The 2013 introduction of "Non-Print Legal Deposit" in the UK allowed a trusted group of national and academic libraries to collect published digital materials for the first time, taking steps to secure the UK's "Digital Universe." Despite this, there is relatively little research into how e-legal deposit has affected the UK academic institutions tasked with enacting the regulations, or indeed their users.
This is where the Digital Library Futures project steps in. We intend to provide a first user-focused study which explores how legal deposit collections are accessed and used, and to what extent these collections should support contemporary research in academic libraries.
We will explore the issues surrounding legal deposit in the digital age, and address the tension between a regulatory framework designed with long-term preservation in mind, and developments in academia and society which have made digital library collections a vital and vibrant source of knowledge.
This research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.