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ELD explained – Oxford Lib Guides (Bodleian)

ELD explained – Oxford Lib Guides (Bodleian)

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Electronic Legal Deposit: In brief

for readers and reading room staff

Purpose of this guide


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.

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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.


In brief

eLD items can easily be identified by the flag ‘Online access is restricted to library computers in any of the Bodleian Libraries’.

Screenshot of electronic legal deposit item on SOLO

Electronic Legal Deposit items are materials which Oxford has received under Legal Deposit legislation which entitles the Bodleian Libraries to a copy of every item published in the UK. These materials are subject to a number of restrictions under UK Law including:

  • You can only access electronic Legal Deposit on public computers in any of the Bodleian Libraries
  • Only one person at a time can view each item, and there is no time limit set (within a day) for how long an item can be consulted. However, you will be timed out after 5 minutes of inactivity. Once an item has been closed down (or has timed out) it will become available to another reader. 
  • There is no restrictions to the number of electronic Legal Deposit items you can view in a day.
  • Digital copying is not permitted under current legislation. You cannot copy and paste, take a screenshot, download or scan material. 

​More information



Video transcript

Live Chat

Live Chat is available 9 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday and 10 am to 7 pm Saturday and Sunday whilst Bodleian Libraries sites and reading rooms are closed until further notice. 


Transcript: Getting started with Oxford Libraries – Legal deposit and eLD Hello and welcome to this Bodleian Libraries iSkills video introducing legal deposit, both print and electronic. I will be briefly outlining what these terms mean and how you can access legal deposit material. A useful thing to know about the Bodleian Libraries is that we are a legal deposit library and have been for over 400 years. This means that by UK law, the Bodleian is entitled to claim a copy of every UK publication for free and in return we preserve it for future generations. This doesn’t mean we actually get everything, but if something was published in the UK then there is a very good chance that we have a copy. To find out whether we do, start by searching for it on SOLO. However, material we’ve acquired this way generally cannot be borrowed. In the last few years, the legislation changed to give publishers the choice to give us these legal deposit copies either in print, as they were already, or electronically. When this material comes to us electronically, it doesn’t operate like a normal electronic resource. Instead, it is the electronic equivalent of a single print copy that cannot leave the library. Such items can only be accessed on a library PC, and not downloaded or copied. This is known as electronic legal deposit or eLD. Print legal deposit items can be found on the shelves in many of the 38 Bodleian Libraries or stored off site in the Closed Stack. Usually if the item that you want is in the Closed Stack, you can place a stack request for it to be delivered to one of the Bodleian Libraries, to be consulted there. To consult eLD material you can use any library PC across the Bodleian Libraries, but no more than one person across the libraries can read the same item at a time. This term, however, things are a little different. As most of our sites are closed and this material generally isn’t available for ‘Click & Collect’, that means access is rather more restricted. We are offering free scanning, within copyright restrictions, both for items stored offsite in the Closed Stack and for eligible material on the shelves in participating libraries. We cannot provide scans of whole books; if an item is subject to copyright,that usually means we can scan up to one chapter or five percent of a book, or one article from a journal issue. Do watch the ‘Scan & Deliver’ video for more information on how to access these services, or take a look at our website. For eLD material, we offer a service called ‘Print & Deliver’. Legally, we cannot download or copy from any of our eLD collections, but we can print from them within the same copyright restrictions. We can then post you the printed chapter or article. We’re not allowed to offer this service for free, unfortunately, so there is a £2.00 charge that is paid for via your PCAS account. Let’s take a look at how to place a ‘Print & Deliver’ request on SOLO. I’ve found a brand new book that I am interested in, but unfortunately, the only version we have is eLD, as indicated here on the brief record in the search results by the orange dot and the message ‘Electronic Legal Deposit item available via Bodleian Libraries Reading Room PCs only’. Do make sure you’ve double checked that there isn’t a print copy or proper e-book version in your search results. Although SOLO does its best to cluster multiple versions of the same work together, it doesn’t always manage it. Here, there isn’t a better copy available so I’m going to click on the result and go into the full record to see more details. Sometimes, as in this case, you might find under the Description that the contents are listed. If not, you can often find a Table of Contents online. As I can only have one chapter posted to me, I’m going to pick Chapter 3. Now I’m scrolling down the record to the section that says Links, and under here you’ll find the ‘Print & Deliver Request’ option. Let’s click on this. I then fill in this form with my details, including my postal address and my PCAS username and PCAS password. There’s a handy link from here so that you can go and top up your PCAS account if you need to. Then underneath, there’s a section for additional information about the item. So this is where I would say that I need Chapter 3. And I need to read the copyright information; check the box to say that I’ve agreed to it; and once all required fields are filled in I can press ‘Send request’ just here and that’s it! I hope you have found this brief introduction to legal deposit at the Bodleian Libraries useful. Thanks for watching!