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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

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About legal deposit

Find out about how your publications become part of the nation's heritage

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Access to your publications

The publications are kept secure and made available to read on our premises

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Security for your electronic publications

We save your digital deposits in a resilient and secure environment

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Legal deposit and web archiving

We collect and store around 4 million UK websites every year

Blog posts

The past is now: Examples of Britain's anti-immigrant policies from independent Black and Asian community publications

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Emma Abotsi writes about Mukti, a feminist magazine for Asian women in the 1980s, and how its campaigns on race and immigration remain relevant today.

BL Labs Symposium (2019): Book your place for Mon 11-Nov-2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Image taken from page 203 of '[Griffith's new historical description of Cheltenham and its vicinity ... with ... engravings. LP]' Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs The BL Labs team are pleased to announce that the seventh annual ...

The 2019 British Library Labs Staff Award-Nominations Open!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Looking for entries now! Nominate a British Library staff member or a team that has done something exciting, innovative and cool with the British Library's digital collections or data. The 2019 British Library Labs Staff Award, now in its fourth ...

BL Labs Awards 2019: enter before 2100 on Sunday 29th September! (Deadline extended)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

We have extended our deadline for our BL Labs Awards to 21:00 (BST) on Sunday 29th September, submit your entry here. If you have already entered, you don't have to resubmit, however, we are happy to receive updated entries too ....

More blog posts


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How to deposit your print publications

Advice for publishers about what material to send us and where to send it for legal deposit

Blue digital book icon image screen.

How to deposit your digital publications

Legal deposit advice for publishers of websites, CD-ROMs and other e-publications

An ISSN barcode

Get an ISBN or ISSN for your publication

These identifiers are used for distributing, describing and selling publications

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Request access restrictions for your publications

Information on our notice and takedown procedure

Related subjects and services

UK Web Archive

UK Web Archive

Find out about the many websites we preserve and make available for researchers

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Printed books

Our collections include books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, handbills and advertisements

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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

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Digitisation Services

Digitise your archives with us or buy images of unique British Library material