Scan on Demand: Online Access to Print Collections

Need a print book that’s on campus? We might have a solution...Scan on Demand! 


What’s Scan on Demand? 

Scan on Demand is a newer Library service that came about within 24hrs of our first closure in March. It’s a way for students, faculty, and staff to access our print collections (including textbooks!) while the Library is closed. Staff are on site Monday – Friday to scan items and email the PDF directly to you. 


How Scan on Demand Works 

1. Confirm the item you’d like scanned is on the shelf at MacEwan University Library. TIP: Look for a green checkmark next to the item as pictured below: 

Screenshot of the library catalogue showing a book that is available at MacEwan University Library.

2. Fill out our Scan on Demand Request Form. We’ll process your request as soon as possible. 

3. When your scan is ready, it will be sent to your MacEwan email address! 


Limitations of Scan on Demand 

Due to copyright legislation, we are not able to scan entire books. Each request will be reviewed for copyright compliance. 



The Challenges of Online Textbook Access

As we approach the fall 2020 semester, MacEwan Library is working hard to provide alternative access to our Textbook Collection. The majority of textbooks we currently have on reserve are print copies and students cannot access them without coming into the Library. We recognize library copies do not replace the access students have when using a purchased or rented copy of their required textbook. For example, Library copies of textbooks do not include a code for online quizzes and supplementary materials which some courses require students to access.

To support faculty and students over the next few months, we are modifying our approach to acquiring course textbooks to ensure that students have access even in a primarily online, alternative delivery environment. However, this work is hampered as most major publishers will not sell electronic copies to libraries.

Enhanced textbook access options include: 

  1. Scan on Demand – a new MacEwan Library service that makes it possible for students to request a scanned portion from any book in our print collections (including textbooks).  

  2. More copies of certain high-demand textbooks are being purchased to accommodate a 72hr quarantine period between uses. 

    • New for this Fall, students will be able to place holds on textbooks. 

To review all options available to students, visit our Find Textbooks page. 


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This article was inspired by “Commercial Textbooks Present Challenges in a Virtual Environment” by The University of Guelph Library.