Digitization of Materials Not Owned by the University Libraries


This policy is: to assist the Digitization Staff in 1) digitizing materials not currently owned by the University Libraries to add to its digital collection; 2) addressing the Library’s mission supporting the education, research and community information needs of the faculty, the university administration, staff, and students; and 3) to assure the materials selected meet digital collection development standards.

University Libraries require that any material added to our digital collection be made available to all customers from within the library. No collection will be considered which is not made available for viewing online. The library will maintain the original images for our database. Copies of these images will be supplied to the coordinating department/ institution once the department/institution loaning materials to the University Libraries provides a portable hard drive or adequate other means for storage of those images.

The Digitization Unit is not a public scanning center. However, digitization services may be requested by library faculty and staff presently employed by Western Illinois University.

Digitization activities may be undertaken in collaboration with other organizations that have similar digitization goals and objectives. This can include cases where material enhances the Library’s collections is lent by another organization or individual to the Library for digitization and/or where digitization of Library material is funded or undertaken by another institution or individual through donation or sponsorship. The Library will consider carefully the costs and benefits of any external partnership projects prior to committing to them.


  1. Materials that will be considered should meet one or more of the following criteria:
    • Be of Regional historical interest
    • Have Socio-cultural value
    • Be Rare
    • Have Monetary value
  2. The material should be able to safely digitize without damaging or destroying the originals.
  3. Collections for digitization should follow the copyright laws and meet the Digitization Copyright policy requirements.
  4. The digital format will provide important added value, such as the ability to search across a large amount of material.
  5. Funding for digitization is available.
  6. A patron requests the material for purposes of research, teaching, or study.
  7. Individual items in a collection may be digitized if other criteria apply, but digitization of whole collections or sub collections or complete items (i.e. a whole book) is usually preferable for context and convenience.
  8. Priority is given to Access Services and Archives digitization projects. Additionally, projects are priorities for which access has been granted without restrictions and funding is available.
  9. Project completion dates are determined by available funding, priority, length and condition of the materials under consideration for digitization.
  10. University Libraries reserves the right to refuse any project not meeting digital collection development standards, the library’s mission or priorities.
  11. A Digital Project Proposal Form must be completed and approved before any digitization project begins. Digitization personnel will assist project sponsors in completing the form.

Created: 6/11 - 7/23 2012; Revised 3/31/2016.
Approved by Dean of University Libraries