Privacy and cookies

NLS uses friendly cookies

You may have read about the new EU legislation regarding 'cookies'. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers downloaded on to a user device – a computer or a smartphone, for example – when you access some websites.

Cookies allow a website to recognise your browser each time you visit.

We use cookies on National Library of Scotland websites, but they are not 'intrusive'. This means that:

  • We do not use cookies to gather personal data about you in any way
  • We don't use targeting or advertising cookies that build up a profile of you. (These are referred to as 'category 4' cookies in the legislation.)

We think that you will probably be glad that we use cookies on NLS sites, once you know the types of cookies we use and the reasons why.

Strictly necessary – 'category 1' cookies

Some of our cookies are known as 'strictly necessary cookies', or 'category 1' cookies.

These cookies are essential to enable you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website.

Without these cookies we cannot provide access to services you have asked for – like shopping baskets or 'my lists'.

Performance – 'category 2' cookies

We also use what are known as 'performance cookies', or 'category 2' cookies.

A performance cookie gathers anonymous data about how our website is being used. At NLS we use this data to improve the website and to guide us on what information people look for most often on the site.

We use a tool called Google Analytics, which places a cookie on your computer the first time you visit our site. Each time you visit, Google Analytics accesses the cookie to collect information, such as which pages you visited on our website, how long you spent on each page, and which browser you use.

You can opt out of Google Analytics by downloading and installing an add-on to your browser.

You can also restrict or block cookies using your browser settings. For useful information about how to do this, visit