Electronic legal deposit for historians: finding and accessing important history journals

A year and a half into the new era of Electronic Legal Deposit, and the introduction of Electronic Legal Deposit (eLD) is beginning to be seen on the Bodleian shelves – but only among the journals. At the time of writing this post, there are no e-books accessible via eLD for history, or indeed any other subject.

The impact among the history journals is the result of the publishers Cambridge University Press, Edinburgh University Press, Manchester University Press and Maney being early adopters of electronic deposit for their journal titles. The consequence is that issues of Agent's websitehistory journals are now no longer arriving as physical (ie printed) items from the Copyright Agency to sit on the Upper Reading Room current journal display and in the Humanities Journal section in the Gladstone Link. Their contents have become available to read online via Bodleian library computers. Just as readers have always had to come to the Bodleian to read issues of journals deposited in print form, so they will still need to come to a Bodleian Reading Room and be logged into a Bodleian computer to read issues deposited via eLD.

In another blog post I will explain how the articles of eLD journals can be found in SOLO and accessed.

For now, our readers may be somewhat reassured that we have excellent journal subscriptions which will be maintained. For instance, for the 25 key UK-published history journal titles currently coming via eLD listed below, the Bodleian also has an electronic subscription to them. Indeed, SSO holders are encouraged to access these journals via the subscription database option, as this will have much better functionality, as well as being accessible to them wherever they have access to the internet. (Not just when they are sitting at a Bodleian Library computer.).

OUP is continuing to send us printed issues following a special arrangement with the Bodleian Libraries which is outside the Legal Deposit framework. Therefore issues for Past & Present, English Historical Review, etc. will continue to arrive in print.


Let us suppose a reader has come into the Upper Reading Room Bod and is looking  for the latest issue of the Economic History Review 67 (4) Nov 2014 on the History Current Journal display. Briefly disappointed that the latest issue is no longer being received in print and taking note of the replacement sign that this journal is coming under electronic Legal Deposit, the readers realises s/he needs now to go to a library computer in order to access the electronic copy.

The next course of action is to either logon to a Library PC or laptop, if the reader had one, and search in SOLO for the journals title to look for the link to the electronic version.

The electronic subscription should be displayed first. The electronic Legal Deposit version but can always be identified by the notice *** This copy is available via Bodleian Libraries reading room PCs only ***.

SOLO capture - eLD - EHR in SOLOIn our case, our imaginary reader will use the first option, which is our electronic subscription. It is possible to print out articles from Library PCs and laptops via our PCAS service.

Get automatic alerts for new issues

If you wish to be alerted when a new issue is published, electronic journal subscriptions usually users to also set up content alerts, ie you will receive an email each time a new issue has been published. The Bodleian iSkills course handouts for Getting information to come to you.

More support

If you would like more information on how to find eLD material, the Bodleian’s SOLO Libguide includes an eLD page with audio-visual guidance.Should you encounter any problems when in a Bodleian Reading Room, you are very welcome to ask a member of staff for help – we are learning this new system too!

More about electronic Legal Deposit

If you are interested knowing more about electronic Legal Deposit in general, there is more detailed information on the central Bodleian website.

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