AdoptaText is the IMSS application for faculty, instructors, and administrative staff to place textbook orders.  This can include "adopting" or designating materials as required or suggested.  Once a textbook as has been added for a class, the Library works with the vendor MBS Direct to make sure that there are copies of adopted textbooks available for students to purchase. A list of all textbooks will be posted on the Registrar's website each term so that students can choose to purchase their books from other online retailers.

When adding textbooks into AdoptaText for students to buy, textbooks can also be added for Course Reserves. This can include required textbooks students are to buy as well as supplemental materials that students are not required to purchase.  

Before starting with AdoptaText

Helpful terms to remember:

  • Delegates - Faculty automatically have access to AdoptaText. If you are an administrative assistant and need access to AdoptaText so that you can add textbooks for a faculty member, please email adoptatext [at]
  • Desk copies - Some publishers provide desk copies to instructors who are using their textbook for a class. Please contact publishers directly to enquire about the availalbility of a desk copy. Often there are forms that can be completed online so that a desk copy can be mailed to campus.
  • ISBNs - If you are having trouble determining the ISBN for a book that you'd like to use, please email textbooks [at]

Adding material to AdoptaText

  1. Log in to
  2. Under "Academic Services," select "Course Book Requirements (AdoptaText)." (If you do not see this link, please email adoptatext [at]
  3. Click the "Find Courses" tab located across the top.

  4. Select the Division and the Department of the course.  Be sure the academic term is correct.  The "For Term" provides a drop-down to select the appropriate term.  Be sure to click on "Reload" for it to take effect.  Please note, that AdoptaText defaults to the upcoming term so in most cases, there is no need to change this.

  5. If you are reusing textbooks from a previous term (same or different course), you can copy those contents right into the current term.  Use "Find Courses" to find the course and change the academic term to when the materials were last used (remember to click on "Reload").  Once you access the course, click on "Copy contents."  Then, find the course to which you want the contents to copy.  It will copy both the textbooks which students are to buy as well as the library reserves.

  6. If you are entering textbooks not previously used, once you find the course, you click on the "Add Book" button and enter the information for the textbook.  The author, title, ISBN, and number of copies are required fields.  The number of copies is very helpful for MBS Direct so they know the type of demand and inventory to have on hand for the book.  Caltech is not obligated to purchase any extra books not purchased by students.  Finally, please make sure you select "Required" or "Suggested" for the text.  This can be helpful to students who are deciding on their purchasing choices.
  7. You can also add any additional information that will be seen by the students. 
  8. To save time, if you want this book to be placed on course reserve at the library, you can check the box next to "Also place this book on library reserve." 
  9. Please note, if you are not requiring students to purchase any books for the course, you can click on the "No books needed" button
  10. Be sure to click "Save" before leaving the page. 

Adding Course Reserves (Books)

For books you wish to place on library course reserve, the process is much the same.  However, as mentioned under Adding material to AdoptaText, when adding a book for purchase, you can save time by checking the box next to "Also place this book on library reserve" for any book you wish to also be on reserve.

  1. Log in to
  2. Under "Academic Services," select "Course Book Requirements (AdoptaText)."
  3. Click the "Find Courses" tab located across the top. 

  4. Select the Division and the Department of the course.  Be sure the academic term is correct.  The "For Term" provides a drop-down to select the appropriate term.  Be sure to click on "Reload" for it to take effect.  Please note, that AdoptaText defaults to the upcoming term so in most cases, there is no need to change this.

  5. You can also add books that you only want to be on library course reserve by clicking on "Add Reserve."

  6. Select what type of material the reserve is--book or a DVD/VHS/CD.
  7. The author and title fields are also required but if you can provide additional information like edition, year, and ISBN, it will be helpful for us to make sure we get the right item on reserve.
  8. We also require that you select the number of copies you would prefer be on reserve, which library (SFL or Geology) and the reserve type (open or closed).  Open Reserves are available on the first floor of the Sherman Fairchild Library, browsable, and only need to be checked out if a student wants to leave the library with it.  Closed reserves are held behind the circulation desk and must be checked out to look at it.
  9. Finally, you can add any additional information that will assist staff in placing the item on course reserve.
  10. Be sure to click "Save" before leaving the page.
  11. If AdoptaText is closed or unavailable, you can contact circ [at] to send reserve requests. 

Adding Electronic Course Reserves (journal articles, book chapters/selections, course notes and other materials)

Journal articles, book chapters/selections, course notes, and other materials could be be made available to students through electronic reserves.  The Library will provide assistance in creating electronic reserves for students.  It is important to remember the following deciding if electronic reserves are right for you:

  • If only a short selection of a book is needed for a course, it may be easier and cheaper to provide this selection electronically versus requiring the students to purchase the whole book or placing the book on reserve at the library.  The Library will conduct a fair use analysis to determine if the selection is viable for electronic course reserves.
  • If an article is required for the course, the Library will check the availability of the article.  If accessible through the Library's holdings, we will assist the instructor in making the article available to the students.
  • If an instructor has unpublished material such as course notes, solutions, or practice exams, we can assist in scanning these and making them available electronically. 
  • There are advantages to using electronic reserves:
    • The material is available to all students registered for the course; all of the time.
    • Students no longer have to physically come to the library.
    • There is no need for students to compete for the limited amount of copies.  Students can access the scanned version all at the same time.
    • By making them available digitally, it saves paper.  Students do not need to make photocopies. 
  • There are disadvantages to using electronic reserves:
    • Due to our copyright guidelines, we are restricted from posting everything as an electronic reserve.   Scanning large portions of books is one such example.  Please see our copyright guidelines tab for more information.   
    • Because scanning and creating links can take time, it will take 1-3 days to process a full course list of electronic reserves (depending on the number).
  • If you have questions or possible e-reserves you would like to place for a course, please contact David McCaslin (djm [at]

Copyright Guidelines

  • Copyright Guidelines for course reserves are considered in compliance with U.S. Code: Title 17, Section 107 governing Fair Use
  • The factors in determining Fair Use are: The service of electronic reserves by the library will respect fair use rights, the rights of copyright holders, and current copyright law
    1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
    3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
  • Material will only be placed on reserve for the noncommercial, educational use of students
  • All materials placed on reserve will be reproduced from copies lawfully obtained by either the requesting faculty member or the library
  • Only limited amounts of copyrighted material may be reproduced for reserve
  • The Caltech Library or the instructor for the course must own the material to place it on course reserves.  Interlibrary loan material may not be placed on course reserve.
  • All files will include a complete citation and notice of copyright as the first page indicating that they may be subject to copyright restrictions
  • Authentication will be required for access to reserve files. Readings will be accessible only by course number, course name or instructor name


What do I do if I missed the cut-off dates in AdoptaText?
You can always email adoptatext [at] and submit your course reserves.  If submitted after the deadline date, we cannot guarantee the item will be available on the first day of class. 

Can I place Harvard Business Case Studies on Reserve?
Harvard Business School Case Studies are designed for classroom use by individual students. They are similar to course packs. Licensing restricts use to individuals. The Caltech Library cannot purchase these materials, and cannot obtain them through Interlibrary Loan. However, you may purchase a copy of any case yourself for individual use directly from Harvard Business Publishing for $8.95:

Go to the Harvard Business Review Store (click on Case Studies)

A separate copy must be purchased by or for each individual student. First, you must already have purchased a single copy of the product you wish to reproduce. If you need to make additional copies to distribute, you must purchase copyright permission (check the “Add copyright permissions” during the purchasing process and add the number of students). Access to case studies expires six months after purchase date.

Can I choose a loan period longer than 3 hours?
While 3 hours is the standard loan period for print reserves, we can change the loan period to 24 hours or 48 hours.