From 18 July 2015 the National Library of Scotland is subject to the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 (PSI Regulations).
On this page
The PSI Regulations help to determine how and under what conditions you can expect to re-use the public information that we hold. In general, we enable re-use for any purpose.
However, some materials are not re-usable — for example, because of their physical condition or terms of deposit.
We are obliged to publish certain details about how we allow re-use under section 16 of the PSI Regulations. These details are published on this page, as well as on our 'Permission to re-use material' page and our 'Permission fees' page.
For details about making requests under information access legislation, please see the Freedom of Information page.
Conditions for re-use
We place conditions on the re-use of material in line with the PSI Regulations. In general, these conditions take the form of:
The regulations require that conditions for re-use do not discrimination between applicants who request re-use of material for comparable purposes. For example, we cannot levy differential fees for individuals and companies if each intend a similar re-use of material.
To ensure non-discrimination we use standard licences and fees.
The regulations prevent us from issuing exclusive licences for re-use.
However, there is an exception to this rule that allows us to grant exclusive licences for a limited period of time in exchange for the digitisation of cultural resources. We are obliged to publish details of any such arrangement.
The PSI Regulations allow the Library to make charges for the re-use of material (permission and reprographic fees). Charges must be in line with our costs and levied in a non-discriminatory manner. Read more about our fees. See also the 'Permission fees' page.
The contractual means by which we permit re-use is known as licensing. We primarily use two Creative Commons licences, as well as our Content licence form, which grants a five-year licence. However, there are times when separate licences may be used — for example, due to terms of deposit.
We are in the process of implementing a new and more open approach to re-use. While we are doing this, materials may not have up-to-date licences or rights statements. You should always comply with the licence or rights statement that is assigned to an item and not assume an implied licence.
If material is not clearly marked for re-use or licensed from us with a Creative Commons licence you will need to contact the Library to determine if the material may be re-used and you may need to complete a Content licence agreement. Some material cannot be licensed with Creative Commons licences and some material is not re-useable. Details are provided in our Re-useable Information Register.
The terms used here are defined in our licensing policies.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY) — applies to:
- Most digital images
- Core metadata — for example, name and location of object
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR) transcriptions
- Business documents and information — for example, policies and presentations
- CC-BY licence is compatible with the Open Government Licence.
Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial ShareAlike 4.0 (CC-BY-NC-SA) — applies to:
- Some digital images over 1,000px wide that are subject to third party re-use restrictions
- Extended metadata — for example, long-form descriptions
- Manual transcriptions.
Creative Commons Zero license (CC0) — applies to:
- Some core metadata (instead of CC-BY) under the Europeana Data Exchange Agreement.
Content Licence form — applies to:
- Moving image and sound collections
- Non-digital collection material
- Some digital material subject to restrictions — for example, because of terms of ownership, deposit or contract.
Our licensing policies
We have two licensing policies:
- The Metadata and Digital Content Licensing Policy (PDF) (20 KB; 3 pages), which controls how we license digital material and metadata. In 2019 we are implementing a more open approach to re-use and some of this policy may be out of date while we do this. Where the terms of the policy conflict with information available on our websites, you should follow the information available on our websites.
- The Non-collection Content Licensing Policy (PDF) (26 KB; 2 pages), which controls how we license material that is not directly related to our collections — for example, our reports, strategies, and corporate documents.
The terms that we use for our licensing — such as 'Access quality' and 'Core metadata' — are defined in our licensing policies.
We are implementing a new and more open approach to re-use, so you may find content on our websites with different licences or no clear licence. This is because of the size and complexity of our collections.
We take significant care when making materials available for re-use or under a licence. For example, material on deposit may be left with us under specific terms or material may have complex and unclear copyright. Therefore, please consider any licence or rights statement assigned to an item to be correct.
If there is no licence or rights statement assigned to an item, or if you are still unsure what the re-use terms are, see our section on permission to re-use material.
There may be fees associated with re-use. We charge for:
- The costs associated with creating copies of material ('reprographic charges')
- The costs associated with maintaining and granting permission to re-use material ('permission fees').
In many cases, we absorb the full cost associated with our permission fees — for example, when enabling re-use of most still images. This allows us to ensure many forms of re-use are free of charge.
Our permission fees are in line with the PSI Regulations.
Our public task
The PSI Regulations relate only to material and information (called 'documents' in the Regulations) that we hold as part of our public task. Below is our Statement of Public Task, which outlines our public task and the statutory and organisational framework that shapes what we do.
