ERes Enjoys E-resistability
By Ariana Cohen-Halberstam

This semester professors are using Electronic Reserve more than ever before. ERes, a site upon which Oberlin students are provided with immediate access to class materials, can be reached through the Oberlin website.
For the College, ERes conquers a lot of would-be copyright concerns. Unlike articles that are photocopied and handed out in class, ERes articles have to pass through many hands before being scanned. This process ensures that unintentional copyright violations will be noticed before the materials are distributed. ERes guidelines also notify professors that they must include a notice of copyright with all articles.
“I had to lead a discussion group about three articles on reserve [but] when I was gathering quotes the library was already closed, so it was nice to have [the sources] on ERes — right in my dorm room,” sophomore Julie Medalie said. Because the reserve room is open only until 11:45 p.m., and many students study deep into the night, the availability of reserve materials from one’s own computer is essential.
Yet ERes has the potential to help causes much larger than those of sleep-deprived students and copyright lawyers. By eliminating photocopies the College may be able to decrease the amount of paper wasted on campus.
The influence of ERes on the environment, though, seems minute. Some professors supplement ERes readings with handouts. Also, because students find it tedious to read from computer screens, many students print ERes articles.
“Ironically, where computers have become more [omni]present…people [tend] to print more often…and so use more paper than they previously consumed. This is an example of a so-called revenge effect of a technology — it introduces an unanticipated change that ‘bites back’ in unexpected ways that can actually counterbalance its apparent advantages,” environmental studies/philosophy professor David Macauley said.
The process by which professors post articles on ERes is complicated. Professors must turn ERes articles into the library three weeks before classes commence—one week before other reserve materials are due. The fact that loading articles onto ERes is so time consuming may partially be responsible for the poor quality of the image, and thus, the increasing number of ERes articles printed.
Professors note the ease with which students approach ERes readings. It is because students appreciate being able to do assigned readings from the comfort of their dorm rooms that professors continue to post documents online. Professors use ERes because it provides “easier access for students. More students can access the material at the same time, [it is] easier to get a printed copy if needed, [and there is] no problem with lost copies at the reserve room,” economics professor Sylvestre Gaudin said.
Also, by providing course materials online, professors help ensure that students will read assigned documents.
The main library electronic reserve guidelines recommend ERes to professors because it eliminates competition between students in the rush to access reserve material. ERes also allows students to utilize information from books that are not yet available, are out of print or are excessively expensive.
“I think ERes kicks ass,” sophomore Christopher Fry said.

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