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The British National Bibliography Exclusions

This is a guide to the classes of material which are generally not recorded in the British National Bibliography. In some cases this is because they are more properly recorded elsewhere e.g. all Parliamentary and many other official publications or are included in the catalogues of the Stationery Office.
Records for publications in electronic format such as electronic books, PDFs accessible via the World Wide Web, CD-ROMs, DVDs which contain data primarily in the form of text, charts etc. are included, subject to the exclusions listed below.
Exclusion from BNB does not imply that publishers of this material are exempt from their legal obligations to deposit material under the terms of the various Copyright Acts.

  • General Material
    • Publications without a British or Irish imprint and without a UK distributor
    • Straight reproduction of an earlier edition where the publisher and format is unchanged
    • Export editions published in the UK but which are not available for sale in this country
    • Print-on-demand publications
    • Individual issues of serial publications (periodicals, magazines, journals etc.)
    • Individual articles from serial publications or books
    • Individual chapters from books
  • Official Publications
    • Parliamentary papers
    • Non-parliamentary papers such as publications of an administrative nature, appeals, awards, circulars, defence guides, lists and specifications, examination papers, forms, licences, memoranda, notices, orders, regulations, returns, tax cases, and warrants
    • HM Inspectors' reports on individual institutions such as schools, factories, prisons, police forces etc.


  • Publications available within a limited locality or intended for limited distribution
    • Local government publications of an administrative nature, e.g. minutes and agendas of meetings, information leaflets and booklets
    • Electoral rolls
    • Telephone directories
    • Official town guides published by or for local councils/authorities
    • Non-research level local publications, i.e. publications made available exclusively in the locality of the region described or of the building, monument, landscape, firm, society or family described
    • Publications of local clubs or societies of a procedural nature
    • Publications of local branches of political parties, trades unions, employers or professional organisations etc
    • Publications giving information for local residents, visitors, commercial firms etc.
    • Material with limited distribution, e.g. literature for shareholders, reports/agenda of AGMs, internal stock or accessions lists of libraries/museums/galleries etc. in-house staff magazines or current awareness bulletins and internal reports.
  • Material Distinguished by Form
    • Music scores
    • Folded or sheet maps; books of maps (unless containing substantial amount of text)
    • Any published media where the majority of recorded content is sound and/or moving images e.g. audiobooks, audio CDs, DVDs containing films, television programmes etc., podcasts.
    • Websites, blogs, Twitter feeds
    • Computer software, apps etc
    • 'Toy' books, e.g. wipe-clean books, bath books
    • Toys and games (including computer games).
    • Packs of cards including playing cards, trading cards, flash cards etc.
    • Books of camera-ready illustrations, lettering etc.
    • Patents
    • Calendars
    • Diaries (unless containing substantial amount of text)
    • Individual knitting patterns
    • Postcards, including books of reprinted postcards without text
    • Posters.


  • Promotional Material
    • Trade literature including leaflets, catalogues, travel brochures, instruction booklets for manufacturers’ equipment, parts lists, press releases, company licences
    • Publicity material e.g. advertisements, programmes of forthcoming events
    • Prospectuses or syllabuses for educational courses.
    • Promotional material in electronic form (e.g. sample chapters etc).
  • Ephemeral Material
    • Material which would be destroyed by use, e.g. paper dressmaking patterns, puzzle books, colouring books, sticker books etc.
    • Timetables of transport services
    • Examination papers, but examination papers of professional bodies bound for commercial sale will be included
    • Religious or political tracts
    • Off-prints
    • Blank stationery e.g. address books
    • Unbound material e.g. pages held together by treasury tags, or loose in a folder, also educational resource packs
    • Manuscripts or typescripts
    • Loose-leaf supplements i.e. individual updates to cumulating publications.
    • Reports of organisations which are not publicly accountable e.g. annual/quarterly reports concerning the finances of companies/clubs/societies, etc.

For further information please contact:

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