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Subject Guides

Reading Lists: a Practical Guide

Request digitisation

Digitisation Requests

The Library can digitise (scan) extracts, chapters and articles added to Reading Lists under the terms of our CLA (Copyright Licencing Agency) HE Licence

  • We ensure that scans are copyright-compliant and securely stored. The scans will be linked to your lists and can be downloaded by staff and students associated with the module for which it was requested.
  • We fulfill around 3,000 requests per year. Material is scanned at high quality with OCR (optical character recognition) and full colour images as standard.
  • We endeavour to make all scans available in advance of the date for which they are required. In order to do this, we prioritise requests so that those needed soonest are completed first. 

Placing a request

Placing a digitisation request is easy - Click Add tags to item (or the pencil icon) and choose Digitisation Request. Note that this tag will not be visible to students. 


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Please also ensure that the page range, chapter or article title is provided in the item details. You can send further details of your request by leaving a note in the Library discussion thread.

Library Discussion for digitisation

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Tip - if you want to digitise a chapter in addition to recommending a whole book you may wish to have two separate entries on your reading list so that it is clear to students that there are both recommendations.

When your request has been processed the Library will create a link to download the scan PDF. This will appear as a View Online link below each item. Students can then click and download their reading instantly.


Scans will have a copyright notice attached as the first page which outlines the terms of usage.

Scan copyright notice

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Please note that links to scans can only be shared with staff and students associated with the specified module. Scan PDFs should not be uploaded elsewhere or sent as email attachments. 

How to get help

The Reading Lists team can provide advice and support on the following:

  • Updates on the progress of individual requests.
  • Guidance on complying with the CLA licence.
  • Help with finding alternative solutions when digitisation is not possible.

Please email the team at

We also have a Practical Guide for further information on copyright.

What can I ask for?

The CLA HE Licence sets a limit on the proportion of a published work which can be scanned for any given module (whichever is greater):

  • 1 complete chapter from a book, or 10% of the total pages
  • 1 article or 10% of the total pages from a journal issue or set of conference proceedings
  • 1 story/poem (max. 10 pages) or 10% of the total pages from an anthology

The Library cannot process digitisation requests for works which are already available through the catalogue in an electronic format (e.g. an ebook or ejournal).

If the Library does not stock the source material then we can often purchase a digital copy of the extract required from the British Library with copyright clearance to share with students.

Please note that York Minster Library and National Railway Museum collections do not come under the scope of our CLA Licence. Please check to see if an alternative copy is in stock at the JB Morrell Library, Harry Fairhurst Building, Raymond Burton Library or King's Manor Library before submitting your request. 

Permissions clearance service

Although most UK and major international publishers have an agreement in place with the CLA, there are some titles and publishers who are not covered by the HE Licence. If the Library cannot fulfil your digitisation request immediately under the terms of the Licence, then we can try contacting the publisher directly for special permission. 

The time taken to complete each request will vary according to the publisher or rightsholder. We therefore cannot guarantee that digitised material will be available in time for teaching, although we endeavour to fulfill all requests as quickly as possible. 

Clearance fees may be charged by the publisher or rightsholder based on the number of students on the course or the length of the requested extract. The Library will manage these charges, but we cannot guarantee that a request will be fulfilled if the fee is prohibitive. Each request will be overseen by the Academic Liaison Librarian for your department.