The Library’s overseas (non-Asian and Pacific) collecting program focuses on the broad subject areas of history, culture and society. Within this general scope, collecting is further prioritised according to geographic, subject and content priorities.

Digital publishing will be preferred and collecting will be more selective than in the past.

5.1. Australian-related collecting

The Library will acquire overseas-published materials that relate to Australia and its territories. These include publications about Australia published overseas, publications by Australians published overseas and translations, in languages other than English, of works by Australian authors.

A further aim of Australian-related overseas collecting is to acquire materials that provide a contextual understanding of Australia’s history, society and development, from exploration and discovery to the present day.  Collecting areas of interest fall within the broad areas of the social sciences and humanities and will include topics such as:

  • European discovery and cognition of terra Australis
  • works on indigenous and first nation peoples
  • the historical British and European institutions, ideas and influences that created Australia during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Topics covered include but are not limited to politics and political ideas, economic history, religion, social issues, music, popular culture, everyday life
  • war and conflicts involving Australia
  • Australia’s humanitarian, defence and cultural engagements
  • migration to and from Australia
  • Australia in the world economy
  • contributions by Australians to the arts, science and sport.

Digital collecting in this area will include ebooks, ejournals and resources for historical research such as archival databases, newspapers and family history resources. As noted in section 3, in the key area of Australian-related collecting the Library will emphasise the acquisition of primary and archival sources in subject areas of interest.

5.2. General collecting: the wider world

The Library will selectively acquire English language publications intended to provide a contextual understanding of general issues and topics affecting Australia in the wider world. Collecting areas of interest will broadly fall within the subject areas of history, society and culture and take in current publishing in selected subjects that provide interpretation and analysis of global issues, current events and social trends affecting Australia. These include but are not limited to works on politics, history, government, international relations, the environment, energy and resources, the world economy, trade, the movement of peoples, demographic change, health trends, social issues. There will be discretion to acquire works on new trends and developments as they emerge over time.

Research level works and trade publications will be acquired that treat subjects at an academic or advanced level. There will be a preference for works that analyse the social aspects of a subject and present subjects in a broad context.

Much of this collecting will be in digital form, where available, and will be subject to the principles outlined in sections 3 and 4 above. It will include ebooks, ejournals and aggregated journal article databases and reference works.

5.3 Rare and antiquarian collecting

The Library may occasionally acquire rare or antiquarian print publications. Retrospective collecting such as this will be highly selective. In making acquisition decisions the Library will take into account the extensive and free availability of early imprints in open access archives. The Library will generally only acquire rare and antiquarian items in high priority collecting areas which are not available elsewhere in digital format and which are not already represented in the collection. They may be collected for their value as an artefact, such as for exhibition or for the study of print culture, or have significant provenance.