Access to Digitised Collections
How to access digitised collections for private study or re-use.
We can provide digital copies of sound recordings, film footage, photographs, archives and manuscripts. Once you have read the following guidance, please select the appropriate form at the end of this page.
Licensing of Digitised Content
Sound recordings in particular have multiple copyright holders, all of whom need to provide permission for the re-use of content before publication or broadcasting. In some cases, copyright from all parties has been assigned to the University of Edinburgh, however this is not the case across all collections. It is therefore essential that you give as much notice as possible as we may need to contact multiple individuals.
The University collections have an Open by Default policy. This means:
- We no longer charge for the re-use of digital copies of our collections.
- We make digitised content from our collections freely available to reuse under a Creative Commons CC BY licence, with the following exceptions:
- Material that is in copyright – in this instance the copyright holder(s) must grant permission for any re-use.
- Sensitive content e.g. graphic sexual content or religious / cultural content that may cause offence and distress. In this instance the University has a duty to ensure the material is not being used in an intentional inflammatory manner and the request will be considered in the context of how and why the material is being re-used.
- Material covered by the General Data Protection Regulations – in this case it may only be re-used with written permission from the data subject.
Copyright Clearance and Takedown Policy
Before making collections available online or granting permission to publish / perform / share such collections, School of Scottish Studies Archive staff take steps to check the copyright status of the material. If copyright is not held entirely by the University of Edinburgh, staff will endeavour to contact copyright holders before making material available online.
‘Fair dealing’ is a list of specific exemptions for which copyright clearance is not required, including
- Private study or non-commercial research
- Criticism or review (published works only)
- Current news reporting (not with photographs)
In these circumstances copies of collection items can be provided to users, providing it is fair to the copyright owner.
For further information about copyright in archives, we recommend these webpages:
We also take steps to identify personal and/or sensitive content within collections, in keeping with our responsibilities within the General Data Protection Regulations. In some instances collections may be closed until a specified date, or may be open only once a user has agreed to comply with certain guidelines.