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SCOPE: Scottish Collaborative On-demand Publishing Enterprise

Project web site

Programme area
On demand publishing

Contact details
Mrs Carolyn Rowlinson, Acting Director,
University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA
Phone: 01786 467 228 Fax: 01786 466 866

Project description

as of May 11th 1997


In 1995, the University of Stirling won a grant of 426,000 pounds to develop, in partnership with Napier University, a new kind of publishing service which would benefit undergraduates throughout Scotland. Most of the Scottish universities are participating in the project, known as SCOPE, the Scottish Collaborative On-demand Publishing Enterprise. The project is under the aegis of the Scottish Consortium of University and Research Libraries (SCURL).


Documents are stored electronically for the purposes of customised on-demand publishing: digitised anthologies of texts are created from a variety of sources specified by lecturers, and printed as required for students to purchase at low cost. In the second year the resource bank has been extended and now includes sociology and engineering material. Texts written by academic staff of member institutions have also been included, by-passing conventional publishing processes: this is particularly useful when there is a need to update texts frequently, or to include material relevant to local sites. In year 3 SCOPE will offer the option of online delivery directly to students for on-screen viewing, downloading or printing. The possibility of permitting students to select texts and order their own individual printed packs will also be investigated. By this final year it is also hoped to develop the resource bank further by including additional material acquired directly from publishers in electronic form. The feasibility of links to local online catalogues (OPACs) will be investigated, in particular making bibliographic records of texts in the resource bank available, with the option of calling up complete texts from each OPAC.

An essential part of the project is obtaining copyright permissions for this new form of publishing, and significant progress has been made towards development of a set of model agreements with a range of publishers in the UK and elsewhere. The Copyright Unit is based at Stirling while Napier University houses the Technical Unit which is responsible for the digitisation of texts, production of course anthologies and transmission of documents over JANET for delivery online at SCOPE consortium member institutions. A mechanism has been developed to calculate the royalty payments due by each institution, and to ensure security in delivery directly to students.

Panels of experts give advice in both copyright and technical areas. By the end of the project, the aim is to ensure the continuation and growth of the resource bank by offering a range of cost-effective services relating to copyright clearance and course text provision.

These alternative methods of document delivery will enhance access to materials, making it easier and more convenient for students to obtain recommended texts. Lecturers will be able to add up-to-date material as it becomes available. The scheme should eventually ease the pressure on libraries, which are seldom able to provide sufficient multiple copies of essential course readings. Libraries should then be able to afford to buy a wider variety of books.

Access via WW client

SCOPE is available on the World Wide Web. If you have a WWW client or browser such as Netscape or Mosaic you just need to type in the URL.

Copyright Unit:

Technical Unit:

Discussion lists

Lis-on-demand has been set up for discussing copyright and technical issues raised by the eLib on-demand and electronic reserve projects. To join, send the following message to

join lis-on-demand

Lis-scope is also used for communication between consortium member institutions.


The University of Stirling is well placed to lead this project in that it was one of the first to merge successfully its library, computer, print and media services. Napier University's Library works in close collaboration with the Department of Print Media, Publishing and Communication which has considerable expertise in both publishing and production matters.

The other consortium members are Aberdeen, Abertay, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Paisley, Robert Gordon, St Andrews and Strathclyde Universities and Queen Margaret College.

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