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Using AudioVisual Resources for Teaching : Using Maps and Images

A Guide for Teaching Staff


Images, including photographs, illustrations or diagrams, graphs from books, journals, maps (in print or digital form) all qualify for copyright protection as artistic works. Similar to other copyright protected work permission is usually required to reuse images unless the work is out of copyright or a licence or copyright exception applies. Where relying on a copyright exception such as fair dealing with a work for the purposes of illustration for instruction there is an element of risk involved in assessing whether the reuse is fair and the likelihood of the rightsholder objecting.

If staff find images they want to use within books or journal articles these may be covered by the University's CLA licence. All scans of print material for placement in the VLE for teaching must go through the University Digitisation Service who can check that the publication is covered by the licence and copying falls within the extent limits. Digitisation Service staff can also make copies of content from digital material, including e-books and online journals under the licence. 

Images found Online

Content found online is still protected by copyright and not necessarily free to be reused. When sourcing images online you should check the terms of use or copyright statement as many websites allow re-use for educational purposes.  If you aren't sure about what terms apply to a particular image or need help in understanding the terms you can contact for help. 

Where terms and conditions don't allow the proposed use or aren't clear it may still be possible to rely on an exception such as fair dealing for the purposes of illustration for instruction to reuse images found online in teaching materials provided they are suitably attributed. Relying on an exception requires a risk assessment and the use is more likely to be fair where access is limited to students securely via Myplace and you are using a single image from a source which is not in the business of selling or licensing images for a fee. 

It is more difficult to justify the use as fair if you are using multiple images from the same online article or webpage or from a source such as a stock photography company like Getty Images or Shutterstock who are in the business of licensing images as your use may affect the rightsholder's economic interests in their images.


Open Access Resources

An increasing number of educational resources including images are available on an ‘open access’ basis.  This means that you can use them in teaching without permission but you must check the terms, or licence, under which the materials are made available.  If you use the work, you must always properly attribute it to the creator of the work and copyright owner.

Creative Commons is a suite of open licences under which a creator retains ownership of their work but makes it available for reuse with few restrictions.  If you wish to use images or other work licensed under Creative Commons in your teaching materials, you must credit the original author and check you are complying with the terms of the licence.  You can find out more about the licences at: where there is an explanation of the meanings of the various Creative Commons terms.

You can search for material licensed under different types of Creative Commons licences at:

Further information on sourcing images for educational use is provided in our Libguide:

George Wylie's sculpture The Clyde Clock

Glasgow. George Wyllie - "The Clyde Clock" (1999-2000).
Image by Daniel NaczK 2 October 2016  CC BY-SA 4.0


maps lying on the floor photo

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

The University has a licence with Digimap, which gives both staff and students access to a range of maps and geospatial data from a number of national data providers including Ordnance Survey data. Re-use for educational purpose is permitted, however there are specific guidelines on how the data should be displayed and acknowledged.  The acknowledgement required varies dependent upon the type of data you have used. Check Digimap's guidance for the most up-to-date information.

For maps not covered by the Digimap licence you should consult the terms and conditions of the provider and contact if you aren't sure.

Maps from the National Library of Scotland are available for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 International licence. Under this licence it is permitted to share and adapt materials as long as you provide a credit to the source and a link to the licence.  NLS requires the following credit: "Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland" For digital materials you should include a link to the NLS map images website: 

This reuse policy applies to all maps except those listed under Exceptions: Copyright - Map images - National Library of Scotland (

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