Digitisation & Licensing
More information about copying and digitisation services.
Heritage Collections work with the Cultural Heritage Digitisation Service (CHDS) to provide a comprehensive range of digitisation options, depending on your needs and the collection-type. You can find more detailed information about the work of CHDS, including technical equipment and recent projects, on their webpages.
We have several options for digital access to our Heritage Collections. These depend on your use and re-use needs. Some services are offered free of charge and some incur charges. We may need time to investigate if there are any Data Protection or Copyright considerations and/or if the item is suitable for digitisation; some items may be too fragile.
If you are undertaking private research and cannot access our materials in person, we can:
Offer you a Virtual Reading Room appointment (live, online viewing of collections items)
Take up to 20 low-quality scans/photographs (quick snaps taken by our team members)
If you require further copies or images of our collections, we can:
Organise scanning at £0.60 per A4 page (plus VAT) – suitable for private use only
Organise high quality photography at £8.00 per A4 page (plus VAT) – suitable for publication.
Staff can provide up to 10 quick snap images for you, for free, as part of our Enquiries service. These will be taken on a basic digital camera and are suitable for personal research use only. Once we have received your enquiry, we aim to send the images within 20 working days. This service is free. This is an example of the quality of image provided:
The Cultural Heritage Digitisation Service can provide good quality scans on specialised scanners, which are suitable for personal research use only. There is a charge for this service, starting at £0.60 per scan (plus VAT). Once you have submitted your request by email, we aim to scope your order and provide a quotation within 20 working days. Our digitisation service then has a 35 working day turnaround to provide the scans. Please note that some items may not be suitable for scanning, depending on their fragility. Example scan:
The Cultural Heritage Digitisation Service can provide High Quality photographs of our collections, which are suitable for publication and broadcast, or for imaging of especially fragile items. There is a charge for this service, starting at £8.00 per image (plus VAT). Once you have submitted your request via the webform, we aim to scope your order and provide a quotation within 20 working days. Our digitisation service then has a 35 working day turnaround to provide the images. Example High Quality image:
Audio Visual Media
We have multiple moving image items in both the art collections and the archives - these are held in multiple formats including 16mm film and born-digital. We can provide secure access to items through the University's Media Hopper platform, or copies where appropriate, usually in mp4 format. The method of access is dependent on the copyright status of the work, and staff will advise. At this link you can see an example of 16mm reels from the Edinburgh College of Art archives that have been digitised: Edinburgh College of Art Revels 1936, 1945, 1946
The most substantial collection of sound archives is found in the School of Scottish Studies Archive. A significant selection of excerpts is available for listening on the Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches online resource. Free access to the sound archives is provided by appointment through an online sound streamer.
Digital copies of sound archives can be provided in a variety of formats (including wav and mp3) for a fee. Please submit your request using the relevant webform.
Existing Digital Content
Before contacting us about remote access and digitisation, you can visit our image repository to see if we have already digitised the material.
Existing High Quality Digital Images
Images on our website have various use and re-use availabilities and restrictions; non-commercial research use is fine, but publication or broadcast would require further permissions.
Downloading images: you can download most images from our catalogue by clicking on the image and then selecting the ‘Export’ button in the top right corner. Images are available in various file sizes. If this option is not available, it may be because this image falls under Protected Access. In this instance, please submit this permissions form for more information.
Existing image orders: if you have found the image you need in our image catalogue, but it is not available to download at a sufficiently high resolution for your purposes, we can provide a larger file through an existing image order. Once you have submitted your request via the permissions form, we aim to send the images within 20 working days.
Mediahopper: Moving image works within from our art collections are available to view via the University’s Mediahopper site.
Tobar an Dualchais: around a third of our sound archives from the School of Scottish Studies are available online via this site. You can use the advanced search feature to filter search results to just those from the School of Scottish Studies. The tracks on TaD are short extracts of much longer tape recordings. If you would like to listen to the whole tape, listen to recordings not on TaD, receive copies of the recordings, or to reuse the material in any way, please get in touch via HeritageCollections@ed.ac.uk.
Get in touch with us at HeritageCollections@ed.ac.uk
Wait for your request to be processed and assessed for Data Protection, Copyright and/or conservation issues (we aim to do this within 20 working days)
If digitisation is required, pay for scanning or high quality photography
Wait for your order to be completed (please note that our digitisation service currently has a maximum 35 working day turnaround for scanning and photography)
We aim to provide quick snaps in line with the service standards for our enquiries service, i.e. within 20 working days of receiving the request.
Our current maximum turnaround time for new orders is 35 working days from when the order is delivered to our digitisation service, after payment has been received. Unfortunately, we are not currently able to accept rush orders.
When we receive your digitisation request, we will first need to assess the item. We will then decide, based on your intended use for the image and the condition of the item, whether scanning or high-quality photography would be most suitable. Then, we will count the number of images required and provide a price quote.
Items are either photographed with one page per image (a single) or two pages per image (a spread). The cost for digitisation is per image, therefore spreads will be cheaper overall. However, if you require a high level of detail then we would suggest singles, as the individual page will be larger in each image.
Your images will be sent to you via as a download link via WeTransfer. This will be sent to the email address from which you made your initial enquiry, unless specified otherwise. Please note that this email can sometimes end up in your junk/spam folder, so please ensure to check there regularly. The download link will expire after 7 days, so please save the images within that time.
Although we have an Open by Default policy we do also provide digitised copies of content that may still be in copyright. For other or further re-use of the image (outwith the parameters of the original request) please get back in touch with us.
Please include the shelf mark or unique identifier when referencing any images in published works, as this will help other researchers find the item, and credit Heritage Collections, University of Edinburgh.
There are numerous copyrights involved with recordings and it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone involved with the recording is adequately credited. If you use multiple sound recordings you must ensure every recording is cited as follows:
Title of piece, Contributor(s), Fieldworker(s), SA reference number, School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.
e.g. Comin’ Through The Rye, John Stickle (contributor); Calum Iain Maclean (fieldworker); ref. SA1955.105.2, School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.
or Tha mulad, tha mulad, lìon mulad mi fhèin, Kate MacDonald, Rona Lightfoot, Mary Flora MacDonald (contributors); Donald Archie MacDonald (fieldworker); ref. SA1963.58.B2, School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.
Yes, through our Virtual Reading Room service which can help you narrow down which section of the item would be most useful. This consists of a one-hour appointment where a member of staff can show you the item using a visualiser and Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Photography and/or screenshotting is not permitted during the appointment, but you can look at the item, select which pages are of most use, and submit a digitisation request afterwards. Appointments are available on Mondays between 10:00-16:00 (other times may be possible, depending on staff availability) and can be requested via HeritageCollections@ed.ac.uk.
Yes, you can listen to extracts of some sound recordings on the Tobar an Dualchais site and we can arrange Remote Streamer appointments to listen to others. Please get in touch via Heritage Collections for more information.