The Library offers a digitisation service for staff whereby chapters from books or journal articles can be scanned and added to Blackboard for use by students on a specific module. This can be particularly useful when class sizes are very large, there is no electronic access, or the text is out of print. The service is governed by the Copyright Licence Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence. There are some restrictions as to what can be scanned and how the service can be used but library staff carry out all the necessary checks and complete all the licensing work on your behalf.

To use the service simply complete the online form. If you are a new user, click on 'New User'. You will need to register and set up a password before you can submit any requests. Guidance on registering and completing the online form can be found here.

If you require any further information about the digitisation service, have a look at the FAQ section below or email

CLA scanning service FAQs

What happens after I submit my request for digitisation?

When we have your request we will: 

  • Check that the material is covered by the licence.
  • Obtain the materials from stock or acquire a copyright paid copy from the British Library.
  • Arrange for the materials to be uploaded to the CLA Digital Content Store 
  • Provide you with a url so that your students can access the the scan from Blackboard.
How long does it take to get the scan complete and ready for use in Blackboard?

We will try process your request as quickly as possible but at busy times of the year you should allow up to 5 working days for your requests to be processed. If items need to be obtained from the British Library, then it may take slightly longer.

Can I scan the material myself?


The licence stipulates that the preparation and distribution of digital copies can only be carried out by designated staff. Academic staff are not authorised to scan copyright materials themselves and upload to Blackboard as the licence does not allow this.

What can be scanned using our CLA licence?

Not all published works are covered by the CLA Higher Education Licence. The following categories of works are excluded: 

  • Printed music (including the words)
  • Maps and charts
  • Newspapers
  • Any work on which the copyright owner has expressly and prominently stipulated that it may not be copied under a CLA licence: workbooks, workcards or assignment sheets

In addition to these excluded categories there are lists of excluded works and specific US titles that are not covered by the CLA licence. The CLA have a developed a useful Title Search which can be used to check whether a specific book is covered by the licence. Library staff will check that the book is covered by the licence before authorising any scan.

How much am I allowed to scan?

There are limits to the amount that can be scanned under the licence, which are similar to the amounts that can be photocopied. These are: 

  • One complete chapter of a book
  • One complete article from a journal issue 
  • One paper from a set of conference proceedings 
  • One report of a single case from a report of judicial proceedings 
  • One short story or one poem of not more than 10 pages in an anthology of short stories or poems 
  • One scene from a play

In addition the scanned copy should be made from:

  • The original book, journal and normally a copy of this must be held by the University
  • Material which was originally published in the UK or US with the exception of publishers who have not signed up to the licence 
  • Materials supplied from the British Library using their copyright fee paid materials 
  • Material that is already available electronically in the Library will not be scanned under our CLA licence
What is text book substitution?

When choosing material to digitise for particular modules the scanned material should be provided to enrich the students’ learning experience. It should not be used to create a collection that would cover substantially the same material as a standard textbook and it should not be created to provide students with an alternative to buying a textbook for their course - i.e. text book substitution. The CLA Good Practice Guide provides useful advice on how to use the scanning service to enhance your teaching.

What if the item is not covered by the licence or I want to copy more than the amount permitted by the licence?

If the item is not covered by the licence or you want to copy more than one chapter or 10% then you will need to contact the copyright owner to get their written permission.

Can I use the same scan in a different module?

Yes you can but you must email to let them know that you want to use the scan in an additional module. We will then provide you with a new url so that you can link to the scanned chapter in the CLA Digital Content Store.

Can I use the scans for the same module in subsequent years?

Yes. You do not need to tell us you are using the scans in subsequent years as we will know which scans are still in use.