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“Digitize This Book” puts Duke’s collections at your fingertips

At Duke Libraries we’re piloting a new digitization-on-demand service for our users. Called “Digitize This Book,” it allows registered Duke users to select single-volume public domain books from our collections to be digitized and published through our Internet Archive collection. Right now the pilot is limited to just those titles located in the Perkins/Bostock, Lilly, Music, and Library Service Center (LSC) collections. We’ll assess potential expansion of this service in the future, based on nature and volume of demand during the pilot this spring.

You can read more about this service in our Libraries’ News and Events page. Below we’ve provided a Q&A about this service, for those looking for more information. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, feel free to contact us directly at!

What is the “Digitize This Book” Service?

Duke University Libraries is piloting a new on-demand digitization service. During spring semester 2013, Duke users will be able to request digitization of certain books through the library’s online catalog:

  • single volume titles
  • published in 1922 or earlier
  • located in the Perkins/Bostock, Lilly, Music, or LSC
    (Library Service Center) collections

Users will receive a link to their requested book on Internet Archive within two weeks of their request.

Who can use this service?

During the trial period for the “Digitize This Book” service (spring semester 2013) registered Duke users can request a book to be digitized. This means that any Duke University or Duke University Health System faculty, student, or staff member can submit a request.

What publications can be scanned?

Under U.S. copyright law, books published in 1922 or before are in the public domain and can be digitized and published online.  During the trial period for the “Digitize This Book” service (spring semester 2013) only single volume titles will be available for scanning. Pending the results of this trial, other public domain works (e.g., multi-volume works, serials) may be included in this service.

How do I find works that are available for scanning?

Search Duke University Libraries’ online catalog for books published before 1923 and located in Perkins/Bostock, Lilly, Music, or LSC (Library Service Center) collections. To see if a book can be digitized, click on the title in the results list to get to the record. A green “Digitize This Book” button will appear for single-volume works that are not already available electronically. If a book meets the criteria for scanning but does not include an option to “Digitize This Book,” please let us know:

How long does digitization take?

During the pilot of this service (spring semester 2013), it may take up to two weeks to complete a request. Eventually, we expect to process requests weekly: requests received by Wednesday each week will be digitized on Thursday, so that the digitized book will be available on Friday.

How will I know the digital copy is available?

You will receive an email giving you a direct link to the scanned copy in Internet Archive, where you can read the book online or download a copy to read on your computer or portable device (e.g., Kindle).

What if I only want a few pages or a chapter from a book?

The “Digitize This Book” service is for digitizing entire books. Contact the Libraries’ Document Delivery services ( to request scanning and delivery of parts of a book.

I see a book published before 1923, but there’s no “Digitize This Book” button in the catalog record.

The book may be part of a set or series – that is, it has multiple volumes – or a link to the full text is already present in the record.

This service is currently limited to books in Perkins/Bostock, Lilly, Music, and the LSC. Contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services department to inquire about digitizing materials in their collection. The Marine Lab Library is currently excluded from this pilot service, due to distance.

Of course, this is a pilot, and it may be that there should be an option to scan the book, but there’s a glitch in our system. If you have any questions about a book you’d like to have scanned, just contact us:

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