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The On Demand document supply service provided by the British Library to non-commercial UK institutions has been extended to institutions in countries characterised by the United Nations as ‘least developed’.
One of the Library’s core aims is the advancement of knowledge throughout the world, and the extension of the document supply service is intended to support scientists and researchers in countries which have limited access to research materials.
The Library is committed to reducing the knowledge gap between nations and individuals and takes part in initiatives both in the UK and overseas which support this goal. The extension of the document delivery service on the same basis as that provided to UK institutions, was initiated after discussion with publishers and other stakeholders, demonstrating how those in the publishing and information environment are keen to support access to knowledge.
Prior to 2012 the British Library provided a document supply service to overseas customers, known as overseas library privilege. This was replaced by a licensed service (known as International Non-Commerical Document Supply Service (INCD) in January 2012. In June 2016, the licensed offering was withdrawn due to low usage, leaving researchers in many nations with limited options in terms of access to research materials, especially for those without a stable internet connection.
Andy Appleyard, Head of Document Supply said “I am delighted that British Library On Demand is supporting researchers in countries defined by the UN as ‘least developed’. The library has a long tradition of enabling access to knowledge and this initiative is contributing to measures which are closing the worldwide knowledge gap.”
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.