British Library statement regarding the Taliban Sources Project

In July 2015 curators from the British Library met with Thesigers, a consultancy that manages the Taliban Sources Project, to discuss whether the Library would be willing to acquire and give access to their large digitised archive.

Following an examination of a list of the archive’s content, it was recognised that the scale, complexity and nature of the material would pose major challenges to our ability to fully assess, host and provide researchers with access to the archive. For instance, the majority of the archive is subject to copyright law and we would not be able to provide access to researchers in its current form.

Furthermore, the Library judged that the archive contained some material which could contravene the Terrorism Act (2006). The Act places specific responsibilities on anyone in the UK who might provide access to terrorist publications, and the legal advice received jointly by the British Library and other similar institutions highlighted the risks of making this type of material accessible.

Following an assessment of these challenges, it was decided to decline the request to take on the archive.

All British Library acquisitions are judged on a case-by-case basis, in the context of the needs of our users and our broader collections programme.  

Notes to Editors

This statement was updated on 16 September 2015.

For more information:

Sophie McIvor
The British Library
t: +44 (0)20 7412 7790

Evenings and weekends:
+44 (0) 20 7412 7150

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