    • Consider dividing up the work of scanning among students who have clean copies of the book.
*For more context, see COVID-19, Copyright, & Library Superpowers (Part I) by Kyle Courtney, Copyright Advisor and Program Manager at Harvard University

Scanning Recommendations

Scanning Recommendations

  • All scanned material must be searchable, so scan with OCR (optical character recognition).
    • Non-OCR scans are basically pictures of a whole page. OCR is necessary for individuals who require assistance from screen readers, but searchable documents are good for everyone.
    • Scanners with OCR capability are located in every department office, where faculty and administrative assistants are encouraged to scan course materials if needed. Please contact IT if you need assistance with these machines.
    • Additionally, there are four public scanners (with OCR) located in Musselman Library. We recommend bringing a USB drive on which to save your file, as the files may be too large to transmit via email.
  • Include a cover page on all scans. It contains the following disclaimer: “This material is intended for temporary, personal use of enrolled Gettysburg College students only during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Users are not permitted to upload or share materials beyond the class community.”
  • Only scan the portion of the work that is needed to support teaching in a given week. For example, if students have already read chapters 1-5 and are now expected to read chapters 6-10, only scan and upload chapters 6-10.
  • Only share readings via Moodle, which is restricted to enrolled students. Limit the time that these scans are available in Moodle.
  • See our video on uploading content to Moodle and limiting access by date.