Access to electronic legal deposit material

Number of copies to be made available for access

The Joint Committee on Legal Deposit has agreed as follows:

The Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013 require that 'A deposit library must ensure that only one computer terminal is available to readers to access the same relevant material at any one time'. This is not intended to restrict the use of all legal deposit material to a single computer terminal in each deposit library, but rather to displaying the same individual work on just one screen at a time — i.e. for one reader at a time — within each deposit library.


Definition of a work

For offline publications, concurrent access is suitably restricted by the physical medium on which it is carried, such as a CD-ROM, memory card or microfilm.

For online publications, the demarcation of an individual work or 'same relevant material' will normally be determined by the manner in which it is published for users, and received for deposit.

For example, an electronic book may be published either as a single work or chapter by chapter. Where relevant material is published — and therefore harvested or deposited — as a single composition, the deposit libraries will not deconstruct it into separate elements for the purposes of displaying the parts on different screens for more readers to use it.

Equally, where relevant material is published at a more granular level, the deposit libraries will not aggregate the separate elements in order to construct an artificial work. For example, concurrent access in the case of an electronic journal that is published as a single issue containing a number of articles would be controlled at the level of that issue; but concurrent access for an electronic journal that is published on an article by article basis would be controlled at the level of an individual article.

Where the demarcation of 'same relevant material' is not immediately apparent, the deposit libraries will construe it as the file or group of files needed to communicate a particular subject matter in a complete, cohesive and intelligible way, subject to a technical means of delineating this.


Web-based material

For web-based material, this would normally mean the web page (such as a news article) that would be displayed when the user follows a link or enters a URL. This would include embedded ('transcluded') content that displays within the same tab or window as its contextual material. But an embedded or linked file whose content, when opened, displays in a separate tab or window would normally be treated as a separate item.


Electronic legal deposit


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