This guide is intended for students and researchers at the University of Oxford, or those visiting, who seek support in using the Bodleian Libraries’ electronic Legal Deposit special collection.
Use this guide to find out about electronic Legal Deposit, what is available and how to access this special collection.
Please note that electronic Legal Deposit is not the same as commercially available digital material. All the Legal Deposit Libraries are bound by the same UK legislation that restricts access to this material.
What is covered by electronic Legal Deposit?
Access via SOLO: Ejournals, ebooks and other e-versions of traditional printed materials, standalone or "off line" electronic items such as CD ROMs.
Access via the UK Legal Deposit Web Archive: Websites published in the UK. This not only includes websites with a .uk, .Scotland, .Wales or .England web address but also other websites which are substantially published in the UK. However, it does NOT Include websites such as YouTube which consist solely of audio visual content.
Although the new legislation came into force in April 2013, this does not mean that the Bodleian Libraries have every ebook and every ejournal published since that date. In fact the Legal Deposit Act 2003 entitles the Bodleian Libraries and the other Legal Deposit Libraries to either a print OR an electronic copy of every item published in the UK but not to both. In practice this means that we will continue to receive printed items from many publishers for some years to come. Meanwhile other publishers have already started to deposit material with us electronically and we no longer receive their output in print.
Will there be a print copy available as well?
The Legal Deposit Act 2003 entitles the Bodleian Libraries and the other Legal Deposit Libraries to either a print OR an electronic copy of every item published in the UK but not to both. In practice this means that we will continue to receive printed items from many publishers for some years to come. Subject librarians may also choose to purchase a copy of the item in print.
What is the lifespan of electronic Legal Deposit material?
It is the aim of the Legal Deposit Libraries to preserve all printed and electronic Legal deposit collections and make them available in perpetuity. As time goes on and current technologies are superseded, content may have to be migrated to different formats to ensure that it remains accessible. Alternatively copies of relevant software will be retained to ensure continued access. To this end the British Library has a digital preservation department who specifically looks at the long-term preservation and access to digital content.
When is deposited content made available?
Under legal deposit, websites and deposited electronic publications are not accessible for at least seven days after they are deposited or harvested. After that, they may be made available to users of the Legal Deposit Libraries.