Copying, scanning and photography

There are restrictions on copying, scanning and photography of special collections material. We offer a staff-mediated scanning service, which is free for current members of the University.

You can find high-quality images of some special collections items for download on Digital Bodleian. Images can also be purchased from Imaging Services.



Cameras are allowed in Weston Library reading rooms, and we allow personal digital photography for private research purposes, free of charge. You must first make a request to a member of staff to check for conservation, copyright and ownership issues.

Some collections may not be photographed.

Photography must be done without flash, with no tripod or copying stand of any kind, and in still mode. There is no designated area for photography.

Scanning and copying

Not all of our collections are available for photocopying and scanning. Those that are must be copied in ways that minimise the stress to the books, so that the Bodleian Libraries’ collections are preserved for future generations.

Post-1900 printed books may be copied or scanned by readers, subject to the conditions below and copyight restrictions.

If the material is not eligible for self-service scanning and copying, you may be able to request copies or scans through our staff-mediated services.


Material eligible for self-service scanning and copying must be:

  • published later than 1901
  • comprised of printed pages
  • an item with cloth or paper binding
  • an item with its binding in good condition which opens well without strain

It must not be:

  • larger than A4
  • thicker that 7.5cm
  • heavier than 3kg
  • an inter-library loan (a blue jacket will be wrapped around the item)
  • a thesis
  • a mounted item or pamphlets of different size bound together
  • an item with leather binding
  • an item with a repair ticket
  • an item stored in a grey box designed to protect that particular book
  • an item with pages that fold out
  • an item with hand-coloured pages

If you wish to scan or photocopy from an item, you must take it to the staff desk and show it to a member of library staff. They will check that the book complies with copying regulations.

If you are permitted to scan and copy the book yourself, you can use the Print, Copy and Scan (PCAS) facilities in the Weston Library.

Personal scanners are not allowed in the reading rooms.

Microfilms and microfiches

Images from microfilms or microfiches can be captured and saved using the digital microform readers in the Mackerras and David Reading Rooms. There is no charge for this service.

If you wish to have copies from microfilms or microfiches made for you, please submit an application to Imaging Services.


Any copying, scanning or photography from our collections must comply with copyright laws. Read more about copying guidance and PCAS.

Data protection

You are responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 in relation to the secure storage and processing of any personal data obtained from the Bodleian Libraries' collections. You must dispose of this data in an appropriate manner when it is no longer required for your research.

Staff-mediated services


You can order scans of manuscripts, rare books, archival collections and Oxford University theses through our staff-mediated scanning service.

Imaging Services

Bodleian Images allows you to view and buy digital reproductions of manuscripts, rare books, musical texts, maps, illustrations and photographs, for editorial publication and other use, from anywhere in the world.

If the image you require is not available from Bodleian Images or Digital Bodleian, you can order high-resolution images of special collections, including pre-1800 books, from Imaging Services.