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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Health Information Resources for Developing Countries: Courses/Copyright

Information about providing health related resources to support clinical, research or educational programs in developing countries or resource-poor settings. Audience: University of Washington faculty, staff and students.


  • While you may be able to share documents with colleagues that you obtain via UW funded licenses, the use of these documents must comply with copyright law (UW page).
  • Under fair use guidelines often you can spontaneously copy and distribute copies of articles in classes, but that does not apply to gathering together collections of readings.
  • While you may link from class or program web pages to full text articles available under UW licenses, the access to these materials must be restricted to current UW faculty, staff and students.
  • People at institutions in developing countries with Hinari access may make multiple copies of materials to be distributed to people within that institution.  This is an exception to most licensing regulations which allows those institutions to share materials in more cost effective ways.
  • Consider downloading readings onto CDs or other electronic storage devices.  Internet access is often unavailable or unreliable; paper and photocopying are expensive.
  • While materials from organizations or open access journal articles may be downloadable from the web, if you are doing so for a group, check the copyright.  For example, all WHO documents are copyrighted and you must ask permission to copy / download them for classes.

Course Packs

Instructor's Guide to Reserves, Ereserves and Course Packs - FAQ discusses some of the issues to consider when providing materials to students.  Focuses on the UW setting, but still useful.

UW Course Packs A department within the University will pull together materials for you to distribute to students.  While this is a fee based service the department takes care of all the necessary paperwork for you to be copyright compliant after you provide them with copies of the materials.  The group is extremely knowledgable about copyright issues related to providing materials to students.

Fair Use / Teach Act

The Fair Use provision of Copyright law is intended to provide reasonable access to works without permission, when the use is limited and in the public interest rather than for commercial gain.  See the link to see a fuller explanation.

The TEACH Act revises the section of the U.S. Copyright Act that governs the use of copyrighted material for the purpose of education. Specifically it both modifies and clarifies the ways in which copyrighted material may be used in distance education by an "accredited nonprofit educational institution," without permission of the copyright owner

Copyright Law

UW Copyright Connection provides most the information you need in order to understand the implications of copyright for your work.

Copyright Information for Educators is a library guide related to copyright.

Selected Sources of Health-Related Online Course Materials

  • Food and Nutrition Library.  UN funded project with tutorials and full text documents.  Not updated since 2000 but much of the information basic and not quickly outdated.
  • Health Sciences Online A comprehensive collection of free top-quality courses and full text materials in the health sciences. Produced at U BC.
  • Heal HEAL is a digital repository that allows medical educators to discover, download, and re-use over 22,000 medical education resources.
  • MedEdPortal AAMC
  • Merlot  Health Sciences Portal, an educational resource for teaching and learning. U CA and others.
  • Supercourse: epidemiology, the internet and global health A repository of free lectures a repostitory of lectures on global health and prevention designed to improve the teaching of prevention. Supercourse has a network of over 56000 scientists in 174 countries who are sharing for free a library of 4832 lectures in 31 languages.

Selected Library Tutorials

Hinari includes information about how to use and find information on the site, search for information using Hinari PubMed and other search engines, and authorship skills.

PubMed tutorials explain many features of the search engine and related tools, including MyNCBI which allows users to create their own current awareness profile.

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