Information Services

Access to Digitised Collections

How to access digitised collections for private study or re-use.

We can provide access to digital copies of sound recordings through an online streaming service. As 29 George Square remains closed, we have developed the streaming service to replicate consultation in the reading room for AV. Users will for time limited periods be able to consult through listening in a secure space online. If you wish to get a copy for use or reuse users must request this separately to ensure compliance with copyright legislation. . 

We can also provide 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.

The turnaround for dealing requests is 20 working days. 


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 UK General Data Protection Regulations – in this case it may only be re-used with written permission from the data subject.
  • Requests for public re-use (in excess of 12 recordings) may carry a fee of £25 plus VAT per hour, for the technical work involved.

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 UK 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.

Takedown Policy

Citing material from The School of Scottish Studies Archives

It is important that when any archival material is re-used that it is given the correct citation. There are numerous copyrights involved with recordings and so 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 e.g.

Title of piece, Contributor(s), Fieldworker(s), SA reference number, School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.


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.


Request for Access to Digital Copies (Private Study / Non-Commercial Research)

Online enquiry form for access to digitised content from the School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library, including sound recordings.

Request for Access to Digital Copies (Publication / Broadcast)

Publication / Broadcast requests for School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library, including sound recordings.