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Cambridge University Library

Thursday, 22 February, 2024

The British Library has advised they are working towards the middle of this calendar year to restore access to the electronic legal deposit service. Tell us what you need. We are here to help you.

We understand that students and researchers want and need access to this service sooner. We will do everything we can to help you, including providing alternative ways to access the content wherever possible, such as through inter-library loans and purchasing content.



The cyberattack on the British Library last year affected all their services, and they are still facing a huge task to restore and rebuild everything.

Our shared priority is the restoration of on-site access to the digital collections acquired through non-print legal deposit (NPLD). This service is provided by the British Library through terminals in legal deposit libraries.

Cambridge University Library is in regular contact with the British Library, alongside the five other legal deposit libraries, to ensure this important service is restored as soon as possible.


Latest update

The British Library has shared in their latest update: “Lack of access to this collection has had an impact on the other legal deposit libraries (the National Libraries of Wales and Scotland, the Bodleian Libraries, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Dublin) and the researchers that rely on them, and we are working closely with these partners to enable access to this content, in some form, by the middle of the year.

“Like our physical holdings, this is a collection that continues to grow, year on year, and so we will aim to have a means to capture and store new NPLD content within a similar timescale. We expect that it will take longer to restore access to the UK Web Archive because of the scale and complexity of this collection, and we will provide further details on our plans for this as soon as we can.”

Read the full update and timeline.

The British Library has said they will be working to restore access to the electronic legal deposit between April and July.


Resources unaffected and available to you now

Legal deposit libraries have the right to request a copy of every publication in the UK and Ireland. Cambridge University Library has been collecting in print since 1710. Our print collection is ongoing and all publications are still available.

For over a decade, legal deposit has extended to include electronic publication in the UK (non-print legal deposit). Some publishers have transitioned to electronic-only deposit for all their publications. Access to electronic legal deposit content is via the British Library and this is the service currently unavailable and being restored.

All our other digital services, and our purchased electronic content, are still available:


These services are available onsite and offsite, with your username and password where applicable. All University of Cambridge students and staff are automatically members of the Library: simply use your Cambridge login. Everyone is welcome to join the Library: find out more and register.

Cambridge Digital Library is accessible to everyone, everywhere, without a login.


Tell us what you need

We understand deadlines are on the horizon and it will soon be a stressful time for a lot of our community. Talk to us about the impact. Tell us what you need. We will do whatever we can to help. Ask in person at the University Library on West Road, your faculty or department library, or email


This page was first published on 30 October 2023 and has been regularly updated. Latest update: 22 February 2024.