Legal Deposit

Legal Deposit helps ensure that a nation’s published output is collected and preserved for the future. As a publisher, this means that your content will be securely preserved while also being made accessible in the reading rooms of the Legal Deposit Libraries.Find out more
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What is the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries?

The Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL) requests and receives copies of print publications for distribution to five libraries. It is maintained by five Legal Deposit libraries.  It is maintained by these libraries to ensure that they receive legal deposit copies of British and Irish publications.  Publishers must supply 5 copies of every print publication, on request, to the Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL), Unit 21 Marnin Way, Edinburgh, EH12 9GD.

Publishers must also supply a copy of every publication directly to the British Library at their address:  The British Library's Legal Deposit Office, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7BY

British Library / ISSN Centre

Who do we help?

We work with anyone who produces content in print format in the UK and Ireland by helping them to deposit their publications. This includes new and existing publishers, societies and organisations.

We work to ensure the legislation around publisher obligations and Legal Deposit are met for the libraries mentioned above. You can read more about this here. ALDL provide information to publishers about Legal Deposit and their obligations under Legal Deposit Legislation and provide information and contact details to allow publishers to deposit their publications.

Benefits for Publishers

The legal deposit system also has benefits for authors and publishers:

  • Deposited publications are made available to users of the deposit libraries on their premises, are preserved for the benefit of future generations, and become part of the nation's heritage
  • Publications are recorded in the online catalogues, and become an essential research resource for generations to come
  • Most of the books and new serial titles are listed in the British National Bibliography (BNB), which is used by librarians and the book trade for stock selection, and has a world-wide distribution
  • Publishers have at times approached the deposit libraries for copies of their own publications which they no longer have, but which have been preserved through legal deposit
  • Legal deposit supports a cycle of knowledge, whereby deposited works provide inspiration and source material for new books that will eventually achieve publication.
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Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries is a registered Scottish charity: Scottish charity number: SC040300
Company Registration Number: SC348650