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Free Data Services: Terms & Conditions

The Z39.50 MARC21 service is made available on an authenticated (i.e. password protected) basis to libraries wishing to use British Library MARC21 records for non-commercial purposes.

In order to register for the service you must confirm that you will comply with the following conditions of access:

  • All usage of the British Library’s system by the registered institution (including searches and record downloads) will be solely for non commercial purposes and support standard information science and library activities eg.
    * Resource discovery
    * Learning, teaching, academic and scientific research or private study
    * Cataloguing or acquisition
    * Provision of information solely about the registered library’s holdings for inclusion in a union catalogue or library inter-lending database
    * Verification of bibliographic information and/or identification of materials for order via interlibrary loan, from document vendors or from other sources from which materials identified may be purchased or otherwise acquired

  • The following activities relating to bibliographic records downloaded via the service are not permitted without the British Library’s prior permission:
    * Commercial re-supply, sublicensing or circulation to third parties
    * Transmission or redistribution to commercial organisations

  • The British Library reserves the right to withdraw access to the service from any institution whose user account is linked to activities considered to be an abuse of the system. Examples of such abuse would include:
    * Sharing of user ids/passwords with other institutions
    * Denial of service or hacking attacks
    * Service degradation to other users caused by attempts to download the entire database

If you can confirm that these terms and conditions are acceptable in writing by email we will create a user account for your institution, supply the required technical access details and confirm your access to the service.   

Please contact metadata@bl.uk for further information.


For further information please contact:

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

Email: metadata@bl.uk