Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: Yuma, everyone, a very warm welcome to this update on National Library of Australia activities. I'm Marie-Louise Ayres and it's my privilege to be Director-General of this national cultural institution. This session is coming to you from the Library building on beautiful Ngunnawal Ngambri land where language, custom, culture, knowledge and story have been cherished for thousands of years. In our work, we aim to continue that tradition. I acknowledge Australia's First Nations Peoples, the First Australians as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land, and give my respect to their Elders, past and present, and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Now before we start, I'll just mention that although we use Zoom seminars for Trove purposes, I'm a bit less familiar with this particular setup. So if we have any issues, it's operator error at my end and I have lovely people behind the scenes to help. Please use the Zoom Q&A function to ask questions as they occur to you. We have a moderator who will review questions  and we'll aim to answer them at the end of the session. Keep your chat window open as we will post links along the way. We'll also make the recording of this session available on our website, so please do let colleagues know to look for it on our website. 

Now, a year ago, some of you attended a similar event. I think I've actually hit, I think my screen is sharing. I hope it is. Just wait a moment. I may have hit my first problem. I did say operator error, didn't I? Okay, so a year ago, some of you attended a similar event to hear about the Library's plans, priorities, and challenges. I'm very pleased that the major resourcing challenges we faced then were addressed in the May 2023 budget. We have ongoing funding to maintain Trove. We have funding for the most urgent of our storage requirements. We have funding to continue major works on our building and we have sufficient uplift to be able to breathe again. We can reinvest in some areas that were perilously thin, convert a number of former labour hire and contractor roles to employment roles and to grow our overall workforce, not massively, but enough to make a difference. 

Tonight, I want to update you on three topics with medium term impacts on your research at, or through the National Library. The first is our building works program and what this means for collection access over the next couple of years, new and refreshed services that should make your research lives easier comes next, and then implementation of our Indigenous, Intellectual and Cultural Property Protocol. I'll then step back to cover our priorities for the next year. Some big public policy issues in which the library is and expects to be engaged for some time. 

So first, the good news. Three months, three years and nine months after the devastating Canberra hailstorm of January 2020, replacement of our heritage roof was completed this month. This was a complex and technically challenging project, requiring extensive heritage consultation and removal of more than 100 tonnes of asbestos-containing material in the ceiling space above the Library's Level Four, the top occupied floor of the Library. Stringent work health and safety management practices were required to execute the work safely and to a high quality. Now, unlike the old roof which simply had copper sheets laid on top of roof battens, the new roof includes a solid substrate and waterproof membrane immediately below the new copper and new roof insulation panels. This should ensure that the roof will protect the Library's collection and people for the next 50 plus years, stand up to increasing extreme weather events and deliver improved thermal efficiency. 

Many of you have experienced serious disruption to your planned research when we were forced to completely wrap and lose access to a significant portion of our collection on Level 4 after our efforts to protect the collection from water ingress during the project failed. I'm very relieved that this part of our collection is now both safe under our new roof and available for research. The majority of this $14 million project was recovered from the Commonwealth insurer without Council authorising drawdown on our cash reserves for the remainder. 

When I spoke to you last year, I said that if we did not receive funding to maintain our building in the May 2023 budget, you would probably have a period without future disruptions to collection access, but that the building would fall further into disrepair. But if we did receive funding, I expected collection access disruptions to continue for the next several years. So the good news is that we can look after the building with additional funding. The not so good news is that there is no way we can continue this work without affecting your experience at the Library.  

Some of that work will be visible to you. Those in Canberra will see scaffolding creeping around the building over the next two years as we replace all Level 1 to 4 windows. Those using our Reading Rooms now may have noticed some loss of light as we've needed to isolate windows and it's likely you'll hear some noise from time to time over the next few months.  

Much of our forward building program will be invisible to you, but this is the work that will actually have the most impact on your own work. We've just completed stages one to three of what we call our base building services upgrades, meaning, we are gradually replacing our ancient heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and fire services systems. We are now embarking on an interim package of works to prepare for stages four and five, which we anticipate will take much of 2024 and 2025.  

We'll return to government for further funding to complete stages 10 in future years. This work includes removal of duct work and associated infrastructure and every piece of duct work, every piece of infrastructure, almost everything we touch in this building has at least some asbestos and quite often, lead contamination. This means that any work on those systems in any library spaces, whether it's stacks or office areas, makes those buildings become restricted work areas with strict work health and safety protocols in place that staff have to be moved and that the collections have to be securely wrapped so that no asbestos-containing material contaminates the collection. Once wrapped, we cannot access those stacks. We do not have any options for shuffling collections around so that we can maintain access during these works.  

