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Cambridge University Library and the Faculty and Departmental Libraries are now closed to the public. Please check our FAQs for information on how to access Library services during this time.

Cambridge University Library

Image: Celestial Spheres from ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt (MS Nn.3.74, f.15v), Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library

***UPDATE 19 March 2020: Cambridge University Library is now closed until further notice. You can find more information on CUL's dedicated webpage (, library websites, and social media accounts.

While the library building is closed, staff still have access to the library's electronic archive and will do our best to try to help you.

If you would like to request a copy of an item from the collection of Cambridge University Library and/or permission to use it in your project, please email***

Ordering images and arranging for permission to use them

To request copies of items from the collection of Cambridge University Library, please complete the online imaging and permissions request form:

If you would like to learn more about how we process your request, please find a summary below.

  1. Online form

    1. Depending on how you plan to use the copies you are requesting, you can choose one of the three options:
      1. If you need copies to use for private study and non commercial research only, please choose the option ‘Images/copies for private study only’. If you would like to use the images further, but at this point you are not sure about all the project details, CUL can offer a copy for your own research and you can request permission to use after your project details have been finalised.
      2. If you need copies of CUL collection items and permission to use them in a project like a publication or broadcast, please choose the option ‘Images/copies for all other uses (including academic and commercial use)’. (Please make sure you have all the usage details from your publisher/project coordinator/broadcaster, including starting date, print-run, and format (print, electronic etc) Please note that this option is not available for theses.
      3. If you already have high resolution CUL-supplied copies of collection items and only need permission to use them in your project - please choose the option ‘Permission to use only – images/copies previously supplied by Cambridge University Library’. You will be asked to supply the filenames you received, the image order number you were given, or any other reference that could help us locate your original request to the Library for supplying you with these copies.
    2. Please give us as much information as possible for each item you are interested in, and ideally send us links to a CUL catalogue or any other online references you may have available that could help us correctly identify the image(s) you would like.
    3. You can request copies from up to five items with each request.
    4. We deliver uncompressed jpg files, at 600ppi in 1:1 scale with colour depth of 8bit per channel in RGB (Adobe 1998) colour space. If you would like us to deliver tif files, please let us know at the point of asking for the images.
    5. Once you have submitted your form, you will receive an auto-reply confirming the details of your order.
    6. Please keep a record of your order number for future reference.

Please note:

  • If you are a Librarian arranging for the supply of a copy on behalf of a reader, please ask the Library patron to submit the request. They will receive an auto-reply confirming the details of their request and their order reference number. Please contact us with this order number to arrange for payment on their behalf.
  • Completing the form does not constitute an obligation to purchase the requested copies.
  1. Quoting

    1. We will provide you with a quote within two weeks. Orders might involve a curator or conservator to check the material before it can be safely imaged, so some requests may take longer. We will try to send you an update for requests where delays are expected.
    2. If you have requested items to be sent by post, the postage fee should be listed in the quotation. If you cannot see it there, we assume that delivery will be made via a download link.
    3. Quotations are valid for thirty (30) days and unless payment is received, your request will be cancelled after this time. If you need the copies in the future, you will need to restart the process. If you need more time to arrange for the payment, please let us know (by emailing with your order number) and we will keep your request open.
    4. If you have also asked for permission to use, we will confirm if any usage fees would apply soon after you receive a quote for the image supply.

Please note:

  • Special collections items can usually only be imaged using professional or specialist photography. Only modern printed material is suitable for photocopying (depending on its condition).
  1. Payment

    1. Our quotation will state the amount you will need to pay along with instructions on how to make a payment. 
    2. The easiest way to pay is via Cambridge University's secure online payment system where you can pay by debit or credit card and receive a formal receipt from the University. Please let us know if you would like to pay by bank transfer or cheque on the receipt of an invoice.
    3. Only after you make a payment can we supply the images.
    4. With the exception of scans of microfilm reels, images are dispatched within 30 days from receipt of payment.
    5. Digitisation of whole microfilm reels may take up to 12 weeks.
    6. An express delivery option may be available in some cases. This would mean that for an additional fee we may be able to dispatch the items to you within two working days from receipt of payment. Please let us know if you would be interested in this option.

Please note:

  • The minimum fee for all orders is 15 GBP excl. VAT (18 GBP incl. VAT if it applies).
  • If due to the volume of the material you have requested, we need more time to deliver the copies, we will let you know as soon as possible.
  1. Delivery of copies

    1. Unless requested otherwise, we will send your requested copies as a download link via email.
    2. If you have requested the copies to be sent by post, we will email you to notify you when we have sent them out.
    3. Please check the supplied copies within 7 days of receiving your order and contact us if there are any issues.
    4. Please keep a record of the filenames you receive (and relevant classmarks) for future reference.

Please note:

  • We can only deliver each copy in one format (we cannot deliver a copy of a document both as an electronic download and by post).
  1. Permission for use

    1. When completing the online form, please add any additional information that is relevant to your publication and should be included in the linence in the Description/Notes field.
    2. Permission is given on acceptance of our licence terms and payment of an appropriate fee (if required). A guide to fees is available online.
    3. The easiest way to pay is via Cambridge University's secure online payment system where you can pay by debit or credit card and receive a formal receipt from the University. Please let us know if you would like to pay by bank transfer or cheque on the receipt of an invoice.
    4. Once usage fees have been received and the images have been supplied, we will email you an agreement for the specific use.
    5. Please keep a copy of the licence and any relevant invoices for future reference.

Please note:

  • The Library is unable to offer provisional licences, so please submit the full details of your project when applying for permission to use the supplied images. The Library can only offer rights for one edition only with a specific print-run and for a specific term.
  • CUL will not object in principle to the use of any Library-supplied material in academic publications but we will need to have a licence in place. Please contact us after your manuscript has been accepted and you have been asked to clear permissions.
  • Images created from the Library's holdings are subject to copyright law. If you wish to reproduce image(s) from Library material that is still in copyright it will be your responsibility to clear any permissions required. The licensing process described here is concerned with obtaining permission to use the Library's images, not any further underlying rights.


Reviewed 4th February 2019

Contact us

Digital Content Unit
Cambridge University Library
West Road

Phone: +44 (0) 1223 765741
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 339684



Request copies or images



Audio-visual Services:


  • Imaging of library materials (including theses)
  • Licensing of Library materials
  • Product photography for catalogues, exhibitions etc.
  • Event and conference photography
  • Video making – events, interviews, conferences, short films
  • Multispectral photography
  • 3D photogrammetry


Digitisation Services:

  • Support to researchers in planning digitisation projects
  • Support for large-scale imaging projects, including off-site imaging
  • Help and advice on technical issues such as metadata and imaging standards
  • Hosting of digitised collections from other institutions