Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Chat now
Sgwrsiwch nawr

Digitisation and Copyright: Overview

Digitisation Service Overview

Digitisation is the conversion of data into digital format. Aberystwyth University holds a licence from the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), which allows library staff to digitise, or scan material for the purposes of academic teaching subject to copyright clearance, licence restrictions and cost centre funds. Here is a summary of the licence. Further information can be found on the CLA website

The Library provides the digitisation service through the online reading list system, Aspire. Working within copyright regulations, chapters from books and articles from journals can be scanned and the digitised version linked directly to the relevant Aspire reading list.

The digitisation service uses the CLA’s Digital Content Store to check copyright compliance and deliver digitised extracts as links for students to access as a PDF document.

Library staff ensure compliance by:

  • checking for any copyright restrictions

  • creating professional and high quality scanned extracts

  • uploading links directly to the module reading list on Aspire

  • keeping records and reports as stipulated by the licence

What can be copied?

Under the terms of the CLA Higher Education licence, the digitisation team can create digital copies from originals which are either owned by the University (library stock) or from a copyright fee paid (CFP) copy of a chapter/article supplied by an organisation holding a document delivery licence with the CLA, such as The British Library.

The digitisation team are premitted to digitise:

  x1 whole chapter from a book                                                                                 

  x1 whole article from a journal issue

  x1 whole scene from a play

  x1 whole paper from a set of conference proceedings

  x1 whole report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings

  x1 short story, poem or play (not exceeding 10 pages in length) from an anthology


  10% of the total publication whichever is greater

What can't be copied?

Not everything is permitted to be digitised. These are known as excluded works.

There are particular categories not covered by the CLA Licence:

  • newspapers

  • printed music (including the words)

  • maps and charts

  • workbooks / workcards / assignment sheets

  • certain authors are not covered by the licence

  • publisher exclusions

  • some US publications

We must also consider non-UK publishers and refer to the international territories list of excluded publishers.

Further information on excluded works can be found here on the CLA website


Digitising material has many benefits. Making items more widely available in this way means…

  • all students on a module can access the item/s outside library hours – 24/7

  • distance learners and other off-campus users can access items from wherever they are

  • the pressure on loan stock is reduced

  • problems of missing/mislaid items are reduced

  • library resources more effectively meet the needs of your students

  • we can be sure that we adhere to the CLA scanning licence conditions - copyright infringement could potentially mean the loss of the licence, penalties and costs

  • encouraging students to read more widely

  • making materials which are currently only available in print available to a larger number of students

  • makes key texts available to all students irrespective of cohort size

  • provides access to material the library does not hold

  • ensures that we comply with copyright agreements including the annual audit

  • our new scans have Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and can be used with screen reader software

Contact us

If you would like further information on the digitisation service or have any queries relating to a request, contact: