Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the ongoing migration to OWL Brightspace, some of the content on this webpage may be inaccurate. Contact with any Course Readings service questions or support needs.

What is the Course Readings Service?

A personalized service for making your supplemental course material available.

You can either send us your syllabus, and we'll handle the rest, or submit individual item requests.

We will:

  • Scan and upload print book chapters and articles
  • Ensure stable links to online resources
  • Place books and other physical items on short-term loan
  • Purchase new books for the collection
  • Assist with copyright compliance and pay clearance fees

As readings are processed, you'll see live status information.

For online resources, we provide usage statistics to inform curriculum evaluation and redevelopment.

Readings can be instantly imported across current and previous courses without re-input.

Who can use Course Readings?

Course Readings is a service for instructors and students of courses administered by the Office of the Registrar offered by Western main campus, King's University College, Huron University College, Brescia University College, and St. Peter's Seminary.

What type of material can go in Course Readings?

Course Readings handles most types of items including books, book chapters, articles, websites, audio and video, PowerPoint presentations, etc.

Wherever possible, we'll make the material available online as a file or web link. If the amount or nature of the work falls beyond the scope of fair dealing, the item will be placed on physical reserve for students to borrow at your preferred library.

Where can my students access physical materials?

We can place books and other physical items on short-term loan at your preferred library location.

Is there a deadline for submitting course readings?

Syllabi and item requests submitted one month prior to the start date of the course will receive priority. After this date, all readings will be processed as soon as possible, in the order they are received.

Please note that new purchases, items to be acquired via Interlibrary Loans, and items requiring copyright clearance may take longer to process.

What if I only have a couple required readings?

That's no problem! You can use Course Readings to provide any number of readings, whether it's a single textbook on reserve at the library, or 100+ online articles.

Submitting your requests individually can help expedite processing. See the steps for making individual item requests.

How do I add Course Readings into my OWL course site?

See our detailed instructions for adding the Course Readings external tool to OWL. If you're experiencing difficulties, please contact OWL Support at

How do I add a secondary instructor?

A secondary instructor can be designated to assist you in managing your readings for your course. This might be a teaching assistant or administrative assistant, for example.

To add a secondary instructor:

  1. Select the current or upcoming course
  2. Select "Manage Secondary Instructors" in the left side navigation
  3. Enter their Western username and click "Add Secondary Instructor"

If the secondary instructor is not found, have them login to Course Readings with their Western ID for the first time. They should now be eligible as a secondary instructor.

The items for my course say "Processing Complete - Awaiting Course Start Date". What does that mean?

Course Readings displays a live status for each item. Items with a "Processing Complete - Awaiting Course Start Date" status will be activated automatically when the course starts. Prior to the start date of the course, students cannot see any items. Students also cannot see items which have not been fully processed by library staff, e.g. "In reserves processing" or "Awaiting review by staff".