Digitisation options for institutions

The Boston Spa Digitisation Studio

EThOS offers three different digitisation options for institutions



Digitisation option 1

(Institution pays)

Users may order a digital copy of a paper thesis.

Institution funds the cost of digitisation, and holds a deposit or billing account with the British Library for the purpose.

Digitisation option 2

(User pays)

Users may order a digital copy of a paper thesis.

Institution passes the cost on to the user – the user ordering the copy must pay the digitisation fee.

Digitisation option 3

(No digitisation)

Institution does not support digitisation of its theses via EThOS.

Users cannot order digital copies of the theses and are advised to check the library website of the institution to find out how to view the item.

Institutions may change their Digitisation Option at any time. Please note any orders in progress must be allowed to be completed.

Institutions may select to have their print theses returned intact following the scanning process, or have them discarded. The latter option carries a lower price since there is no return postage, and the team can slice off the bindings and feed the pages through a high speed scanner.

Any theses digitised by EThOS are also available for the supplying institution to securely download and add to their own institutional repository. Further information about this process is available here.

Scan quality

The EThOS digitisation service is managed by the Library’s Digitisation Services.

Redaction - All requirements to redact images, diagrams or sections of a thesis are adhered to carefully and in detail. A list of redaction requirements should simply be included with the thesis when it is sent for scanning.

Institutions may wish to send a more formal printed list of redactions, branded with the institution's logo or similar, to be scanned along with the thesis and inserted into the digital copy to act as a formal record of redacted parts.

OCR - The creation of OCR (optical character recognition) text allows users to search the full text of the thesis to find sections of particular interest, or to move quickly to a specific part of the thesis. With the average thesis size at around 330 pages, OCR is a huge benefit.

Post-processing - Sometimes the quality of the scanning is not important so long as the thesis is readable. But post-processing removes dark borders from around the text which may occur in older or poor quality paper, removes shadowing created by the hinged binding, straightens mis-aligned pages, and sharpens the copied text to improve legibility.

Multi-volume items -Theses that consist of more than one volume are treated as a single item when pricing the digitisation. For example, digitisation of a 3-volume thesis would be charged at the same rate as a single-volume thesis.

Colour scans - Theses are scanned in greyscale or colour to represent the item as accurately as possible.

More about digitisation

We are always happy to discuss your project proposals for digitisation of your collections beyond EThOS. Whether it’s doctoral theses, master’s or any other material, the British Library offers digitisation services for a vast range of material other than theses. Revive your organisation's own collections with our digitisation services; we can manage your project from start to finish and are experts in handling rare and fragile material.

We also hold thousands of theses on microfilm which can be digitised as a very cost-effective project whenever you wish. The theses can be added to EThOS or returned to you for further analysis – read about the experience of the University of Warwick.