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Library Services

Digital course readings

What are digital course readings?

Our digital course readings service allows extracts from material which is not available in e-book or e-journal form to be made available to students in the form of scanned readings.

You can request a digital course reading via Reading Lists Online. You can do this yourself (after training from the Digitisation Team), or contact your subject librarian for help. Contact the Digitisation Team to arrange training for yourself and others in your department.

Scanned documents are uploaded to the reading list from which they have been requested. As with other types of library material, students can click on a link in their reading list and login using their IT username and password in order to view or locate each item on the list (see our Reading Lists online pages for further information about this).

What can be added to the digital course readings collection?

Extracts added to the digital course readings collection must conform to the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence which City holds. Library staff can advise on whether particular extracts may be digitised, but as a guideline all the following criteria must be met:

  • the number of pages to be digitised must not exceed 10% or one chapter or article of the whole of the published work or journal issue
  • the publisher and title must be covered by the Licence. Some publishers or titles are excluded; copy/paste an ISBN into the CLA's title search tool to see if a particular publication is covered for scanning purposes.and not excluded.
  • the extract may be taken from the most recent edition of the text, or an earlier edition if there is a pedagogical need for this.

Textbook substitution

NOTE: Students should be expected to purchase their own copies of certain essential texts. CLA-licensed digital course readings should not be used as an alternative to this. If you are unsure, please see the CLA guidelines or contact the Digitisation team for advice.

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What will it cost?

For material which is in stock in the Library and is readily available, there is no cost involved.

For material which is not in stock in the Library, the cost may vary; details can be found on the CLA website.

If the total cost of any single extract exceeds £50 Library staff will consult your department for approval before proceeding with the order.

Readings can be renewed from year to year at no recurring expense. They are made available to students for the entire duration of their course (not just the year in which they take a module).

As with other materials supplied by the Library, any costs incurred are deducted from the Library financial allocation for your school.

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What should I do next?

Contact your Subject Librarian if you would like us to order digital course readings for your students.

We will need the following information about the module to which the reading(s) apply:

  • Module name
  • Module code
  • School name
  • Lecturer's name
  • Student numbers (essential)
  • Term(s) in which module is taught

If the publication is available in the Library, the Digitisation team aims to make it available within 2 working days. Otherwise, we will notify you of any waiting time (for example, if a book needs to be ordered).

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May school staff make scanned readings and upload them to Moodle?

No. it is a requirement of our scanning licence that only authorised scans prepared by Library staff are shared with students,  otherwise there is a risk that copyright law may be infringed. This applies to all published material unless copyright has expired or permission has been granted by the copyright holder.

Further information

Please contact the Digitisation team or your subject librarian if you would like more information about digital course readings.

Our page on Copyright and Moodle gives advice about making material available to students via the VLE without contravening copyright law or licence terms

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.