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Digital copies for teaching

The Digital Copies service provides PDFs of in-demand articles and book chapters to teaching staff, for course provision via Moodle. For digitised chapters/articles for personal use, please contact the Inter-Library Loans team

Updated August 2016.

For educational use, the College annually purchases the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Comprehensive Licence. This allows Library staff to make scans of material held in the library, or request a copyright-fee-paid digital copy from the British Library of material not held at Royal Holloway. Under the terms of this licence, all requests for Digital Copies or reports of in-house scanning should be directed to the Digital Copies Team.

Digital Copies are provided as PDFs and emailed directly to the requester so that they can be uploaded on to Moodle for students to access. 

The service incurs no cost to the requester, and it allows quick (within 7 days) provision of specific, in-demand chapters and articles that cannot be accessed via the library's print holdings, or online via the library's online subscriptions. 

PDFs uploaded to Moodle can be accessed on- and off-campus.

Every effort will be made to obtain the article or chapter needed, however the Service must comply with copyright restrictions as specified under the terms of the CLA digitisation licence

The CLA licence defines what can be provided

  • One whole chapter from a book
  • One whole article from a journal issue
  • One short story, poem or play (not exceeding 10 pages in length) from an anthology
  • One whole scene from a play
  • One whole paper from a set of conference proceedings
  • One whole report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings
  • OR 10% of any of the above whichever is greater
  • Where a digital publication is not organised in a similar way to conventional printed items, you are advised to exercise your best judgement to copy reasonable extracts.

Please note that the CLA Higher Education licence which runs from 1st August 2016 to 31st July 2019 increased the permitted limits from 5% to 10%.

Checks will be made by the Digital Copies Team to ensure that requests meet these guidelines, and staff will be contacted if there are any issues with the provision of digital copies. If there are any questions, please contact the Digital Copies Team.


Online Availability

Content already accessible via the library's online subscription will be provided as a link.

Textbook Substitution
The CLA licence states that Digital Copies are not intended to substitute already existed books or collections. "Textbook Substitution" is defined as "a particular collection of photocopies and/or digital copies made available through a course pack [that has] an adverse impact on a student's decision to buy one or more textbooks for their course."


Email digitalcopies@royalholloway.ac.uk with the following details: 

  • Course Code
  • Title of book/journal
  • Title of chapter/article
  • Author's name, editor if relevant
  • Publisher, Year of Publication, ISBN/ISSN if known
  • Page numbers required
There is no limit to the number of requests that can be made, although please be aware of the copyright restrictions.
Please try to make requests as early as possible - the start of term is a very busy time and staff are advised to place requests as soon as possible.


Royal Holloway's Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Audit, March 2013

On March 19th 2013, Royal Holloway was subject to an audit by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA). The audit primarily covered the provision of Digital Copies on 8 teaching courses in the 2011-2012 academic year, selected at random by the auditor. The auditor also looked into CLA licence compliance within the Library, and across the College, aiming to identify areas of good practice and areas of improvement. The final report was received on 15th April and overall our compliance with the CLA licence was found to be Satisfactory. Further information on the Audit and changes to our service can be found here.

Changes to the Digital Copies Service

As a result of this audit, and in line with the auditor’s recommendations, the Library’s Digital Copies Team will be carrying out the following activities:

1) Copyright Coversheets on All Digital Copies

The Digital Copies Team will be contacting course convenors over July and August and re-issuing past Digital Copies with a new Royal Holloway coversheet. This coversheet contains copyright information and bibliographic details of the item requested. If you have previously ordered Digital Copies and would like to use them again in the forthcoming academic year, please email digitalcopies@royalholloway.ac.uk with information on the copies you will be using.

Any requests made from June 2013 onwards will include a Royal Holloway coversheet.

2) Improvement to Compliance Checking

Following advice from the auditor on checking internationally-published items, compliance checking in future will be more rigorous. This should have limited effect on the requests process, and the Digital Copies Team will continue to refer to the Library’s Information Consultants regarding issues of provision in any subject area.

3) Annual Review of Digital Copies

The Library has introduced a Digital Copies Annual Review policy to ensure that the CLA’s housekeeping guidelines are met in coming academic years.


Please see the "Annual Review of Digital Copies" tab below for current information on the College's annual rollover of digital copies and compliance checking.

Annual Review of Digital Copies

Following the CLA's audit of Royal Holloway in 2013, the Library's Digital Copies Service introduced a Digital Copies Annual Review policy to ensure that the CLA’s housekeeping guidelines were met.

Each year, from June to September, the Digital Copies Service will liaise with all users of the service to ask whether the digital copy supplied in the previous academic year will be re-used again in the forthcoming academic year.

All digital copies to be re-used will be compliance-checked again using the CLA’s Title Search tool and the Digital Copies Service will advise course conveners of any issues with CLA compliance. The Digital Copies Service will supply digital copies wherever it is possible to do so and works closely with the Library Information Consultants to ensure that we provide the required reading materials for all courses.

For further information regarding the Annual Review or the Digital Copies Service generally, please contact: digitalcopies@royalholloway.ac.uk

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