Legal Deposit

Welsh Books Council

Legal Deposit

Publishers in the UK are required by law to supply one copy of each of their publications to the British Library, free of charge, within one month of publication. They are also required to supply a copy to five other libraries (see list below) within twelve months of the date of publication if requested to do so by The Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries. In practice, most publishers supply these copies as a matter of course.

With a few exceptions (e.g. publications circulated only to members of a society), all printed publications come within the scope of legal deposit.

Copies for The British Library should be sent to:

Legal Deposit Office
The British Library
Boston Spa
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BY

Enquiries about books:

Tel. 019 375 46268

Enquiries about serials:

Tel. 019 37 5 46267  

  • The other Legal Deposit Libraries are:

    The National Library of Wales
    The Bodleian Library, Oxford
    The University Library, Cambridge
    The National Library of Scotland
    The Library of Trinity College, Dublin
    From 2 March 2009 copies for these libraries should be sent to:

    The Agent
    Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries
    161 Causewayside 
    EH9 1PH
    Tel: 0131 623 4680
    Further information about the agency, including practical information on delivery arrangements, is available from and at

  • Alternatively, publishers who use the distribution services of the Welsh Books Council may forward copies for all six libraries through the Council’s Distribution Centre. Enquiries about this service should be directed to:

    Welsh Books Council Distribution Centre
    Glanyrafon Enterprise Park

    SY23 3AQ
    Tel. 01970 624455
    Fax 01970 625506  


Regulations governing the legal deposit of non-print publications came into force on 6 April 2013. In line with the Legal Deposit Act 2003, the new legislation regulating the legal deposit of non-print publications will give the UK’s six Legal Deposit Libraries, including the National Library of Wales (NLW), the right to claim a copy of any non-print publication published in the UK.

While the new legislation became law on 6 April, it may take some time for all aspects of this new legal deposit process to become fully operational. There may, for instance, be a delay in items becoming available to the public or in providing access to the new deposit portal for e-books and e-journals. We will be contacting publishers to let them know as soon as registration for the new deposit portal is available. In the meantime, publishers who deposit in print format should continue to do so until an agreement is reached to do otherwise.

Nevertheless, as a means of preparing publishers for the new legislation, we have outlined below the main points of the new legislation and the responsibilities that publishers and the Legal Deposit Libraries have under it. For further information on the new legal deposit legislation for non-print publications, please visit the Legal Deposit pages on the NLW website.

Material covered by the new legislation

The new legislation gives the NLW the legal right to collect or claim any UK published non-print publication. Non-print publications cover the following categories:

§  Hand-held media such as CD-ROMs and microfilm

§  E-books, e-journals and official documents published on electronic formats

§  Websites and web pages

The new legislation does not cover:

§  Films and sound recordings (except where they are part of an electronic publication e.g. a web page/website)

§  Intranets

§  Emails

§  Restricted personal data

Where the same material is published in both print and non-print formats, the publisher should deposit only one medium; until both the publisher and deposit library agree to transfer to depositing electronically, the publisher should continue depositing print copies.

How to deposit

The new legislation will bring about changes to how some non-print publications are collected. The procedure for the collection of hand-held material (e.g. CD-ROMs) will remain the same as under the established voluntary code of practice, with the NLW or Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries claiming these publications within 12 months of their publication.

E-books, e-journals and similar electronically published material (e.g. official publications) may be deposited via an online secure deposit portal which will allow publishers or their authorised representative to upload publications to the legal deposit libraries’ secure electronic repository, the Shared Technical Infrastructure. Publishers will be asked to register to use the deposit portal and will then be provided with a username and password which will allow them to deposit material remotely. Assistance in using the portal will be available to Welsh publishers via the NLW.

Freely accessible websites and web pages will be archived by the use of web crawler software, which will take a ‘snapshot’ of the website at least once a year. The archiving of websites and web pages hidden behind pay walls or requiring a password or subscription requires the Legal Deposit Libraries to contact the publisher prior to archiving. Publishers of these websites will be contacted as soon as the Legal Deposit Libraries are ready to begin processing this material.


Deposited non-print publications will be made available to library users on the principle of providing access to one copy via a single computer terminal at a time within the library’s premises. Deposited works will not be available online externally. Archived websites and deposited electronic publications will not be accessible by the public for at least seven days after they have been deposited or harvested.


The publications uploaded to the deposit portal will be stored on the Legal Deposit Libraries Shared Technical Infrastructure, with storage nodes located in St. Pancras, Boston Spa, Aberystwyth and Edinburgh. The Shared Technical Infrastructure is a secure environment with network links protected by firewalls and virus checking systems and with no public internet access. A digital rights management system also prevents digital copying of the stored material as well as ensuring that a deposited work can be viewed on only one computer at a time within the premises of each legal deposit library. The legal deposit libraries have also signed a joint undertaking on the security of deposited non-print publications to the Joint Committee on Legal Deposit.


Until 31 March 2014, new start-up businesses or micro-businesses of fewer than 10 employees are exempt from the legal obligation to deposit publications in hand-held media or content that requires a password or subscription to view, although they are welcome to deposit such non-print material with the libraries if they so wish.

Notice and Takedown

The NLW, like the other Legal Deposit Libraries, operates a Notice and Takedown policy which allows public access to deposited material to be withdrawn under specific circumstances. If you come across legal deposit material that you believe should not be available to users, please contact the NLW in writing, either by email to or by letter to the Enquiries Service, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3BU. For further information on the valid reasons for removing material, and the information that should be included in any complaint, please visit the Library’s Notice and Takedown Policy page on the NLW website.

Date last updated: 11 Mar 2015