The scope of overseas and Asian collecting covers monographs, maps, serials and newspapers as core content, whether in digital, print or microform format. Collecting for some Asian countries may also include multimedia, pictorial works, ephemera and websites, acquired on a selective basis.

By ‘collecting’ or ‘acquiring’ is meant a deliberate decision to obtain a copy of an item for the Library’s collection or to provide access to content hosted on a website, such as aggregated ejournals, commercial ebooks or freely available online content. Either way, the collected content is described by a Library catalogue record for the item or groups of items.

All collecting whether purchased, free or donated content will be guided by the Overseas Collecting Policy and matched to the level of resources available.

Digital format will be preferred whenever it is available and where it meets the Library’s core criteria for access to digital content. The Library’s principles for access to digital content are described in further detail below. Access to the print collections remains unchanged.

4.1. Principles for access to ebooks and monographic e-resources

Ebooks and monographic e-resources (such as collections of digitised books) will generally be acquired as Library assets and made available indefinitely.  The Library will accept vendor permanent access arrangements to achieve this or, with the appropriate permissions, archive content in its own system.

Remote access to ebooks will be provided wherever possible for registered Library users within Australia. Ebook content will be downloadable to user devices where the Library has permission to allow this. In acquiring new ebook content, open ebook standards such as EPUB will be preferred.

Gratis ebooks made freely available on the web that are required for the collection will be collected and archived with the permission of the publisher or copyright holder when they can be located.  Where the work is deemed to be an orphan work, the Library will take a risk management approach and may opt to acquire the item without permission. The Library will generally not link to a website in lieu of acquiring a gratis ebook.

4.2 Principles for access to e-journals

The Library will seek to provide access to journals in digital form rather than print. Where a journal is available in both print and digital format, digital access will be preferred to a print subscription. E-journals will be purchased either by direct subscription for single titles, through a vendor or as part of an aggregated journal article database. The Library will seek to avoid excessive title duplication between different aggregated journal article databases.

Print journal titles will only be acquired where there is no digital access alternative and where the content is deemed high priority, such as titles relating to Australia or published in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Library does not commit to providing perpetual access to current e-journal content.

4.3 Principles for access to newspapers

The Library will seek to provide access to overseas newspapers in digital form. Print or microform newspapers will only be acquired where there is no digital access alternative and where the content is deemed high priority, such as Asia-Pacific newspapers.

Newspapers made available in digital form will fall into two broad categories. A number of current world newspaper titles will be made available for immediate consumption as sources of news but will not be collected as archival sources for research. No commitment is made to maintaining perpetual access to these titles.

Some overseas newspapers will be collected and retained as primary sources for research. These titles will relate to high priority countries such as Asia and the Pacific or cover historical periods or collecting areas of interest.

Where a newspaper title is in a high priority collecting area it will be provided in a full page format, whether in digital, microform or print. The availability of selected newspaper content in an article database is not considered to be a full page replica.

Where multiple versions of a high priority newspaper in page replica format are available, the Library will commit to permanent retention of at least one of them. Priority will be given to first digital, then microform and lastly print versions of newspapers, depending on availability and cost.  The Library will not maintain duplicate holdings of page replica newspaper formats.

4.4 Principles for access to websites

The Library will archive a very small number of websites in collecting areas of interest, chiefly Asia-Pacific-related topics. They will be gathered as curated collections on topical themes. They will be archived either through a third party provider or using the Library’s system.