Digitising Course Readings

How staff can request digitised copies of chapters and articles for reading lists and learn.gold.

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The Library, on behalf of Goldsmiths, subscribes to the CLA HE Licence that is offered by the Copyright Licensing Agency.

This licence allows us to take digital copies of chapters from printed or electronic books, or articles from journals and magazines, for incorporation into readinglists.gold.ac.uk or learn.gold.

All scanned resources for reading lists and learn.gold must abide by copyright licences and UK copyright law.

Please note that we are only able to digitise texts that are marked Essential on the reading list.

We can sometimes scan Recommended readings upon request, but Essential scans will be prioritised.  

There are some texts that our CLA licence does not allow us to scan.

In these cases, we recommend that where possible these be replaced with other texts on the reading list, in the interest of all students being able to access their essential readings electronically.

The Library Subject Team can guide students and staff in locating other suitable online texts that can be used for assignments.

How to request a digitisation

Once a reading list is submitted via the Reading List Submission Form, library staff will request digitisations for all Essential readings on that list. Alternatively, you can

Fill out the digital request form
Select digitisation from within the edit screen of a Reading List

Scanning will be done by library staff, who will check each request for copyright compliance before completing the scan, and will check that each scan works with screen reading software. 

The scan will then be uploaded to the reading list, where it can be accessed by clicking the ‘View Online’ button next to the appropriate text. 

Please allow as much lead time as possible.

Checking if something is included in our licence

Use the permissions search tool to check if your item is included.

Put the ISBN, ISSN or Title in the search box and select Higher Education from the drop-down menu before clicking the 'show permissions' button.

Who can request digital copies

The licence covers all full-time and part-time members of academic and administrative staff.

This includes those employed on permanent or fixed-term contracts, or those providing maternity, long-term sickness or other secondment cover.

The licence does not cover visitors, reference users or alumni.

What can be scanned

We are allowed to scan from books and journals published in the UK, and other 'International Territories' that are covered by the CLA licence, as long as the college owns a copy of the text.  

If we don't hold a printed or electronic copy of a book or journal, then we will liaise with the subject librarians about whether to purchase a copy for the library or request a copy-right-fee paid copy from the British Library document supply service.  

Please note that where we hold an electronic copy, we will only digitise the item if there are restrictions on access to it, for example, if our licences permit only one user to access an ebook at a time.

How much can be scanned

The amount of each book, journal or magazine that can be copied is restricted to a maximum of:

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

(Amounts given are per module, per academic year)

Text book substitution

The main purpose of the rights granted in the licence is to allow HEIs to make full use of their collections in support of the processes of learning, teaching and commercial research.

In this context, the making of copies under the Licence is not intended to substitute for the purchase of an original published edition or the commissioning of an original artistic work. 

Scanning notice and reporting

All digitised material must display a copyright cover sheet.

This is produced automatically by our digitised content management system and will precede the copied material, which is why scans must be requested using the form.

We must also record bibliographic and module details for each item and report this to the CLA every year. 

Reusing scanned material

If you wish to re-use material that has been scanned for previous years, you must inform the library.

You can contact us by emailing library_scanning@gold.ac.uk. 

What cannot be scanned

Material personally owned by individuals can only be scanned in exceptional circumstances. 

Types of 'Excluded Material' that may not be copied under the Licence include the following categories:

  1. printed music (including the words)
  2. maps, charts
  3. newspapers
  4. workbooks, workcards and assignment sheets
  5. any work on which the copyright owner has expressly and prominently stipulated that it may not be copied
    under a CLA Licence

Who can access digital copies

Digital copies stored in a Reading List or VLE can be downloaded and printed out (once only) by:

  • students registered on that course and staff directly involved in teaching the module
  • officers contracted by regulatory agencies such as QAA and REF.

Please note that completed scans will not be visible to users until the start dates put on the request form, or the term start dates given for a reading list on the reading list system.

They will also expire on the end date selected at the time of request and will no longer be viewable after that date.


There is no cost to departments for scanning or making digital copies of material held in Goldsmiths as the licence is college-wide.

There will be no charge to departments for copyright-cleared material requested from the British Library, this is covered by the library.

Rules for use

  • Scanned or copied material may be listed in online reading lists, but must not be included in the library catalogue. 
  • Strict procedures for secure authentication must be applied (in our case, via login with Goldsmiths credentials) to ensure that access to course. collections is limited to authorised persons only for the duration of that module 
  • The scanning or digital copying procedure should only be carried out by named library staff


For further information, email library_scanning@gold.ac.uk or talk to the team on Live Chat.