In general, we hold collection materials, copies (e.g. digitisation) of materials, metadata, and corporate documents (e.g. plans and reports) as part of our Public Task. See the section on re-usable information for guidance on what classes of material are generally re-useable and under what conditions.
You can download our Statement of Public Task (PDF) (53 KB; 1 page)
Statement of Public Task
The National Library of Scotland's ('the Library's') Public Task under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 ('the Regulations') consists of the production, maintenance, and use of documents for the purposes of:
- Preserving, conserving, and developing its collections
- Making its collections accessible
- Exhibiting and interpreting its collections
- Promoting collaboration and sharing of good practice within the library and information sector and
- Satisfying its operational, legal, charitable, and statutory obligations.
The legal and organisational framework for the Library's Public Task is set out by the functions and privileges that the Library is accountable for:
- Under the National Library of Scotland Act 2012 and associated legislation, such as the Museums and Galleries Act 1992
- As a legal deposit library and as a library in Scotland, including as laid out in relevant legislation, such as the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003, the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013, and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
- As a non-departmental government body in Scotland, including as laid out in relevant legislation
- As a charity registered in Scotland, including as laid out in relevant legislation, and
- As laid out in its Strategy, Corporate Plan, Annual Review, and similar documents published on the 'About us' section of www.nls.uk.
The Library produces, maintains, and uses documents within its Public Task:
- In any and all formats and media
- In physical and digital form, both online and offline, and
- On the Library's premises and externally, for example through loan.
Questions about this statement may made by emailing email@example.com or by writing to the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW.
Complaints about this statement may be made through the Library's complaints procedure.
This statement is reviewed every four years and is due to be considered again in 2019.
Our Re-use Categories Register lists the information that we hold by broad category. The register outlines what classes of material are normally available for re-use and under what conditions they may be re-usable.
You can download our Re-use Categories Register (PDF) (70 KB; 1 page).
Within the Public Task and generally re-useable for free:
- For commercial and non-commercial purposes:
- Most faithful digitisation image reproductions of collection items, except material subject to third party restrictions
- Machine transcribed text files (e.g. Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, data)
- Basic discovery metadata, (author, title, and URL)
- Published corporate documents (including policies, reports, and strategies)
- For non-commercial purposes:
- Faithful digitisation image reproductions of collection items that are subject to third party restrictions (digital images up to 1000 pixels wide)
- Other forms of content, including digital images in other formats
- Other metadata, (including structural, technical, administrative, geographic, geospatial, and long-form description)
Within the Public Task and generally re-useable for a charge:
- For commercial and non-commercial purposes:
- Moving image and sound content
- For commercial purposes:
- Faithful digitisation image reproductions of collection items that are subject to third party restrictions (digital images greater than 1000 pixels wide)
- Other forms of content, including digital images in other formats
- Other metadata,(including structural, technical, administrative, geographic, geospatial, and long-form description)
Within the Public Task but generally not available for re-use:
- Any document that has not been used for a purpose other than its initial purpose within the Library's Public Task
- Any document that has not been made available by the Library and may not be made available under relevant legislation, such as the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
- Any document the supply of which would be illegal or counter to
the public interest, including anything:
- That is embargoed
- That would not be lawful to process under data protection legislation
- That would in any other manner be harmful to any person's privacy or safety
- The supply of which would threaten the safety of the content, the collection, or the Library's materials or premises.
Outside the Public Task or the scope of the Regulations:
- The Library's brand and logo
- Commercial, promotional, advertising, merchandising, and associated products created, produced, commissioned, sold, or otherwise handled by the Library
- Documents prepared to third party commission or in conjunction with any third party for purposes other than the Library's Public Task
- Documents in which there is intellectual property owned by a third party.
Questions and complaints
For enquiries about re-use, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are dissatisfied with our handling of your re-use request or if you feel we are not complying with any aspect of the PSI Regulations you should in the first instance register a complaint using our complaints procedure.
Under the PSI Regulations we are obliged to:
- Attempt to resolve your complaint internally
- Respond to you in writing within 20 working days or explain why we cannot meet this timeframe
- Explain the reasons for our decision
- Set out your options for escalating your complaint if you are dissatisfied with our decision.
If you are dissatisfied with how we respond to your complaint you may escalate it to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Following its review, the ICO may make a recommendation to the Library or it may issue a binding decision. We must inform you and the ICO in writing within 20 days of how we intended to carry out the actions stipulated by the ICO.
If you are dissatisfied with our re-use decision following a recommendation or decision from the ICO, or if we do not meet our obligations under the PSI Regulations following a recommendation or decision from the ICO, you may appeal to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal, information rights jurisdiction.