The National Library of Australia is committed to enabling access to library collections, and digitisation is one of the most effective ways to achieve broad, equal access by every Australian. 

The Library started digitising its collection material in the early 2000s to both preserve and provide access to this material. Over the past 20 years, the Library has built up expertise in digital capture, managing digitisation projects at scale and caring for the resulting digital objects into the long term. Staff in the Library have deep experience with digitising material in all formats including fragile material. The Library is a world leader in delivering digitised content online on our digital library platform Trove.

As of June 2021, over 42.8 million images have been digitised from the Library's various collections. This includes 24.6 million pages of newspapers and two million pages of government gazettes which have been digitised in collaboration with our partners and made accessible on Trove.

Policy and strategy

The National Library’s approach to digitisation of its collections is described in its Collection Digitisation Policy and Digitisation Strategy 2020-2023. The policy outlines the Library’s approach to digitising and providing access to its collections. The guiding principles for the processes involved in digitisation are also described. The strategy outlines the Library’s priorities to 2023 to build capability to deliver a scalable, cost-effective digitisation service, while continuing to deliver a digitisation program that meets partner, donor and public needs and expectations.

Working with digitisation partners as well as to digitise Australian newspapers, journals, books and other Library collection items is a key strategy to expand the digitisation program to make Australian library collections freely accessible online.  Australian Government funding has also enabled more of the Library’s collection to be digitised in recent years including through the Treasured Voices program, which aims to make a diverse range of nationally significant heritage materials that document the diversity of Australian life available online.

Digitisation of the Library's collections

As of June 2021, over 42.8 million images have been digitised. This includes pictorial material, maps, manuscripts, books and serials. The table below illustrates the breakdown of the Library’s digitised collections.

Collection format Number of images
Total 42,873,677
Newspapers 25,392,058
Manuscripts 12,964,009
Journals 2,709,068
Books 954,488
Maps 43,689
Pictures 53,804

Digitisation of newspapers and gazettes

In close collaboration with state and territory libraries, and with support of many digitisation partners, the Library has digitised over 1,500 newspapers corresponding to over 25.3 million pages as of June 2021. They represent a wide variety of localities, languages and historical periods. The NSW Government Gazette (1832-2001) and the Commonwealth Australian Gazette (1901-2012) have also been digitised. 

Contact

Digitisation Section
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: +61 (02) 6262 1514
Email: digitisation@nla.gov.au