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Why do we need legal deposit?

Legal deposit ensures the nation’s published output is:
 • Collected systematically
 • Preserved for the use of future generations
 • Available for readers within the legal deposit libraries

If you’re a publisher you should deposit a copy of every work you publish in the UK and Ireland with the British Library, and as requested by the Legal Deposit Libraries.
There are 6 UK legal deposit libraries, they are:

 • British Library
 • National Library of Scotland
 • National Library of Wales
 • Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
 • Cambridge University Library
 • Library, Trinity College Dublin

I have already sent one copy of my publication to the British Library, do I still need to send the ALDL five copies?

There are six libraries in the UK Legal Deposit system, the British Library operates independently and should receive one copy at their address in Wetherby, the ALDL operates on behalf of the other five Legal Deposit Libraries. If you have sent a copy to the British Library you still need to supply a copy to the other Legal Deposit Libraries if you have received a request from them or the ALDL.

Does the ALDL pay for my publications and postage?

The ALDL cannot pay publishers for their publications or cover the cost of postage, Legal deposit is the statutory obligation to deposit at least one copy of every UK publication, free of charge, at the British Library and other designated deposit libraries.

What publications do I need to deposit?

The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 applies to anyone who publishes in the UK. The Act defines publishing as 'the issue of copies of the work to the public', which means that any work made publicly available, whether for sale or distributed free of charge, will need to be deposited.
Publicly available works are liable for deposit whether or not they have ISBNs or ISSNs.

Legal deposit covers both print and electronic publications, including the following where they are publicly available:
 • Books
 • Pamphlets, posters, leaflets and flyers
 • Maps
 • Sheet music and scores
 • Journals
 • Newspapers
 • Microfilm
 • Websites
 • Online works, including those protected by a login facility
 • New editions of publications, which may contain amendments or additional content.

The following categories of material are not covered by legal deposit:
 • Works consisting solely of sound or film
 • Intranets
 • Emails
 • Restricted personal data

Which format should I deposit?

Unless you have already entered into a confirmed agreement to deposit in electronic format with the British Library or one of the legal deposit libraries, you must deposit your publication(s) in print format.
The deposited copy must be 'of the same quality as the largest number of copies which, at the time of delivery, have been produced for publication in the United Kingdom'.
If your publications are only made available in electronic format and do not exist as print copies.

If you are unsure, please contact us

Where do I send my print publications?

You must send us the deposited copy within one month of the day of publication or the day on which the request is received, whichever is later.
Please send five copies of your print publication to the Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries at the following address:

Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries
Unit 21 Marnin Way
EH12 9GD
Tel: 0131 334 2833
Email: [email protected]

Publishers who currently send single copies of their titles direct to the Legal Deposit Libraries should continue to do so.

Publishers must send one copy separately to the British Library at the following address:
Legal Deposit Office
The British Library
Boston Spa
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BY
Tel: 01937 546268 (books) or 01937 546267 (serials)
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Irish publishers and distributors should deliver the four copies of print publications (only) intended for the Bodleian Library, Oxford; Cambridge University Library; the National Library of Scotland, and the National Library of Wales, to:

Irish Copyright Agency
c/o the Library of Trinity College Dublin
College Street
Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 8961021
Fax: +353 1 8963774
E-mail: [email protected]

Electronic legal deposit

Unless you have already entered into a confirmed agreement to deposit in electronic format with the British Library or one of the legal deposit libraries, you must deposit your publication(s) in print format.

If any of your publications are only produced in electronic format then the electronic version should be deposited. You only need to deposit one electronic copy of each publication to meet the requirements of all the legal deposit libraries, including the British Library.

Contact the British Library at [email protected] to discuss options for deposit.
 visit the British Library website

Publishers based in Scotland who wish to deposit in the electronic format are asked to contact the National Library of Scotland at [email protected] to discuss further.  Electronic publications deposited with the National Library of Scotland are also made available at the five other legal deposit libraries, meaning that Scottish publishers only need to deposit files with the National Library of Scotland to fulfil their Legal Deposit obligations.

Publishers based in Ireland are asked to contact The Library of Trinity College Dublin.
The Library of Trinity College Dublin now offers the service edepositIreland; the current focus is the voluntary deposit of open access electronic publications.
edepositIreland is a free-of-charge, easy-to-use online repository. Irish publishers can login and deposit their publications directly into their own branded collection. They can use this collection to be the home for their publications: it will have its own collection search facility; usage statistics will be available; and each document will have a permanent URL.

For further information about edepositIreland:

Email the Accessions Librarianhttps://www.tcd.ie/library/edepositireland/cd.ie/library/edepositireland/

Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries is a registered Scottish charity: Scottish charity number: SC040300
Company Registration Number: SC348650