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British Library Publisher Digitisation Service

For publishers wishing to digitise archival material, many find the first hurdle is sourcing the full text content they need. As custodian of the world's greatest journals collection, the British Library is in a unique position to help. With our Publisher Digitisation Service, we are able to digitise content that is unavailable elsewhere. 

Quick facts

  • Content : The British Library has an unrivalled collection of serial content meaning we hold the harder to find materials
  • Scalable: We can digitise all or simply the gaps in your collection
  • Logistics: The British Library is able to digitise your content on site. This removes any risk of damage that can happen during transportation        
  • Reliability: We are currently working with a number of leading publishers to support their digitisation programmes.

Purchasing model 

The Library is able to offer content auditing and PDF article provision to rightsholders who are either starting a digitisation programme or simply looking to fill gaps in an existing programme.

Project breakdown

The Library first needs an outline of the proposed project. This includes: a breakdown of titles with date coverage required, output formats and preferred delivery timetable.


Once the Library has been fully briefed on the content required to be digitised, we will conduct an audit of our holdings, which enable us to provide confirmation of exactly what we hold and the approximate size of the project. A fee is charged for the audit and is dependent upon the number of titles. The audit fee is deducted from the final project quotation if you go ahead.

BL Proposal

When the audit has been completed we will prepare a proposal. This will include:

  • Project Management fee (covers all setup and reporting costs)
  • Price per page for output formats required
  • Proposed timeline

Proposal Acceptance

If you accept our proposal we will then enter into a detailed technical discussion and test the supply of documents and reports. Once we are happy everything is working the project will go live.


  • We scan all items at 300 DPI in bi-tonal mode to output either as multi-page TIFF image files or PDF Image files
  • We have the option of Black and white, colour or grayscale outputs 
  • Where applicable machines can be configured to scan at 600 DPI                
  • Where pages include graphics we can also provide alternative scan settings to ensure high quality reproduction.
  • Outputs are usually delivered by issue however variations are possible
  • PDF and TIFF files are delivered either via FTP, DVD or via an email which has a downloadable link embedded
  • Where XML data conversion is required, we will work with Innodata Isogen on your behalf

Workflow reporting

We appoint a Project Manager for each project we undertake. Your Project Manager will be responsible for agreeing the workflow with you, ensuring reporting formats are agreed and managing the day to day process of digitising your content.

Next Steps

To find out more about our digitisation service, to see how much of your collection we hold and to get a project quote please contact

Download a copy of the Marketing White Paper 'Journal backfiles in Scientific Publishing' (see PDF files panel) *full text version available on request. E-mail

PDF files

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.