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UK Electronic Legal Deposit

Our Nations' Heritage

Legal Deposit, which has existed in English law since 1662, ensures that the published output of the UK and Ireland is collected, preserved and made available within the six Legal Deposit Libraries for present and future generations.

Print publications for Legal Deposit include books, journals, sheet music, maps, plans, charts and tables. New regulations came into force on the 6th April 2013 to extend Legal Deposit to materials published electronically and on the Internet. Electronic Legal Deposit covers material published digitally such as websites, blogs, e-books, e-journals and CD-ROMs.

UK electronic Legal Deposit (UK eLD)

The six Legal Deposit Libraries are collaborating to archive and provide seamless access to electronic Legal Deposit material (eLD), with a growing collection of more than 5 million e-books and e-journal articles. This is the first time that a collaborative effort on this scale has been achieved in the UK, Ireland and internationally between major library institutions. More and more publishers are depositing electronic material, which can be accessed in each library in the same way. Electronic formats facilitate improved search capabilities within a document, which is not possible in printed publications. Material received electronically from publishers is saved in perpetuity by the Legal Deposit Libraries and can be accessed on library premises only.

Electronic Legal Deposit is also referred to as Non-Print Legal Deposit (NPLD).

In the Library of Trinity College Dublin, we are using the terminology "UK eLD" to specifically refer to electronic Legal Deposit of UK material, received under the UK legislation. At the moment, eLD does not cover Irish material under the Irish regulations.

Why is UK eLD useful?

Extending legal deposit to cover electronic publications and the UK web output is vital to ensure that the whole of the UK’s publishing output is captured and preserved for the future. This development will further enhance the Legal Deposit collections available in the Library of Trinity College Dublin. Since 1801, materials received under Legal Deposit have been used extensively to support research, teaching and learning activities in Trinity College Dublin. Over time, more and more content will become available, and more publishers will switch to deposit electronically. Not all publishers publish their materials electronically, and where a publication is only available in print we will continue to receive it in that format.

How do I access UK eLD material (books or articles or web archive)?

Access to UK eLD material is available on PCs in the Berkeley, Lecky, Hamilton, and John Stearne Medical Library, Early Printed Books and Manuscripts & Archives reading rooms only.

Titles of e-books and articles can be searched for using Stella Search from anywhere, but can only be read from the above reading room PCs, or the laptops available for loan from the Berkeley Library Basement.

The UK Web Archive also has a dedicated interface - some of its content is accessible everywhere, but a portion is only accessible from the above reading room PCs and laptops.

UK Web Archive

Why do I have to accept terms and conditions?

Although this material is visible online, access to it is restricted, and this Non-Print Legal Deposit Access Policy is there to remind readers of those restrictions.

Can I access the UK eLD material on my own laptop in the library or in my office on campus or at home?

The legislation only permits access on Library-owned PCs (including Library laptops), and only one person at a time may view an item. Once the person using it has finished and closes down the item, it will become available, within a couple of minutes, for another reader to consult.

Can I download or copy and paste any of the UK eLD material?

No. The regulations are designed to mimic what can and can’t be done with print materials. As with print, each library is entitled to a single copy of any given publication; if digital copying was permitted, that would soon create multiple copies. Readers cannot: copy and paste content; download content; save content; or take a photograph of the screen content.

Can I print UK eLD material?

In most cases, you can print a portion of any work we have received under UK eLD. However, the process is substantially different to the standard way of printing on campus and the following guide should be used.

UK eLD Printing Guide

Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA) Pilot: Improving Access to Academic Books

The Library is pleased to offer Trinity College Dublin staff and students the option to select books to add to our collection. All the available titles are from publishers who have moved to UK e-Legal Deposit since 2015, such as Taylor & Francis, Routledge and Sage. While the quantity and range of titles via UK e-legal deposit is impressive (over 300,000 e-books as of August 2018), access is restricted to Library PCs only. The Library understands that the access restrictions can be a barrier to research, and so we are inviting our readers to select, when needed, an additional copy for our collection. Integrated with our catalogue are thousands of records for available titles. Print copies can be ordered with a lead time of approximately three weeks, and on arrival the book will be reserved for you.