Legal Deposit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are government publications subject to Legal Deposit?

Government publications are not covered by the Copyright Act 1968. However the National Library actively collects them by way of various government administrative directives. Two copies of federal government publications are collected via the Library Deposit & Free Issues Scheme administered by the Australian Government Information Management Office. State and local government publications are also collected.

Government publications that are published only online are archived by partner libraries in the Australian web archive Pandora. There is no need for government agencies to print their publications just for depositing purposes.

Does Legal Deposit cover electronic publications?

If a publication is available in both printed and electronic formats, the printed copy will be subject to legal deposit requirements. If a publication is available in electronic format only, it is not covered by the Copyright Act 1968. A consultation paper was issued in March 2012  by the Attorney-General's Department on the extension of the Act to cover electronic publications.

However the National Library does collect electronic publications on a voluntary deposit basis. Publishers are very welcome to send in their publications so they can be added to the national collection and be preserved. Electronic publications will also be selected for purchase. Please note that in some states and territories the Legal Deposit legislation covers electronic publications.

How long does it take to process my publication?

Due to the large volume of material that the National Library of Australia receives on a daily basis, your books may take up to 30 working days to be catalogued and processed. New serial publications may take up to 60 working days. 

When a new publication is catalogued and processed, a Legal Deposit receipt is sent to the contact address that was provided with the publication. A receipt letter for serial pubilcations is sent only for the first issue received.

Do I have to register or fill in any forms?

There is no need to register or fill in any forms for Legal Deposit. Just post your publication to us at:

Legal Deposit Unit
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

A return mailing address is required for your receipt to be sent out to you.

Are print-on-demand publications subject to Legal Deposit?

The National Library considers print-on-demand to be an alternative method of producing print copies of publications for distribution. Print-on-demand publications are therefore treated in the same way as other print publications produced in the conventional way and are subject to Legal Deposit.

Do I need an ISBN to deposit?

There is no need for a publication to have an identifier like ISBN, ISMN or ISSN for Legal Deposit purposes. ISBN's are very important for the retail book trade, but not essential for Legal Deposit. However ISMNs and ISSNs are administered by the National Library and there are benefits in having your publications registered with these identifiers. Please use these links to find more information about these identifiers:

What is CiP? Do I need to apply for a CiP entry for my book?

Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) is a free service offered to publishers by the National Library of Australia to provide a catalogue record for books and sheet music which have not yet been published. It is not compulsory but when the CiP entry is created it gets distributed to book suppliers and libraries who may pre-order your publication. Please see the Cataloguing-in-Publication web page for more details.

What happens to my publication after I've deposited it?

After we have received your publication, we will process and catalogue it, and send you a Legal Deposit receipt within 30 working days for a book, and 60 days for a serial publication. A receipt letter for serial pubilcations is sent only for the first issue received.

The catalogue record for your publication will appear in the National Library's catalogue and on Trove, the national discovery service. The catalogue record will be searchable in Internet search engines and is also distributed to a major overseas bibliographic database.

My book is not published in Australia. Should I deposit a copy?

The National Library is interested in collecting all overseas publications that are written by Australian authors or about Australia. They are not subject to Legal Deposit but we do welcome donations by publishers or authors. Alternatively we are also happy to purchase the publication from our suppliers. Please contact us and let us know the publication details.

How do I market my book to Australian libraries?

Most Australia libraries use book vendors to get notification of new publications. A list of Australian vendors is on the National Library's website. You may want to contact some of these vendors to see about getting your book in Australian libraries. Organisations such as the Australian Society of Authors and the writers' centres in each state may also be able to give advice.