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ISMN Agency

The National Library of Australia runs the Australian ISMN Agency. An International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is a free 13-digit number that is used to uniquely identify notated music publications anywhere in the world. 

Apply for an ISMN

The National Library of Australia has the largest collection of sheet music in the country, comprising of over 300,000 items. The bulk of the collection relates to Australian composers, performers and music publishing houses.  

You can find:  

  • Australian published and unpublished sheet music covering a range of musical styles (most pre-1938 publications are digitised)
  • historical and contemporary music, in notated form
  • archives of composers, performers and music organisations
  • memorabilia and photographs capturing musical performance and music trade
  • archival sound recordings of folk music and dance
  • music information to support research and study
  • access to music notation software and keyboard in the Special Collections Reading Room

The Library primarily collects music in notated form (sheet music), including both published and unpublished (manuscript) scores, though generally not multiple vocal or instrumental parts. Commercially recorded music is held at Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive.

This vast range of music and music-related materials form an important part of the documentary heritage of Australian culture.

Webinar: Ask a Librarian - Music Collection

Learn about the Library's extensive Music collection. Follow our Music librarians as they answer selected questions and share their research tips and tricks.

Transcript available here.

  Music
Image
Cover of sheet music. Features an arced title 'The Song of Australia' at the top, with a picture in the middle of a shield with a rising sun above it, an emu at left and a kangaroo at right.
C. J. Carleton and Carl Linger, The Song of Australia, c.1883, nla.cat-vn2455089

Legal Deposit and Music

Legal deposit preserves the documentary heritage of Australia. 

You are required to deposit a copy of your music publications with the National Library of Australia. 

Legal deposit

Donating sheet music to the Library

The National Library accepts donations of collection material, including sheet music.  

Donate music