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

Interactive Fiction in the UK

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Nick Montfort suggests interactive fiction stories are ‘computer programs that display text, accept textual responses and then display additional text in reaction [to those responses]’.[1] Since there’s no agreed definition of interactive fiction (IF), Montfort’s is as good a starting...

BL Labs 2018 Research Award Honourable Mention: 'Doctoral theses as alternative forms of knowledge: Surfacing "Southern" perspectives on student engagement with internationalisation'

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

This guest blog is by Professor Catherine Montgomery, recipient of one of two Honourable Mentions in the 2018 BL Labs Awards Research category for her work with the British Library's EThOS collection. ‘Contemporary universities are powerful institutions, interlinked on a...

Innovation Fellow for Interactive Fiction in the Emerging Formats Project

Thursday, January 24, 2019

There’s an episode of book shop-based comedy, Black Books, in which Fran, played by Tamsin Greig, starts a new job. She has no idea what her role actually consists of, and yet, somehow, she becomes good at it and delivers...

Can you help us with user experience testing for books designed for mobile devices?

Monday, January 21, 2019

On 7- 8th February, we’ll be running some user testing sessions, to help us understand how people might want to use new types of digital publications in our collections. We are interested in understanding what the user needs are for...

More blog posts