SU Libraries’ Instruction Support for Faculty, Instructors and Teaching Assistants (TA’s)

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Sept. 27, 2022, 4 p.m.
Tips for putting items on course reserve, exploring digital resources, showing videos and more.
3 people looking at rare book

by Ronald Figueroa, Michael Pasqualoni and John Stawarz

Whether you're a new teaching assistant or a long-established faculty member, Syracuse University Libraries offer a wide variety of services and resources to support your instruction and improve your students’ learning experiences.

Here are tips and strategies for putting items on course reserve, exploring digital resources such as eBooks from our collections, showing videos in class, supporting students with videos and tutorials about the research process, collaborating with librarians for library instruction sessions and sharing permalinks to online library resources. If you have any questions about these resources and services, or anything else that the Libraries can do to support you and your students, please contact SU Libraries or your subject librarian. You can also view a recording of a recent presentation on the ways that SU Libraries can support your instructional activities.

Course Reserves, Request, Delivery and Interlibrary Loan

Placing course materials on course reserves allows more students to use course reserve materials at the same time and provides easier access. The Libraries generally provide course reserves materials electronically so that all students, both on and off campus, can easily access materials. When an electronic version of a resource is not available, we will provide access to physical course reserves. Please submit your course reserve request several weeks prior to the start of the semester. Requests are generally processed in the order received and are typically completed within 1-2 days unless the item needs to be recalled or purchased. You can also contact our course reserves team ( for assistance.

Additional services include interlibrary loan, which can obtain materials needed for individual research that are not available in Syracuse University Libraries. Typical turnaround for a book is 5 to 7 days. Our Articles-to-Go-Services provides electronic delivery of articles or book chapters scanned from the Libraries' collection. The typical turnaround for scans is 24 to 48 hours. Both of these services can be requested through our Request, Delivery and Interlibrary Loan Portal. You can also contact our interlibrary loan team ( for assistance.

Users can submit a hold request for physical items in our catalog, such as books and DVDs, by clicking on “Request this item” on the item’s catalog page for pickup at one of our library locations. Finally, our Library-to-Go service provides delivery and pick-up services of library and interlibrary loan materials to faculty and graduate students to their respective academic department office mailbox. You can register by sending an email to Please include your name, department and building.

Showing Videos In Class

The Libraries offer video content that supports the teaching, research, and creative needs of the campus community. You can discover and explore videos through several locations on the library website, including the Summon search tool when filtering for video content, dozens of video databases and our Special Collections Research Center.

If you’re not able to find in our collection a video that you’d like to show in class or make available to your students, please contact your subject librarian or fill out the Suggest a Title form, and we’ll quickly try to license or acquire the additional video content. Please note, however, that not all videos can be licensed by the library, including original content created by Netflix and Hulu.

Finding Online And Digital Resources

The library’s website is a powerful intersection of general search engines and lists of databases, journals and research guides. These can be retrieved by title, subject discipline or by types of content. The top-level blue search box brings back relevant cross sections of search results sorted into so-called bento box lists. These are sorted into six separate boxes according to their points of origin being either:

  1. journal articles from scholarly publications, or
  2. books and book chapters, covering eBooks and physical books (the books bento box also includes references to government documents and doctoral dissertations within those results), or also look into bento box search results leading to
  3. librarian created research guides,
  4. collections of video,
  5. Summon search results of all content types spanning most licensed library databases, and
  6. general results in a box drawing from our website outside of licensed databases (often useful for surfacing library events and other resources or special services pertinent to search terminology one has entered).

Each bento box offers links labeled “more,” which expand that list of results and will usually allow a researcher to then add additional search filters or conduct more in-depth browsing.

Bento box search results from the initial blue search box emphasize a breadth of results. Faculty, TAs or students seeking greater depth of relevant results will usually encounter their best outcomes if they complement use of the top level search box with advanced summon searches (and apply relevant search result filters for a desired content type or publication date ranges or preferred languages or a highly effective summon result filter called, area of study). Not 100% of the licensed databases a research library supports are directly compatible with top level library search engines like summon or bento box results. Especially when working with source material that involves video or statistical data or sound recordings or business research, be sure to browse lists of available library databases, which are sortable by relevant subject areas or by types of content each database contains (e.g., video, statistics, news, eBooks, audio, images, patents, etc.). Navigating to specific journals, by individual title or sorted into discipline specific groupings, can also be accomplished using the library’s link to A-Z journals. That journals list compiles access points for all kinds of periodicals - scholarly journals, news and newspaper sources, trade and industry magazines, general popular magazines, opinion magazines and more.

Linking To The Libraries’ Online Resources

Rather than uploading pdfs of articles and other materials to your course website, linking to the library’s online resources provides permanent and stable links for students to gain access (even when off campus), supports best copyright practices, and allows SU Libraries to more accurately assess which resources are being used. For additional information about linking to library resources, please visit our guide on Linking to SU Libraries' Online Resources or contact the library for assistance.

Instructional Support and Resources

Libraries' staff are available to provide instruction either in-person or virtually, on library resources and services, online research databases, the research process and subject-specific collections and research skills. Instruction is delivered by a diverse team of librarians who teach in a multitude of spaces, employ a variety of pedagogical approaches, and reach a wide range of student populations. Depending on your course goals, instruction can take place in several modalities. To schedule a library instruction session, please contact your subject librarian or complete the instruction request form.

SU Libraries also offer a wide variety of asynchronous online resources to support student learning. Our online research guides serve as great starting points for students in every academic area, and we also offer guides for both specific courses and a wide variety of broader topics, such as citing sources, finding primary sources, and resources for writing your dissertation or thesis. We also encourage you to share with your students information about our online videos and tutorials explaining and demonstrating the research process, our Learn! at SU Libraries workshop series, and our Undergrad Nights drop-in events in Bird Library.

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