Depositing online publications

The Joint Committee on Legal Deposit has agreed as follows:

A deposit library is entitled to collect UK-published material that is protected by password or behind a login facility by harvesting, subject to giving at least one month's written notice for the publisher to provide a password or access credentials.


Alternative deposit methods

By mutual agreement, a publisher and deposit library may decide to use an alternative deposit method such as publisher delivery. Options include:

  • For publishers of books, journals or other documents in PDF, MS Word, RTF, EPUB and other non-XML formats, delivering them by secure (FTP) web upload via a dedicated portal (available in the near future)
  • By mutual agreement, arranging with an existing supplier or intermediary to deposit copies at the British Library on behalf of the publisher
  • For e-journal publishers archiving with Portico, authorising Portico to deposit a copy with the British Library.

Publications in more than one format

For works published in both print and electronic media which are substantially the same, only one medium is subject to deposit. The default medium remains print, unless and until both the publisher and deposit library or libraries agree a different, non-print medium.

For electronic publications in more than one format, it may be necessary to agree which format should be deposited.


Associated computer software

The publisher must also deliver a copy of any computer programs, tools, manuals and information — such as metadata, login details, and a means of removing individual DRM technical protection measures — that are necessary for using and preserving the publication. The deposit libraries have separate security arrangements restricting the use of deposited material to those activities permitted by the regulations.

Until 31 March 2014, micro-businesses of fewer than 10 employees and new start-up businesses were exempt from the regulations that require a publisher to deposit offline publications or to provide a password for library harvesting of protected material.


Publishers based in Scotland

Publishers based in Scotland are asked to contact Legal Deposit at the National Library of Scotland to discuss electronic deposit.

Access to electronic legal deposit publications will be restricted to computer terminals on premises controlled by the deposit libraries.

If you are a Scottish publisher and would like to permit wider access to your publication, the National Library of Scotland will be delighted to arrange this. Please contact Legal Deposit to discuss this.


Other UK publishers

Other publishers should contact the British Library at:

Digital Processing Team
The British Library
Boston Spa
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BY

Tel: 01937 546060 (Customer Services)


Electronic legal deposit


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