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Make items available for students

Online Course Readings

Our Online Course Readings (OCR) service provides digitised book chapters or journal articles for student use. Requests for digitisation should be submitted via the Reading list tool on Minerva.

We digitise all chapters and articles marked as “core reading”, as long as they comply with licensing restrictions.

We can also digitise other chapters and articles upon request. Please select the item(s) from your reading list and then select the OCR icon.

Please help us to carry out your request as quickly as possible by giving as much information as you can.

We will try our best but we cannot guarantee that requests received after the 14 August will be ready for the start of teaching. We process requests in the order we receive them and will let you know when material is available in Minerva.

What can be digitised

The OCR team checks each request for digitisation against the list of criteria set down by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) scanning licence.

In summary, we can scan:

  • one chapter, article or 10% of the total pages (whichever is greatest) per book/issue (see below for temporary increase up to 20%)
  • only items owned by the University
  • books or journals published in the UK or one of the 38 approved international territories
  • books or journals from US publishers that have opted in to the licence.

We cannot scan:

  • newspaper articles
  • items that are already available in digital format (unless you can make a strong case that the current digital version is unsuitable)
  • items on the CLA’s exclusion lists
  • books that students have recommended for purchase.

Temporary increase in book digitisation

The CLA have announced a temporary extension to the licence terms which will allow us to scan, “up to 20% or two chapters whichever is the greater, of print books where a digital edition is not available through commercial channels”.

This increase will be in place until 31 July 2021, at which point the licence will revert to its original terms. Any additional material created during this period will then have to be removed. We will contact you before this is done. This extension does not apply to anthologies, plays or poetry.

Here is the CLA list of publishers covered by the temporary extension.

Conditions of digitisation

Scanning must be done by our "designated scanners", who are named on the University’s CLA licence.

All digitisation must come through the Online Course Readings service, unless otherwise agreed with the Library’s Copyright Officer.

For further information, email the Online Course Readings team

Please be aware that scans provided by Online Course Readings cannot be used to substitute for the purchase of textbooks by students.

What happens once a request is made

When a digitisation request has been processed, eligible chapters and articles are scanned in PDF format, then uploaded to Minerva.

Students can then access these scans via the Online Course Readings folder, usually found within the Learning Resources area of a module.

In the event that Learning Resources doesn’t exist or has been renamed, we will attempt to place the Online Course Readings folder in the most suitable area.

OCR will notify the module leader when we’ve completed all requests for a module.

Using the digitised items

You can use the same extract multiple times across different modules. However, please DO NOT copy material without contacting the Online Course Readings team, as this breaks the terms of the CLA licence.

Only students registered on the appropriate module may access the PDFs, but there is no limit on the number of times they can use them.

Compatibility with screen readers

We add optical character recognition to all our PDFs before putting them online (essentially changing them from images to text-based PDFs). The results of this are not 100% accurate, but it does mean the PDFs are compatible with screen readers.

If you know of a visually-impaired student on the course, please refer them to the University’s Transcription Service.

Removal of items from Minerva

The information we put in Minerva must be relevant to its associated module(s).

We will contact you before your material is due to be used again to confirm it is all still required. If any items are no longer relevant, copyright law dictates that we have to remove them.