Does Legal Deposit cover electronic publications?

From early 2016, Legal Deposit will apply to electronic publications.

Prior to this date, if a publication is available in both printed and electronic formats, the printed copy will be subject to legal deposit requirements. 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.

What sort of copy do I need to send to the National Library?

Electronic works must be free from any technological protection measures or restrictions and accompanied by any required software. This includes making sure that no passwords are required to access the work. Hardcopy works must be an appropriate quality to be handled.

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 30 working days to be catalogued and processed. New serial publications may take 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 publications 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.

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 publications 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.

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.

Are government publications subject to Legal Deposit?

Australian Government departments and agencies are required to provide copies of their publications to the Library Deposit Scheme (LDS) for distribution to the National, State and participating university libraries. The Library Deposit & Free Issues Scheme administered by the Australian Government Information Management Office also enables State and Local Government publications to be collected and distributed.

The LDS supplements legal deposit, a statutory requirement under the Copyright Act 1968 and the equivalent State legislation or directive, administered by the National Library of Australia and State reference libraries respectively.

Government publications that are published only online may be archived by Pandora Partner libraries to the Australian web archive Pandora. There is no need for government agencies to print their publications just for the purpose of deposit.

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.

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.