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Digital Readings

The Library's Digital Readings Service (DRS) obtains digital copies of extracts from CLA licensed published books and periodicals to support teaching that are fully compliant with copyright law and licensing regulations. Digital readings are made available directly through the online reading list for the module or course.

We will not normally obtain digital readings from e-books and e-journals to which we hold a current subscription, except where the University's Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Copyright Licence is more generous than the permissions under the subscription agreement.

For private study or research materials, please use the inter library loans service.


What content can be used?

Content from many books, journals, magazines and some websites, is licensed for use under the CLA Licence. However there are restrictions and exclusions by category of work, title, publisher or country, depending on the mandates given to the CLA by the rights owners or their agents. You should check all content for compliance before use. 

You can check whether extracts from the book, journal, magazine or website you wish to use are licensed for use as digital readings using Check Permissions, CLA's online lookup tool

If you find that a work is excluded, and you really need to use it for educational purposes, please ask us for advice as there may be other options. Open Access materials and some Creative Commons licensed content can often be freely used for educational purposes, for example. You can often link to free-to-view content also, provided it has first been made available with permission from the copyright owner.

How to request digital readings

When you supply your reading list to the Library for the next academic year (usually between June to August), we will automatically check whether materials on your list can be made available as digital readings, and obtain those we can, in line with copyright law, licensing and Library policy. Sometimes, it may be more appropriate to buy or subscribe to content and we try to monitor this to inform our collection development.

To request digital readings at other times, simply add the details of the chapter, article or selected extracts to your online reading list, and request review.

Please add as much information as you can, especially chapter titles or page numbers.This makes it easy for the Library to source the right content. It also makes navigating lists and referencing in assignments a lot easier for your students.  

Making digital readings available

Digital readings can't be uploaded to Blackboard Learn directly under current policy, so to benefit from this service you must have an online reading list for your module. Digital readings are linked to the reference wherever it appears in the online reading list, to make access as seamless as possible for your students. Online reading lists are themselves embedded in Blackboard Learn, so that your students can access them from within your module, too. 

If you don't have an online reading list, or need instructions on creating or amending one, please contact your Subject Liaison Librarian. We can set one up, and show you how to add content to it - it's as easy as 'bookmarking' web pages.

Obligations for CLA licensed digital readings

  • Only staff who have been trained in how to prepare digital copies under the Licence may do so. This is because copies must meet minimum quality and integrity standards, and must contain a CLA Copyright Notice, containing sufficient acknowledgement. Currently only the Library's Digital Readings team can prepare CLA licensed digital readings.
  • Digital readings must be made available in course collections on a secure network. Only students and teaching staff registered on the specific course they have been made for may download and print out digital readings made under the CLA Licence, although other students and staff may view them. 
  • Collections of digital readings should not be designed to be an effective substitute for a textbook which is available for purchase. CLA has produced a good practice guide and FAQ to help avoid this.
  • CLA conducts periodic data collection and reporting exercises and may conduct compliance audits to investigate any concerns, as provided for in the terms of the Licence. See Complying with your licence for more details.

You can find further guidance on our Copyright web pages and for complex queries, or if you aren't sure what is allowed, please contact us. CLA also provides a range of support materials on its website.