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Information for teaching staff: Scanning course materials

Guidance on getting Library resources to support your teaching, ways in which we can help develop your students' academic practices, and Library resources for supporting your teaching practice

What is the scanning service for?

If the item is available via our e-resource subscriptions, please link to the item via your online reading list.

If the item is not in stock, you can request a digitisation via your online reading list. Many published course materials can be scanned and made available in Blackboard, via your online reading lists. In order to comply with the terms of the CLA HE Licence this has to be done by the Library. (Please note that the rules on what can be scanned are different from the rules on photocopying).

How can the Library help?

In order to fully comply with the Licence terms and conditions, the provision of scanned course materials must only be undertaken by Library staff, who will:

  • undertake all the relevant copyright checks
  • arrange for the material to be scanned, producing files to high standard, which also meet disabled access requirements
  • ensure the correct copyright declarations are displayed alongside the scanned material
  • deposit and manage scanned files securely within the Talis Aspire Digitised Content Management system, which links seamlessly to your published online Talis Aspire Reading Lists
  • report all scanned and uploaded files to the CLA as required under the terms of the licence.
How long will it take?

We will do our best to ensure scanned extracts are available in time for the delivery of your course, but these processes can be time-consuming, and at certain times of year we receive a high volume of requests. If we have the item in stock and we are permitted, under the terms of the Licence, to scan from the edition held, our estimated turnaround time is between 3 and 10 working days. However, during peak periods, or when an item is not required for immediate use, this may be longer.

We therefore recommend you submit your requests to us at least four weeks before students are required to read the extracts in order that we can undertake the relevant checks, obtain requested materials if they are not held by the Library (a requirement of the Licence), process the scans and link these to your online reading list.

How do I make a scanning request?

When you have added a resource to your online reading list, you can use the 'Request Digitisation' button in the item menu on the right of the screen. Complete the form with details of the chapter/article you would like to request. Your Academic Liaison Librarian will contact you if there are any queries. Once the scan has been created, it will be available through the online reading list.


How do I place a request if I don’t have an online (Talis Aspire) reading list?

If you require an item to be scanned which does not appear on a reading list, please submit your request via our online request form (link below).

N.B. If you intend to later link this scan to a reading list, we would strongly recommend that you create a list on the Talis Aspire system first, bookmark the relevant item, and then request the scan via the 'Request digitisation' link.

You will need the full bibliographic details of the item you wish to have scanned (including the article/chapter title and page numbers), the module code and estimated student numbers in order to submit this form. 

Need help or advice?

Additional information on scanning

What can be scanned?

In general, we are permitted to scan:

  • Up to 10% or one chapter of a book 
  • Up to 10% or one article of a journal issue 
  • Up to 10% or one paper of one set of conference proceedings 
  • Up to 10% or one report of a single case from a report of judicial proceedings 
  • Up to 10% of an anthology of short stories or poems or one short story or one poem of not more than 10 pages.

If your item does not match these limits, we recommend that you use a different source for some of the material, or request the purchase of non-loan copies of the source material to meet student demand.

Institutional ownership of the item to be scanned

In order to comply with the terms of the Licence the University of Reading must own the original print version of the item requested for scanning.

If the University - as an institution - does not own the item (e.g. if it is not in the Library or your Departmental resource centre, but rather is a personal copy owned by an individual lecturer), your Liaison Librarian will need to contact you to confirm your department permits the purchasing of a print copy, using your departmental library budget, or a copyright-cleared photocopy for a fee. This can then be scanned.

If an online version is available to purchase this is preferable to scanning in order to widen access to this material for your students. Your Academic Liaison Librarian can advise on the costs involved.

Newspaper articles

The University holds an NLA (Newspaper Licensing Agency) licence which covers the scanning of newspaper articles.

What can't be scanned?

If you place a scanning request via your reading list (or via our online request form if you do not have a reading list for the module/course of study), we will initially check whether your request can be scanned under the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency HE Licence and let you know if there are any problems.

In general, however, there are certain excluded categories, such as printed music, hymns, newspapers (see alternative arrangement below), maps and charts, and workbooks or assignment sheets which cannot be copied under the terms of the Licence.

There are also excluded works, some of the most notable being the complete works of Dylan Thomas and J D Salinger, for example.  If you wish to check yourself whether an item is covered by the Licence for scanning or photocopying, you can use the following site:

In addition to this, some materials from UK and international publishers are not covered by the terms of the Licence for scanning, although they may permit photocopies of this material to be made instead.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding copying or scanning under the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency’s Higher Education Licence, please contact:

What can be scanned under the terms of the licence?

Under the terms of the University's CLA HE Licence, only scanned extracts requested for courses taught from the University's UK campuses can be uploaded to Blackboard and online reading lists.

  • Original material in print format must already be owned by the University.
  • Only Library staff may make and distribute scanned material. 
  • Scanned materials can only be made available to students currently taking a specific module. 
  • Material scanned by Library staff will comply with the other terms and conditions of the licence. These include: 
    • ensuring appropriate quality control;
    • ensuring scanned material is within the prescribed limits set out by the Licence; 
    • attaching a CLA copyright notice.
  • Scanned course materials from published works (print or online) have to be reported to the CLA annually.

For more information see the 'Additional information on scanning' box below.