New Library Service: Digitize This Book

The Duke University Libraries are pleased to announce a new digitization-on-demand service that lets you have out-of-copyright books scanned and delivered to you digitally for free.

Internet Archive Scribe
From stacks to scanner to your inbox. We’re piloting a new service to digitize public domain books for Duke users on demand.

digitize_this_book2Starting this semester, Duke University faculty, students, and staff can request to have certain public domain books scanned on demand. If a book is published before 1923* and located in the Perkins, Bostock, Lilly, or Music Library or in the Library Service Center (LSC), a green “Digitize This Book” button (pictured here) will appear in its online catalog record. Clicking on this button starts the request.

Within two weeks (although likely sooner), you will get an email with a link to the digitized book in the Duke University Libraries collections on the Internet Archive. You—and the rest of the world—can now read this book online, download it to your Kindle, export it as a PDF, or get it as a fully searchable text-only file. And you never have to worry about late fees or recalls!

Throughout the spring semester, Duke University Libraries will be testing how this service works and tweaking the process. Pending the results of this pilot, we hope to expand this service to other library materials and users.

So give it a try, and let us know what you think! Email us directly at If you have questions, feel free as always to ask a librarian.

For answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the “Digitize This Book” service, visit the Duke University Libraries + Digital Scholarship site.

*Because of copyright restrictions, only books published before 1923 that have entered the public domain are eligible for this service.

8 thoughts on “New Library Service: Digitize This Book”

  1. This is a dream come true. THANK YOU to the librarians, staff, and student assistants who run the libraries and are making this happen. THANK YOU also to the administrators involved. We library patrons will not take this for granted!

    The libraries are among the most important faces of the university. Alumni never forget them and they should always be preserved for future generations. This project sounds like a wonderful way to make the collection even more accessible.

    Thank you again to everyone involved!

  2. This is a wonderful, wonderful innovation. Thank you so much to everyone involved!
    Just curious, are there plans to make it available for holdings in Duke’s other libraries (Div. School, Law School, etc.) soon?

    1. Thanks, Matthew. We’re piloting this service in order to better understand whether/how to expand it. If you have particular interest in expanding this service to other Duke Libraries, please share this information with us. You can send specific requests, inquiries, and feedback to us directly at

  3. There’s a world beyond Duke that might be interested in these titles. Once you digitize them it would be a shame to limit access – they’re digital! Consider free downloads for all. – MM

    1. Yes, I agree, Mark! That’s why we’re digitizing and publishing these through Internet Archive, where anyone can access and download the digitized public domain titles in Duke Libraries’ collections. As I like to say, Karma meets Convenience: a Duke user digitizes a title for her research, and the whole reading world benefits.

  4. Thanks Duke! Making these available via internet archives is very much appreciated.

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