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The Legal Deposit Libraries Shared Cataloguing Programme

The Legal Deposit Shared Cataloguing Programme is a programme based on a Memorandum of Agreement between the six legal deposit libraries of the United Kingdom and Ireland to share responsibility for cataloguing the legal deposit intake of new publications.

The six legal deposit libraries, which collectively maintain the national published archive of the United Kingdom and Ireland, are as follows:

What are the aims of the Programme?

The Programme aims to maximise the currency, quality and coverage of the British National Bibliography (BNB) by sharing the necessary cataloguing effort associated with the large legal deposit intake. This benefits the wider bibliographic community by ensuring effective bibliographic control of ever increasing UK and Irish publishing output. During the period April 2003 to March 2004, the programme contributed 87,764 records to the BNB.

How does it work?

The legal deposit libraries are each responsible for cataloguing an agreed allocation of printed books received under legal deposit. In addition, the allocations take account of Irish, Scottish and Welsh imprints and of the language of an item wherever it might be published in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland by the following arrangements: Irish imprints and Irish language items (Trinity College Dublin); Scottish imprints and Gaelic language items (the National Library of Scotland); and Welsh imprints and material in the Welsh and Cornish languages (the National Library of Wales).

The share of cataloguing responsibility is benchmarked as 70:30 between the British Library and the five other legal deposit libraries respectively. In a typical record, the cataloguing source is shown by the library code in MARC field 040.

Bibliographic standards

The legal deposit libraries use a Standard Record Specification (PDF format 136KB) as the basis of contributing records to the Programme. Record content is in accordance with RDA: Resource Description and Access or the current edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules; name headings are in the form established in the LC/NACO Authority File, each legal deposit library being a participant in the name authority component (NACO) of the Program for Co-operative Cataloguing; subject headings are based on Library of Congress Subject Headings and conform to the LC Subject Cataloguing Manual: Subject Headings.

Records originated by the five other legal deposit libraries do not contain Dewey class numbers except when a record is based on a copy cataloguing source including a Dewey class number and this is retained. It is the responsibility of the British Library to assign Dewey numbers at the full cataloguing stage and to validate Dewey numbers derived from other sources.

Records originated under the Programme conform fully with the MARC 21 exchange format and technical specifications.


For further information please contact:

The British Library
Collection Metadata
Boston Spa, Wetherby
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BQ
United Kingdom

Email: metadata@bl.uk