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Cambridge University Library


Digital Content Unit

The Library offers a wide range of imaging services for its Special Collections, depending on the nature of the material. For further information, contact the Digital Content Unit.

Special Collections Scan and Deliver

Members of staff or students at the University may order free low resolution digital scans of Special Collection items for personal research use.   

This service is available if:

  • you are a member of staff or a student at the University ( including ICE staff and students and our NHS partners)

  • the material you need is suitable for scanning (some material may be too fragile, too large, or may have copyright restrictions applied)

  • the volume of your request is reasonable

Complete the imaging order form and we will be in touch to discuss if we can supply a low-resolution scan. If your request can be filled, we will provide you with a digital file of a quality that should allow you to read and transcribe if necessary.

If your request does not meet these requirements, you will receive a quotation for the supply of high resolution images. 

Self-service photography

Readers may use their own cameras to take still photographs of Special Collections material in the Anderson (Music), East Asian, Manuscripts, Maps and Rare Books Reading Rooms. If you wish to take your own photographs you must first speak to staff on the desk and read the information sheets on self-service photography and copyright provided. Photographs may be taken for non-commercial research or private study only.

Cameras and camera phones must be hand-held, and must be capable of being set to 'silent'. SLRs, tripods, 'mini-pods', hand-held scanners and flash photography are not permitted. Please note also that some collections are subject to restrictions and may not be photographed; staff will provide guidance on this.

Please see our full guidelines for further information.


Please see our Contacts page for details of how to get in touch with us.

Exhibition loans

We welcome enquiries about borrowing Special Collections items for exhibitions. Please see our document 'The loan of items to external exhibitions: policy and guidelines' for details of how to apply for an exhibition loan.



Image credit: Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827), ‘Inside view of the Public Library, Cambridge' (1809) (Maps Fr.y.14)