Digitisation projects involve a number of distinct phases. Different stakeholders are involved at various points in the process, and a range of factors must be considered, for example, funding, copyright, metadata, IT infrastructure, scheduling, and web design.

We will assist you with planning your project and determining what digitisation resources you will require. At the pre-planning phase it is important to negotiate an MoU between yourself and DLS to determine the scope of the project. 

Phases of digitisation

  Activity Role
1. Select the items to be digitised and/or archived.
See: What we digitise.
2. Verify and secure copyright clearance.
See: UCT Research Contracts and Innovation (RCI) .
3. Compile the relevant metadata. See: UCT metadata entry guidelines . researcher
4. Fill in the relevant online form(s): A member of DLS staff will review your request and contact you. researcher
5. Transfer the selected items to us.
See File Naming Conventions for Digital Collections .
6. Items are digitised, transcoded, edited and versioned.
See Digitisation standards.
Digital Library Services
7. Metadata records are enhanced.
See: Metadata types and functions .
UCT Libraries
8. Digital objects are ingested into safe storage.
See: Izolo (Archivematica).
UCT Libraries
9. Access and dissemination.
Eg: Ibali (Omeka S and iiif).
UCT Libraries


Pricing digitisation services is aligned with the eResearch billing-based model, which is a means of applying service-catalogue or pricing-catalogue charges to virtual machines, high-performance computing, cloud services, static storage and consultancy services. Discounted rates apply to UCT affiliated students and staff. Payment is required in advance.

Scanning UCT Price Education Price
Document Feeder Scan (A4, .pdf) R0.10 R0.50
Flat Scan document (A3+, 300 dpi) R5.00 R10.00
Self-Scanning Free after training Free after training
Flat Scan HQ (A3+, 600/300 dpi) A4: R15.00
A3: R25.00
A4: R25.00
A3: R35.00
Large format Scan (map/poster)
(< 110cm @600/300 dpi)
R60.00 R70.00
Virtual drum transparency scan
(35mm – 4x5 in. to A2 – A0 @600/300 dpi)
R50.00 - R100.00 R100.00 - R150.00
Basic retouching i.e. removal of dust, scratches, colour casts, resizing, format conversion R150.00/h R200.00/h
Video UCT Price Education Price
MiniDV, DVCAM, HDV R150.00/60 minutes R200.00/60 minutes
Betacam, Betacam SP. Betacam SX, Digital Betacam R200.00/60 minutes R250.00/60 minutes
U-matic (3/4") R200.00/60 minutes R250.00/60 minutes
VHS (NTCS, S-VHS, PAL) R150.00/60 minutes R200.00/60 minutes
HI-8 R150.00/60 minutes R200.00/60 minutes
Archival standard tape cleaning (U-matic, Betacam, VHS) R25.00/tape R50.00/tape
Audio UCT Price Education Price
Cassette tape mono/stereo (@24bit/96kHz .aif/.wav) R150.00/tape R200.00/tape
1/4" mono/stereo reel-to-tape (@24bit/96kHz .aif/.wav) R250.00/h R300.00/h
DAT digital transfer R100.00/tape R150.00/tape
MiniDisk (digital optical; @24bit/96kHz .aif/.wav) R50.00/disk R100.00/disk
Vinyl/Shellac R100.00/disc R150.00/disc
Basic editing (removal of hiss and hum, brightening, loudness, format conversion) R250.00/h R300.00/h


You are responsible for determining any copyright restrictions, gaining permission to digitise, and providing copyright terms for the access and dissemination of the digitised collection prior to undertaking a digitisation project.

When determining copyright measures, consider the following questions:

  • Who holds the copyright to the material?
    In general, the original creator holds the copyright, but material is often donated or gifted to another person or institution and the donor agreement will indicate if rights have been transferred.

  • Can I gain permission to digitise the material?
    Every effort must be made to locate and contact the copyright holder(s) and to gain permission to digitise the material. Furthermore, you must gain permission to make the material openly accessible via the chosen repository. It is important to gain all necessary permissions before undertaking any digitisation project. A written agreement should be stored along with the digitised content.

  • Is the material in the public domain?
    According to the South African Copyright Act no.98 of 1978 , material generally enters the public domain 50 years after the death of the creator (although there are exceptions). Thereafter, the material can generally be digitised without copyright infringement if every effort has been made to ensure that the material is definitely, according to copyright law, in the public domain.

If you are unsure whether the material is protected by copyright, you can visit Research Contracts and Intellectual Property Services  for further assistance. More information on Intellectual Property in the digital world .


How do I submit a digitisation request?

Electronically complete the relevant forms. Please email us if you need further support.

We are working on implementing a paperless service for submitting digitisation requests to UCT Libraries Special Collections.

How long does it take for requests to be processed?

Time frames differ depending on the size of the request and the current workload at Digital Library Services (DLS).

The information you provide when submitting your request will help us give you an estimated time frame for completion. DLS staff can assist you with planning the activities in the Phases of digitisation, and will help with determining the required resources.

Can I use the equipment at DLS to digitise materials myself?

We offer basic training in operating some of our digitisation equipment and encourage self-service, especially for small-scale projects that do not need to be digitised to an archival standard.