UW Article Scanning Service

What is it?

A free* service for obtaining PDF scans of print material owned by the UW Libraries.
*Services for Cascadia College patrons are fee-based

Who can use it?

Current UW* students, staff, faculty, and retirees.
*UW Law School users should place ILL requests through the Gallagher Law Library

How long does it take?

Most scans are available within 1-2 business days.

How much can be scanned?

We will scan up to 100 pages from an item.

How do I submit a request?

ILL requests must be submitted online through our website at https://www.lib.washington.edu/ill. Users must fill out an individual request form for each requested article. If a user is requesting multiple articles from one volume, they must place individual requests for each article.

Get Started!

    Search and request for article content using:

    Use the Request a Scan form:

    Your ILL Account



    Where do I go to manage my Article Scan requests?

    Article Scanning requests in your ILL account may be in one of the below statuses:

    • Available for Download – your requested digital item has arrived and can be downloaded from your ILL account.
    • Awaiting Patron Email Reply – ILL staff have sent you an email with a question about your request. Please check your email and respond.
    • In Process – your request has been received and is being processed by Interlibrary Loan staff.
    • Item arrived – your requested item has arrived at the UW Libraries. Check Your
    • Request Finished – this request is complete.

    What do the scans look like?

    Scans of UW print journal content are in PDF format and 200-300 dpi and black and white or grayscale. These PDFs may be downloads of “born digital” documents or scans from print volumes. Scans will be a good representation of what the page looks like, and will usually include optical character recognition (OCR). Scans may also include some of the flaws that are present in the original volume including the curvature of the page as the volume is opened, gutter shadows, and hints of text that shows through from the back side of a page. You may even see an occasional scanned image of someone's hand holding the original as flat as possible to get a good scan. Libraries staff do their best to minimize flaws and give you the best scan possible, but scans will never looks as good as a “born digital” document.

    Our scans are primarily intended for research, not reproduction, publication, or archiving.

    How do I get an accessible document?

    To make material generally accessible, we try to perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on all of the items we scan. However, we don't have the resources to do extensive remediation on the PDF files we create. If you need assistance interpreting a PDF file we've provided, please contact the UW Disability Services Office (https://hr.uw.edu/dso/).

    May I share the PDFs I receive with colleagues?

    • It is sometimes OK to share your scanned item with UW colleagues for instructional or research needs.
    • It is often OK to make a small number of print copies to share with non-UW colleagues.
    • It is almost never OK to post your scanned item on a publicly accessible website or to sell or redistribute its content.
    • For more information, see the Step-by-Step Guide to Copyright Compliance.

    How many requests can I make at a time?

    You can have up to 100 active ILL requests at a given time. Scan requests are active from the time they are placed until 30 days after the scan is delivered, or until you delete the scan from your account, whichever is sooner.

    Why was my article scan request cancelled?

    ILL staff do their best to fill all Article Scan requests. Sometimes, unfortunately, we have to cancel a request. Visit our Reasons for Cancellation page to view the most common reasons for cancellation and some possible next steps.

    What are the copyright restrictions on article scans?

    Interlibrary Borrowing items are covered by United States copyright law (Title 17. United States Code.), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy/reproduction is not to be "USED FOR ANY PURPOSES OTHER THAN PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP, or RESEARCH." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes IN EXCESS of fair use, that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

    For more information, see the Step-by-Step Guide to Copyright Compliance.