Legal deposit libraries in Ireland and the UK celebrate 10 years of digital collecting

Since 1801 Trinity College Library has been the only Irish library which has access to UK’s Legal Deposit allowing access to publications in both Ireland and the UK

Today, the Library of Trinity College Dublin marked the 10th anniversary of the collection and preservation of digital publication along with other legal deposit libraries in the UK.

Legal deposit libraries include the Library of Trinity College Dublin, the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford and Cambridge University Library.

In 2013 the six legal deposit libraries across Ireland and the UK were given the right to access copies of electronic publications the same way as print or non-electrical materials. In the decade since, more than 10 million journal articles and nearly 800,000 books have been collected.

Those seeking to gain access to the Legal Deposit now have the ability to obtain the materials via e-books, online journals and websites.  

Access had also been given to the UK Web Archive which contains materials pertaining to online communication about health during the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit to name a few. It has been responsible for collecting books by women authors from the 19th century onwards in both Ireland and the UK and also facilitating the construction of the Easter Rising 1916 Web Archive.

The Library of Trinity has also led the publication of a large number of Northern Irish materials ranging from books to pamphlets. This is of particular importance as the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement is also being celebrated this week.

Helen Shenton, Librarian & College Archivist, commented on the anniversary saying: “Today, the Library of Trinity College Dublin together with our five legal deposit libraries in the UK, celebrate 10-years of digital collecting, which has enabled the creation of a seventh, transnational digital library for the benefit of all.”

“It is also an opportunity to look back on the significant impact Legal Deposit has had over centuries, building an unparalleled record of our intellectual and cultural heritage.” 

Legal Deposit was established in Trinity in 1801 which facilitates access to legal deposit legislation from both Ireland and the UK. This has allowed the library to create a collection of five million volumes thus creating records of intellectual and cultural heritage which has assisted the research of both students and researchers. The library has received international recognition for its role in supporting and facilitating learning and reaching across a wide range of disciplines and garners many international users each year.  

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.