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

Help

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

History in the Making: 40 years on from the Black People’s Day of Action

Monday, March 1, 2021

This blog post highlights a small selection of items in the Library’s collections of interest to anyone wanting to know more about the educators and activists behind the Black People’s Day of Action on 2nd March 1981.

The New Media Writing Prize collection is now available in the UK Web Archive

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

For the past four years, the British Library has been researching, collecting and documenting complex digital publications produced in the UK. Born in response to the 2013 UK Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations, the Emerging Formats project looked at different examples...

BL Labs Awards Symposium 2020, Rewind, Reflections, Box-sets and Seasons Greetings

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs. This action packed, detailed 'rewind' and festive bumper edition blog post about last week's largest ever BL Labs Awards Symposium 2020, contains some hidden seasonal gifts🎁(if you read very carefully) to bring...

Shortlist and voting for BL Labs People's Choice: Public Awards 2020 announced! Last chance: Book BL Labs Symposium!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs. Screenshots from the 10 BL Labs shortlisted entries for the Public Awards 2020 After much deliberation and intense discussion with key people from the BL Labs Advisory board and British Library we...

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