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As part of Libraries Week (October 7-12), the six Legal Deposit Libraries in the UK and Ireland (Cambridge University Library, British Library, Bodleian Libraries, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, and Trinity College, Dublin) are highlighting Electronic Legal Deposit  - a growing collection of more than five million eBooks and eJournal articles.

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. New regulations came into force on the 6th April 2013 to extend Legal Deposit to materials published electronically and on the internet.  

Print publications for Legal Deposit can be books, journals, sheet music, maps, plans, charts or tables. Electronic Legal Deposit also covers material published digitally such as websites, blogs, e-journals and CD-ROMs.

The six Legal Deposit Libraries are collaborating to archive and provide seamless access to electronic Legal Deposit material, with a collection of more than 5 million eBooks and eJournal 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.

For comprehensive information on how to access and use electronic Legal Deposit at the Cambridge University Libraries, please see our online guide on Electronic Legal Deposit.