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

Web archiving the UEFA Women’s Euros in Wigan

Friday, July 29, 2022

By Georgina Bentley, Service Manager Community-based Customer & Cultural Services at Wigan Council Introduction The Heritage Fund awarded £500,000 to a programme which is recording the hidden history of women’s football and launched a celebration of the game, its players,...

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives, The British Library Introduction The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are taking place from July 28th to August 8th. There is also an extensive cultural programme running alongside the event till the end of...

UK Digital Comics: More of the same but different? [1]

Monday, July 18, 2022

This is a guest post by Linda Berube, an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership student based at the British Library and City, University of London. If you would like to know more about Linda's research, please do email her at Linda.Berube@city.ac.uk....

Web Archiving the UEFA Women’s Euro England 2022 tournament in Northern Ireland

Thursday, July 14, 2022

By Rosita Murchan, Web Archivist, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) Thanks to the Deputy Keeper of the Records, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Association for the photo The Public Record Office...

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