Using the legal deposit privilege, the Library claims current British and Irish books fairly comprehensively. This includes not only works of academic scholarship but also works covering every kind of writing, as these may be of significance for research purposes either now or in the future. The more comprehensive the collection is, the more important it is as a significant national resource.
While books are collected comprehensively, periodicals and other serial publications from outwith Scotland are acquired on a more selective basis through co-operative collecting in conjunction with the other legal deposit libraries.
The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 provides the basis for extending coverage to include non-print publications by later supplementary regulations. In the meantime, the Code of Practice for the Voluntary Deposit of Non-Print Publications, in place since January 2000, means that certain categories of non-print publication may be requested for deposit.