Library Services


Course Readings Service

The Course Readings Service gives taught course students access to materials that are in high demand, for example extracts from books and print journals. Readings are also digitised where possible.


About the Course Readings Service

The Course Readings Service gives taught course students access to materials that are in high demand, for example extracts from books and print journals. Readings are digitised where possible and delivered via an online reading list for each course. Students registered on the course may download and print out a copy of the extract.

All material made available through the Course Readings Service must comply with the provisions of copyright law and UCL's CLA licence. The TLS is set up to administer digitised course readings so they comply with the licences. More details about the CLA licence

N.B. You do not need to use the CLA / other licences if the work you wish to copy is:

  • out of copyright
  • covered for this use by a UK copyright exception
  • already licenced for this use (for example, with a CC licence or an explicit Open Access statement)
  • if you own the copyright in the work
  • you have explicit permission from the rights owner. The rights owner may be the publisher, rather than the author, so check carefully.

Similarly, readings already available as full text through UCL's e-journal or e-book subscriptions, and also material that is accessible on public websites, can easily be linked to using the online reading lists. You are able to add these yourself to make them available immediately to students.

If you are not sure if you are able to copy a reading, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) administers the service and is based in UCL Senate House (South Block, 3rd floor), in the staff area, room 318. Contact TLS.

Course readings: what can be included

Course readings are typically book extracts and journal articles, but can include copies of images and diagrams from printed sources, lecture notes and other teaching materials.

The Course Readings Service takes advantage of UK copyright licensing schemes (including the CLA, NLA, ERA and others) to make available material protected by copyright. There are certain restrictions on what material can be added to the collection using these licenses, please bear them in mind when selecting material to be digitised: CLA Licence limits.

How to submit Course Readings

  1. Complete a Course Readings submission form (one for each extract). Download form. Or email TLS with a list of readings. This gives the full details we need to be able to copyright check the reading and add it to an online reading list.
  2. Photocopy or scan the extract from an edition held in UCL Library.
  3. Photocopy / scan the front and back of the title page of the book from which the extract comes (this page gives details of publisher, date and place of publication).
  4. Send the submission form and photocopies to TLS in the internal post (or hand them in to any issue desk/help point). You are welcome to send a pdf if that is easier, but please use UCL Dropbox for sending large files!
  5. Submit readings at least 4 weeks before the extract will be required by students. If you would like course readings for term 1, it is advisable to submit them 8 weeks before the start of term: that is, by 1st August.

Providing these details will help TLS staff copyright check and digitise your readings quickly: inaccurate or missing details will slow the process down.

What Happens Next

  1. TLS will email you to confirm receipt of the course readings.
  2. Readings will be checked to determine whether they are in copyright and, if so, whether they can be digitised under the terms of our CLA Licence. Can it be digitised?
  3. TLS staff will create a pdf to the standards specified by the CLA licence and add this to the online reading list for this course. The reading sits safely on a UCL server and, if you are off-campus, will prompt students to log in with their UCL ID.
  4. If the reading cannot be digitised but can be made available in paper format (again under the CLA licence), the TLS will add it to the service as a paper course reading.
  5. If neither digitising nor paper versions are possible we will suggest other options, such as requesting copyright permission, which we can help you with.
  6. TLS will email to confirm when readings are available online.

Format: Can It Be Digitised?

Yes, if:

  • UCL Library owns a copy of the book or journal from which the extract was taken;
  • the source publisher and work is opted in to the CLA licence. The CLA's look up tool can give a good indication of whether the source can be copied from.
  • the extract falls within the limits of the licence (e.g. 1 chapter or article, or 10% - whichever is greater).

If not:

If the extract is not covered for digitising, but complies with the other conditions above, the CLA Licence may allow it to be reproduced in paper format. Photocopies can be given out in class, or readings added to the paper 'Teaching Collection' in several libraries. More on paper course readings.

In other cases:

  • If UCL Library does not hold the source of the extract, it will be necessary to acquire a copy (either by liaising with the appropriate subject librarian, or by obtaining a copyright fee paid copy from the British Library).
  • If it is not possible to obtain a copy of the source, or if the extract exceeds the limits allowed, or is from a publisher not participating in the CLA Licence, it will be necessary to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Where permission is required, TLS can contact the publisher. Publishers usually make a charge for this and permission costs must be paid by the requesting department. Charges vary but are likely to be calculated on a per page / per student basis. Typically, a publisher will charge 5-10 pence per page per student, although more may be charged. Paper copies attract lower charges. TLS will ask a lecturer to confirm that funding is available for any permission charges before we write to a pubisher. If no funds are available we will not request permission.

Please bear in mind that publishers often take several weeks to respond. Items from sources not held by UCL Library, or that exceed the limits above, should therefore be submitted as far in advance of the required date as possible.


Paper Course Readings

Paper course readings are photocopies from books and print journals that cannot be included as digital course readings. (See Format: can it be digitised?) These are individually bound and kept in the 'Teaching Collections' at the Main, Science, Bartlett and Institute of Archaeology libraries. They are available for three hour or overnight from 4pm, however they may be given a two-day loan status on request.

Each item is assigned a unique number (eg. SCIENCE 2546). Students can locate the item and its number by searching on the Library catalogue by author and title, just as for a book. It is also possible to search by course code (eg. ANTH7004).

For reasons of space, copies of a reading are normally limited to a maximum of two. (Exceptions are possible if a class is unusually large; TLS staff are happy to give advice.)

Maintenance of Course Readings

Course readings remain available for the whole academic year. Each spring all course readings are reviewed: TLS email lecturers with a list of their current readings and ask which are needed for the coming year. Readings required will be rolled forward, and the online reading list checked to make sure the link to the pdf still works. If no response is received, it is assumed that the readings are no longer needed.

If paper course readings are mutilated or stolen, or pages are found to be missing, TLS staff will inform the lecturer and request a replacement copy.

Please note that lecturers can request that items be removed from the Course Readings Service at any point.

Contact TLS

TLS staff are happy to answer questions and give advice.

Hazel IngreyHead of Teaching and Learning Services65752
Pamela ClarkeSupervisor, Teaching and Learning Services65729

E-mail: readinglists@ucl.ac.uk

Please send readings and submission forms to:

  • TLS, Room 318 UCL Senate House (UCL Library Services)