The Library collects Australian printed publications under the legal deposit section of the Copyright Act 1968 and selected materials in other formats, including oral histories, manuscripts, pictures and e-publications. The Library also harvests and archives a snapshot of the Australian (.au) internet domain.
In 2011–12, the Library will:
- implement a new international standard for the bibliographic description of library materials
- collaborate with relevant agencies to discuss the extension of legal deposit to non-print resources
- plan and design the implementation of a next-generation digital library infrastructure to support digital Australian collections.
Implement a new international standard for the bibliographic description of library materials.
The Library has been closely involved in the development of Resource Description and Access (RDA), the new international standard for the bibliographic description of library materials. Library staff, with colleagues from the Library of Congress, the British Library and the Library and Archives Canada, have served on the international committees responsible for the development of the new cataloguing rules designed to enable libraries to manage collections in the digital, online environment. During the year, the national libraries involved agreed that RDA would be implemented in early 2013. In preparation, the Library has developed training materials and a training program to enable Australian libraries to adopt the new standard and has assessed the changes to workflows and data management systems that will be required. In addition, changes required to support RDA in Libraries Australia services have been identified and scoped; these changes will be implemented in the second half of 2012. Training will commence in late 2012.
Collaborate with relevant agencies to discuss the extension of legal deposit to non-print resources.
The legal deposit provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (section 201) require that the publisher of any library material published in Australia delivers a copy to the National Library. The definition of library material is currently limited to print-based publications. In response to the effect of digital technology on information dissemination, the Library has advocated for change to the legal deposit provisions to include publications such as CD-ROMs, DVDs, websites, blogs and electronic books, journals, newspapers and magazines. The Library was, therefore, pleased when, in early 2011, the Attorney General’s Department set up a working group to consider the Library’s legal deposit requirements and to prepare a public consultation paper on the issue. The consultation paper, Extending Legal Deposit (7 March 2012), presents a model for how an extended scheme would apply to e-publications of all kinds—both online and offline in a physical carrier.
Plan and design the implementation of next-generation digital library infrastructure to support digital Australian collections.
In 2010–11, the Library commenced a project to replace digital library assets in order to meet its collecting, delivery and preservation obligations in the digital age. The Library is unable to meet its obligations with existing infrastructure. The five-year Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement (DLIR) project is coordinated by a board comprising division heads and representatives from the Library’s collection management, resource sharing, IT and corporate services areas.
As part of the DLIR project, the Library will replace the existing systems that form the backbone of the Library’s digital library infrastructure, namely the Digital Collections Manager, the Newspaper Collections Manager, the web-archiving system and the digital content capture system for physical carriers. Also in scope is the requirement to deliver capabilities for digital preservation, online deposit and the ability to support an extended range of digital formats.
Central to the project is the open-market procurement of pre-existing software or services to deliver the software, supplemented by in-house development of components that cannot be purchased. Implementation will commence in 2012–13 using commercial, off-the-shelf software supplemented by components developed in-house.
Issues and Developments
Important collection items which received preservation treatment during the year included:
- Neville Cayley watercolours and photographs of Australian birds
- Rex Nan Kivell Collection of pre-1800 parchment legal documents and manuscript fragments
- books and works of art for the exhibition, Lewin: Wild Art
- a letterbook from the Victorian Branch of the Imperial Federation League covering the period 1889 to 1910.
In addition, the Preservation area conducted a trial to digitise five nineteenth-century letterbooks for preservation purposes, rather than microfilming the items, which is the more traditional approach. The results of the trial will assist the Library in deciding whether to adopt digitisation as its preferred preservation reformatting strategy.
In late 2011–12, the Library completed a major review of collecting overseas publications, which recommended that, wherever possible, the Library moves away from a collecting to an access model and gives preference to digital resources over print publications. The recommendations were accepted but, subsequent to completion of the review and faced with a difficult budget outlook, the Library decided to reduce the budget allocated to overseas collecting to free up funds for strategic priorities, such as digitisation, in tandem with moving towards a digital library model. Over the next two years, the acquisitions budget will be reduced by one third for journals and one quarter for books. This will result in the cancellation of a large number of print journals and a reduction in the number of books collected, as well as a highly selective approach to providing access to online databases. The Library’s overseas priority collecting area will remain the Asia-Pacific region.
Coinciding with the review of collecting overseas publications and, after several years of work, the Library completed a review of materials received via gift and exchange arrangements from overseas institutions. The purpose of the review was to assess the effectiveness of such exchange arrangements in light of the Library’s current collecting policy, the increased online availability of Australian and overseas government publications and the cost of running gift and exchange operations. During the course of the review, over 1,400 titles were assessed (75 per cent of which were cancelled) and 46 exchanges were closed. A limited number of exchanges, mainly from the Asia-Pacific region, remain open but all exchanges have been reduced in size and will take little effort to manage in future.
Throughout the year, substantial effort was invested in identifying the policy, procedures, workflows and skills required to support collecting and managing Australian digital resources, such as e-publications, which are ineligible for managing in PANDORA: Australia’s Web Archive. This information is required for the development of supporting systems that will be delivered through the DLIR project. In addition, it is required to prepare the Library for the eventual implementation of extended legal deposit provisions covering digital publications.
Collection items stored and maintained [#]
Items catalogued or indexed [#]
Key performance indicators
National collection—processing [%]
National collection—storage [%]
Figure 3.1: Number of Collection Items Stored and Maintained
The target was met.
The target was met.
Figure 3.2: Number of Collection Items Catalogued or Indexed
The target was not met due to a number of factors, including a reduction in the number of items acquired for the Pictures Collection.
The target was met.