The UL first reported problems with the eLD materials on MondayRebecca Tyson with permission for Varsity

Access to electronic legal deposit (eLD) materials at the UL has been unavailable since 30th October, after a cyber “incident” caused an outage of the British Library’s online systems.

An update on the UL’s website yesterday (2/11) confirmed that electronic legal deposit materials are still unavailable, with the British Library experiencing a “major technology outage”.

The statement added that the timescale for eLD materials to be restored is currently unknown, “due to the complexity of the situation.”

As one of the UK’s five legal deposit libraries, the UL provides access to electronic texts, such as ebooks and journal articles, held in the British Library’s eLD collection.

Users are permitted to view eLD resources at designated terminals in the UL and affiliated Cambridge libraries, and to request printouts of extracts from texts in the eLD collection.

The outage of the British Library’s online servers, on which the collection is stored, has made these materials unavailable for users at the UL and across Faculty and Department Libraries.

The British Library first reported technical issues affecting its digital systems last Saturday (28/10), later revealed to be due to a “cyber incident”.


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As well as online services like the BL website and access to the eLD collection, onsite services like Wi-Fi access and card payments at the BL building are also down.

The UL first advised in a statement this Monday (30/10) that the eLD network was unavailable at its computer terminals. It advised users to “speak to our library staff to explore alternative options”, and to “check ahead before travelling to access non-print Legal Deposit material from [its] terminals”.

The UL’s website states that the following services are also currently unavailable as a result of the cyber attack: the UK Web Archive, inter-library loans sourced from the British Library, the British National Bibliography, the Electronic Theses Online Service, and the English Short Title Catalogue.

Since 2013, legal deposit libraries have been entitled to receive a copy of all electronic texts published in the UK. As of April this year, the eLD collection at the UK’s legal deposit libraries encompasses over 10 million journal articles and nearly 800,000 books.

The University Library was contacted for comment.