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.
From 6 April 2013, the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print) Regulations 2013 extended the legal deposit privilege to include the right to request or harvest UK electronic publications.