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.

Electronic Legal Deposit started 6 April: learn how to find electronic items in SOLO and use them

At midnight on 5/6 April 2013, new legislation came into force allowing the Bodleian Libraries and the other Legal Deposit Libraries in the UK and Ireland, to access electronic books, articles, web pages and other electronic documents published in the UK. This is the electronic equivalent of print legal deposit, the legislation which has allowed the Bodleian Libraries to receive a copy of every item published in print in the UK since 1662. Bodleian Libraries will be referring to this new material as Electronic Legal Deposit (eLD).

Watch this SOLO Video Guide for an overview of the regulations governing the use of electronic Legal Deposit materials and guidance on how to access them using SOLO.


The new eLD legislation covers:

  1. E-journals, e-books and other electronic documents published in the UK
  2. Web pages published in the UK
  3. Stand alone or “off line” electronic items such as CD-ROMs

The legislation does not cover:

  1. Social media web sites e.g. Facebook
  2. Web sites and other materials which solely consist of audio/visual content (for example YouTube). However, where audio or video clips are embedded within, for example a normal web page, it will be covered. A good example of this is videos embedded in news items on the BBC web site.

Restrictions in use

Access to eLD items is subject to the following restrictions which are imposed by the Legal Deposit Act 2003:

  • eLD items may only be accessed from the premises of the Legal Deposit Libraries. In Oxford this means that you will only be able to access eLD items from within the 30 Bodleian Libraries. You will not be able to access them from College Libraries or other University premises outside of the Bodleian Libraries.   In addition, unlike our other e-resources, you will not be able to gain outside access even if you are using your Oxford Single Sign on (SSO) or VPN
  • eLD items may only be accessed from Library computers in the Bodleian Libraries. You will therefore need to use one of the Libraries’ public workstations rather than your own laptop or device.
  • Each item on eLD may only be viewed by one person in the Bodleian Libraries at a time. If someone is already using the eLD item that you want, you will need to come back later.
  • You may not make digital copies or save eLD items – even within normal copyright limits
  • You may not copy and paste from eLD items

In addition to these legal restrictions, due to technical issues in the Bodleian Libraries you will only be able to access eLD items from the Mozilla Firefox browser.  You will not be able to access them from Internet Explorer.

How to find eLD material in SOLO

You will be able to find and access articles and books deposited via eLD using SOLO.  The SOLO search screen now has four search tabs, two of which can be used to search Electronic Legal Deposit.

SOLO with eLD tabs

More details and help

More details, how to use SOLO to include and exclude eLD materials, and for information about further support, check out the Bodleian Libraries eLD guide.