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Voluntary deposit scheme for electronic journals under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003


23 March 2007



•   To develop the process for deposit of and access to scholarly electronic journals (eJournals) between publishers and legal deposit libraries while testing the viability of and compliance with this deposit process.



•   To set up a voluntary scheme to support the controlled submission, ingest, storage, management and access to electronic journals and develop mutual confidence between publishers and the legal deposit libraries in these processes.

•   To test the viability of a voluntary approach to eJournal deposit.

•   To assess the legal deposit libraries and publisher resource requirements for deposit, and the total time required from selection to initial deposit of eJournal content.

•   Write and submit an annual report each May starting in 2008 to the JCLD/LDAP E-Journals Group with details of performance against success criteria (see below) and the major issues raised by either the libraries or publishers.

Time line:

•   The voluntary scheme will start in June 2007 and will be reviewed annually by the JCLD/LDAP E-Journals Group.

•   After initial deposit of the eJournal content has successfully started publishers will continue to deposit new issues of each deposited eJournal title unless it becomes impractical to do so (change of ownership, discontinuation of the title, etc.).

•   From previous experience at the British Library under the JCLD eJournal pilot scheme 2005/6 and other eJournal projects the set-up for each unique ‘publisher/deposit process’ (i.e. method by which a publisher distributes electronic content to a third party) will take an average of 3 person months of effort and 6 months of elapsed time involving several staff at the Library. (Many publishers use third parties for the distribution of their content and subsequently the set-up process for these will be substantially reduced).

•   In the initial stages of the voluntary scheme, to minimise the effort and lead time required for deposit by all parties the British Library will work with the main trade associations for UK scholarly journal publishing to request volunteers who can deposit according to specific technical criteria. As the technical capability and capacity of the British Library deposit system allows these technical criteria will be widened so that eventually all methods of deposit (defined by the eJournal Joint Technical Panel) will be supported.


Content Scope:

•   The voluntary scheme will focus on scholarly eJournals.

•   The BL, on behalf of the JCLD/LDAP E-Journals Group, will contact each publisher in turn, as in the eJournal pilot project 2006, to make arrangements for deposit.

•   Each publisher’s content deposited at the British Library will be processed according to a workflow and information about how long each step takes for each publisher will be recorded.

•   The eJournal titles deposited will be subject to the agreement on UK territoriality defined by LDAP.


Management and Preservation:

•    The legal deposit libraries undertake to manage and preserve all deposited content for at least as long as the voluntary scheme remains in effect.



•   The deposited content will be accessed by users on the premises of the legal deposit libraries.

•   Only one simultaneous view of each eJournal issue (an eJournal title is assumed to be composed of multiple issues that are periodically published or distributed) will be allowed at each of the individual legal deposit libraries.


Measures of success:

•   A table of metrics will be collected and reported.

•   The current compliance with the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 on print publications is 95% and we expect a similar level of support for this voluntary scheme.

•   The compliance with this voluntary scheme will only be assessed when the legal deposit libraries have developed the capability to support all methods of deposit (defined by the eJournal Joint Technical Panel) and has the capacity to accept additional deposits.

•   All content received by the legal deposit libraries will be preserved. Statistics detailing the number of titles, issues and objects preserved will be included in the annual report.

•   Statistics detailing the level of access at each of the legal deposit libraries will also be produced and included in the annual report.


Management of project:

•   This project has been commissioned by the LDAP/JCLD E-Journals group.

•   A Steering Group will be set up comprising the British Library project team, representatives from the Legal Deposit Libraries Implementation Group and representatives of the publisher community.

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