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8th March 2018





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We would like to remind our editors throughout the UK that the legal requirement to send a copy of every publication that is available to the public, including church magazines, to the British Library is now mandatory, based on the Legal Deposit Libraries Act of 2003. Recent e-mail correspondence with the Legal Deposit Department (legal-deposit-serials@bl.uk) makes it very clear that the editors of all British magazines should send a copy of each issue within 30 days of publication in hard copy to Legal Deposit Serials, The British Library, Boston Spa, Wetherby, LS23 7BY. This applies to both paid-for and free magazines. The copy deposited must be “of the same quality as the best copies which, at the time of delivery, have been produced for publication in the United Kingdom”. The cost of this is at the editor's/church's expense.

Recently some members have received a standard letter asking for back copies to be sent. They can be taken in person to either the London or Boston Spa (Wetherby) branches, which may save postage. Or they may be sent by post. If you don’t have any back copies, a letter stating that you do not have any would be acceptable.

More information is available on their websites, www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/printedpubs and www.legaldeposit.org.uk/index.html. We suggest contacting them directly by e-mail if you are in any doubt, or have a query. Their phone number is 01937 546267.

The other Legal Deposit libraries in Scotland, Wales, Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin are also entitled to ask you to send them a copy but you do not need to do this unless asked by them. Some editors have had a request for this from the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries, including a request for back copies. They require 5 copies each time, one for each of the above libraries., Which they then forward on.

For magazines that are in electronic format only, you will need to get in contact with the electronic team on ldo-electronic@bl.uk or telephone 01937 546510.

As my magazine is also in the magazine section of the church website, instead of sending a copy to the British Library and 5 to the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries each time, I asked if it would be possible to send it electronically by e-mail to ldo-electronic@bl.uk. They replied saying that I was suitable for migration ocer to electronic deposit and gave me a starting date. They attached a YouTube clip and 2 attachments – documents about how to register and how to upload. The instructions that need to be followed are very specific. After registering, they decide and let you know if it has been approved. They then send you the link to log on to the portal and submit Legal Deposit material. It wasn’t too difficult to do, I just had a query about file naming convention, (in the appendix of the upload instructions), and spoke to the manager of the Digital Process Team, Paul Thurlow, who was extremely helpful (telephone: 04937 546018). I uploaded the magazine as a pdf and you also have to fill in an accompanying form each time. They then confirm receipt and contact you if there are any problems. Although it was a bit fiddly to do the first time, this is a lot easier and cheaper than sending paper copies each time and I recommend that other editors who have their magazines on the Internet consider applying too.

Editors who do not comply with these requirements could be open to prosecution.

For those who are concerned that their magazine, (whether deposited as paper copy or electronically, will be open to all and sundry via the British Library on the Internet, this is not the case. Access is restricted to the reading rooms of the British Library and the other 5 Legal deposit libraries. Only one title can be accessed at any one time and there are certain restrictions on printing, etc. More detailed information can be found on this link: www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/index.html.

Sally Churchus, 2nd February 2016

Updated 23rd February 2016