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  • If you're a publisher, you need to give a copy of every UK publication you make to the British Library. Five other major UK libraries may also ask you to give them a copy. This system is called legal deposit and it's been a part of English law since 1662.

    Print publications for legal deposit can be books, journals, sheet music, maps, plans, charts or tables. Now legal deposit also covers material published digitally such as websites, blogs, e-journals and CD-ROMs.

    Legal deposit has many benefits for publishers and authors. Your deposited publications can be read inside the British Library and will be preserved for future generations. Your works become part of the nation’s heritage, providing inspiration for new books and other publications.

    Find out more about legal deposit and how to deposit your print or digital publications. You'll also find information about how your publications are kept secure and accessed.

    Find out more

    About legal deposit

    Find out about how your publications become part of the nation’s heritage

    Access to your publications

    The publications are kept secure and made available to read on our premises

    Security for your electronic publications

    We save your digital deposits in a resilient and secure environment

    Legal deposit and web archiving

    We collect and store around 4 million UK websites every year


    How to deposit your print publications

    Advice for publishers about what material to send us and where to send it for legal deposit

    How to deposit your digital publications

    Legal deposit advice for publishers of websites, CD-ROMs and other e-publications

    Get an ISBN or ISSN for your publication

    These identifiers are used for distributing, describing and selling publications

    Request access restrictions for your publications

    Information on our notice and takedown procedure

    Related subjects and services

    UK Web Archive

    Find out about the many websites we preserve and make available for researchers

    Printed books

    Our collections include books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, handbills and advertisements

    Contemporary Britain

    Collections reflecting contemporary British society and culture

    Digital preservation

    We save our digital heritage for future generations

    On Demand

    We work with publishers to provide our document supply service and give access to vast stores of digital content

    Digitisation Services

    Digitise your archives with us or buy images of unique British Library material

    Blog posts

    LGBTQ+ Lives Online Web Archive Collection

    Wednesday, November 25, 2020

    By Steven Dryden, British Library LGBTQ+ Staff Network & Ash Green CILIP LGBTQ+ Network As you’ll have read on this blog, the collaboration with UK Web Archive (UKWA), British Library and CILIP LGBTQ+ Network to develop LGBTQ+ content within the...

    2020 Domain Crawl Update

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020

    By Andy Jackson, Web Archiving Technical Lead at the British Library On the 10th of September the 2020 Domain Crawl got underway. The annual Domain Crawl usually takes about three months to complete, it visits UK published websites on a...

    BL Labs Online Symposium 2020 : Book your place for Tuesday 15-Dec-2020

    Wednesday, November 11, 2020

    Image taken from page 203 of '[Griffith's new historical description of Cheltenham and its vicinity ... with ... engravings. L.P.]' Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs The BL Labs team are pleased to announce that the eighth annual...

    World Digital Preservation Day 2020

    Thursday, November 5, 2020

    World Digital Preservation Day (WDPD) is held on the first Thursday of every November, providing an opportunity for the international digital preservation community to connect and celebrate the positive impact that digital preservation has. Follow #WDPD2020 for discussion throughout the...

    More blog posts