Answered By: FAQ Team
Last Updated: Apr 27, 2020     Views: 245

Library staff across Cambridge University Libraries are unable to access their library’s print collections, and we recognise that this will have an impact on providing materials for teaching and learning in Easter term. We would advise academic staff to attempt wherever possible to make use of content which is already available electronically and, if necessary, make adjustments to existing reading lists and planned teaching. iDiscover is being updated to include additional titles available in this period but it may not be complete.  Please contact or for any query about content.

Where this is not practicable, there are still a number of options available to provide access to material for teaching and research on Moodle, as well as to source copyright compliant scans for teaching.


Providing access to an ebook is Cambridge University Libraries’ preferred option and considerable efforts are underway to supplement our existing collections.

To request ebooks in support of your course, please contact your local Faculty or Departmental library, or follow the instructions on this page.

More information about access to online resources is available on the University Library website, and you may find it useful to explore the ebooks@cambridge website too. However, local library staff in Faculty and Departmental Libraries will also be available to advise you on relevant electronic collections already available.

Electronic legal deposit books (‘designated PCs only’ books)

Libraries are receiving high numbers of requests to make any books currently accessible only on designated PCs more widely available. Negotiations are ongoing nationally to explore what might be possible. Should any advances be made in this area, you should expect to be contacted by your local Faculty and Departmental library.

We may be able to buy material only currently available as electronic legal deposit as a ‘proper’ ebook, and would advise you to request these in the same way as ebooks (please see above).

Copyright-compliant scans

Where an ebook is not available, we have a number of sources from which we can try to provide a copyright compliant scan. This is usually limited to one chapter or 10% of a work (whichever is greater). For some titles covered by the University's CLA Licence, temporary amendments to this extent limit are in force until 30 June or when normal service resumes (whichever is sooner). Please contact for further details about whether digital copies can be made for teaching purposes under this amendment and how these can be shared with students. 

Local reserves or Moodle archive

The Moodle archive (also known as Course History) is accessible online and depending on local practices may include copies of material used in the past 5 years. Faculty and Departmental Libraries may also have some material stored locally and we would advise you to contact your local Moodle coordinators for more information. 

The British Library On Demand document delivery service

The British Library is still operating its document delivery service but for collections that are only available electronically, and at the moment only for NHS & COVID-19 related resources. Other requests may be asked to reapply. Scanning of print material is currently suspended. Copyright fee paid copies may be made available on Moodle in some circumstances. Local library staff may be able to pursue clearance for you.

Producing your own scans of material

If you own a copy of the book, which is also owned or subscribed to by the University, it may be possible for you to produce your own scan. There are restrictions in place, including limits on amount scanned and which texts are covered by the CLA HE License. Please contact your local copyright officer for more information on what is permissible, or email the copyright group who will be able to assist you. 


No scan or ebook available

It may not be possible in every circumstance to provide appropriate access to the material required for teaching, and we would strongly advise teaching staff to produce reading lists which make use where possible of existing electronic content