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You can order free digital scans of Special Collections items for personal research use, as well as items including maps,  sheet music, microfilms, theses and items in the Asian & Near and Middle Eastern collections.

Who can use this service? 

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 (likely to be no more than c. 50 scans per order).


How do I order scans? 

Complete the imaging order form. Please choose the option ‘Images/copies for private study only’ and use your institutional email address. A step by step guide is available to help you complete the form. Staff will contact you within a week to confirm if your order can be fulfilled by the Scan and Deliver service. 

If your request does not meet Scan & Deliver requirements, we will contact you to discuss possible alternative solutions. 


Is this the right service to use? 

If you are unsure whether this service is right for you, contact our expert curators who will be able to discuss your questions over the phone or via a video call, and may be able to check material on your behalf in order to answer specific questions.  

If you are in a position to do so, you may prefer to visit the Library to consult the item in a Special Collections reading room.


How quickly will I receive my scans? 

Requests will be processed from Monday to Friday. We aim to produce scans, subject to conservation approval and appropriate copyright restrictions, within two weeks. 


How will my scans be delivered? 

Scans will be delivered via  G-Suite@Cambridge, which is very similar to Google Drive. You will be emailed a link to  G-Suite@Cambridge  when your scan is ready. You will be able to access the scan via this link. Please be aware that you will need to log in to  G-Suite@Cambridge  with your Cambridge email address, and not any other personal Google account. To do this, you may need to log out of your personal Google account, and log back in with your Cambridge email address and password. 


What is the quality of the scans? 

The Special Collections Scan and Deliver service provides colour PDFs at 300dpi. They should be of sufficient quality to read and transcribe the text if necessary but they are for research use only and are not suitable for publication. 


What items can be requested? 

Only Special Collections items, including maps, sheet music, excerpts from microfilms and theses and items from the Asian and Near and Middle Eastern collections can be requested.  


Can I request a high resolution scan? 

If you need images of CUL collection items along with 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’ when completing the imaging order form. A step by step guide to completing the form is available. 


What copyright restrictions are in place? 

Scan requests are made for non-commercial research and private study as per  s.29  of the  Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Library staff are authorised to make scanned copies under  s.42A  and  s.43. There are stipulations regarding the amount that can be scanned, the use of copyright declaration forms and conditions of supply.  

When you request a scan, you will be asked to confirm that you acknowledge a copyright declaration which states that you have not already been supplied with a copy of the same material, that you will use the copy only for non-commercial research or private study, nor supply the copy to another person.  Copyright forms will be retained by the University Library in perpetuity.  Further information on the UL’s privacy policy can be found   here.  

Scans are provided with certain conditions of supply:  

  1. Not pass on, or upload, the electronic copy or make it available to any other person  
  2. Not make further printed or electronic copies  

Further information on copyright is available on the Legal Services Office  Copyright Compliance pages.  


Can I use Scan & Deliver to request scans for my teaching (e.g. for Moodle)?  

Scan & Deliver is designed for individual research for personal use, and as such is not appropriate for scans required for teaching.   

You are encouraged to contact your Faculty and Departmental library in the first instance to request scans for teaching.   


If you have further questions about the Special Collections Scan and Deliver service, please contact (for manuscripts, archives and theses) or (for printed books, maps and music).