Remember to reference and cite all materials used in your work

Reference management

Copying library materials

There is provision within UK copyright law for students to make a single copy of a copyrighted work for the purpose of private study, so long as this would be fair to the copyright holder, and the copied text is sufficiently acknowledged (i.e. cited and referenced).

Fair is not defined in UK law but is described as what an honest and fair minded person would copy. As a working guideline, we suggest that you copy no more than 5% or one chapter from a book and one article from a journal issue.

You may store the copy as print, electronically or in reference management software but you may not adapt the work, make multiple copies or share it with others.

Conditions of use of online resources explains how to safely use library materials in an electronic format.

Copying materials from the internet

Materials on the internet are protected by copyright and you should only copy them within the limits set by UK copyright law and the terms of use displayed on the website.

If you wish to share materials you have found on the internet with other students, supply them with a link rather than a copy.

Using copyrighted work in assignments and presentations


The copyright exception 'Criticism, review, quotation and news reporting' permits you to quote from copyrighted materials in your coursework. You can only use the smallest amount necessary to make your academic point, an amount that fair to the copyright holder, and you must cite and reference all quotes.

Photographs and other images

Images are more risky to copy than text as you copy the whole image. Avoid downloading photographs from websites offering stock photographs as they will bill you for any type of use. Instead use your own photos, websites that offer free photographs and photographs licensed with a Creative Commons Licence.

You may include, in assignments, a small number of figures taken from books and journals in the Library's collection. These should be used to illustrate an academic point and not to enhance the appearance of your work. They must always be cited and referenced.

Film, TV and video clips

You may show clips from films, TV and video sharing sites in the classroom provided the content is from a legal source and has been uploaded with the consent of the performer and copyright holder. You may also include short clips in assignments that will be uploaded to a Virtual Learning Environment (e.g. Blackboard, Moodle, the Hub).

You may not make film, TV and video clips available on the internet. If you are asked by your lecturer to make a video then please read the FAQ What should I know before creating a video assignment?


You may scan a small section of a printed map (A4 or less) for use in your assignments. Before including sections of online maps (e.g. Digimap and Google maps) refer to the licence and/or terms of use.

Reuse of teaching materials and exam papers 

A wide range of teaching materials, such as recorded lectures, exam papers and slide presentations, are made available to students while studying at Imperial. These (in general) are owned by Imperial College London and as such are protected by UK Copyright Law. While you are encouraged to use them to support your learning, you do not have the right or permission to make these available to others. Therefore, you should not upload teaching materials to websites or share them on social media.

Accessible copies for disability support

An accessible copy is a copy that has been changed to make it easier to read by a student with a disability.

UK copyright law permits a disabled student, or library staff, to make an accessible copy of items in the Library's collection, except where a suitable commercial copy is available to purchase at a reasonable cost.

ASK the Library for more information about creating and requesting accessible copies.