The building is essentially formed and the storage funding that we've received to construct an extension to our Hume Repository is only to accommodate our pre-1990 overseas monograph collection, which is currently stored in a National Archives Repository and must be moved in the back half of 2025. 

 We've therefore tried to stage the work to give you as much notice as possible of collection access disruptions. The great majority of our collection, including all material offsite, will be available without disruption. Most of our pictures collection is now available for access. However, our hanging arts work collection will not be available until September 2024 when our new art store is complete. Around 97% of that collection has been digitised. We recognise though that for art historians, access to even very high resolution images is not a full substitute for the real thing. We have further scheduled disruptions from February 2024 to June 2025. 

Our collections are stored in multiple locations, so it's important to note that if you want to use these kinds of collections, you really need to contact our Ask a Librarian service to ascertain whether the parts of the collection you wish to use will be affected. As a broad guide, most of our Ephemera collection is stored on Lower Ground 1 and therefore will be affected by the closure that we expect to run from February to April next year. So I would suggest that if you plan to use this collection, come in over summer or plan to come in late autumn. 

Rare Books and Fragile collections on Level 2 close from June through September, represents a fairly small portion of our Rare Books collection as well as a small number of significant but fragile Australian collections. So please do check in with our reference librarians about the kinds of collections you may wish to use. 

The majority however of our Asian collection is stored on Level 3 and will not be available to access during the closure from July '24 until June 2025. This is a long closure and it's unavoidable as the entire stack occupies the area undergoing the most major work. However, our Asian Rare Books collection is not affected, so if you are an Asian studies scholar and especially if you are supervising or planning to supervise students in this area, please use Ask a Librarian about materials you may wish to use  and aim to get to us in the first half of next year. The Asia related databases to which we subscribe will of course, remain available.  

There will certainly be further disruptions to collection access beyond June 2025, but we will not know what or when they will be until we're clearer on how stages four and five will proceed. That planning work is well underway. We'll give as much notice as we possibly can about further stacks closures. 

There will also be some interruptions to our digital services in coming months. We anticipate a shutdown of around 18 hours on the weekend of 9 and 10 December to undertake some major work. This is in preparation for a longer shutdown of at least 24 hours scheduled for the weekend of 13 and 14 January, 2025. During those times, we will have internet access at the Library, but there'll be no access to the catalogue, to collection requests including interlibrary loan and copies direct, to our reference services website or to Trove. Those dates will firm up as we get closer to them. There are still a few dependencies and we'll confirm the actual dates and durations via our website and social media channels. Our plans involve doing work out of hours as much as possible, but due to the complexity of the building work, this may not always be feasible. We also anticipate a longer shutdown of all services, but that will not be until at least the middle or indeed the second half of 2024. You'll also see some disruptions to our public areas. We'll communicate more on those when dates are clearer. 

In the meantime, our staff continue to have to shuffle around the building into ever smaller spaces and continue to do all the work they need to do to support your research and our broader work. Please remember that we keep our public statements on building works updated at this address and we'll continue to communicate via our eNews and social media channels. 

There are other things afoot that either have or will impact on how you interact with our collections. Those of you who are regular readers will know that we recently improved our public catalogue. This is the result of a two-year project, funded from cash reserves with our Council's approval to replace our nearly 20-year-old library management system and public interface. We've had a very smooth transition to FOLIO, an open source library management system for our behind the scenes work and to Blacklight, the new public interface, which is a huge improvement on our old one, especially in surfacing content from the many databases to which we subscribe. We hope that this has been a smoother transition for you as it has been for us.  

Our next step will be to update you on how you'll join the Library and how you'll log in to use the catalogue and our eResources. These changes will make access to our online services quicker, easier, and more secure. At your first login from the 20th of November, you'll be asked to create a new library login using your email address and a password. To ensure a smooth transition, please check that your email address is unique and up to date by Sunday the 19th of September. To do this, you can renew your library card online to update your details or contact us via Ask a Librarian. To access the Library's collections on site. You will still need a library card. If you already have a card, you can continue to use this one. New readers who join the Library on site will receive a card, but new readers joining the Library from offsite will no longer have to wait to receive their card in the mail before using our login services, especially databases.  

After the 20th of November, if you're accessing the Library's collections online, you don't need to use your library card anymore. You can log in and view collection material with your email address and password. Readers will receive an email information on the need to update their password on the 6th of November. So this email will also contain information on changes to collection access and to our summer opening hours and our collection delivery hours. This information will all be in our website  and it mirrors practise in past years.  

For the many of you who can't get to the Library to use the 90% of our physical collection that has not yet been digitised, this is a reminder that we offer a digitization on demand service to individuals where we provide you with a digital copy, subject to copyright or other restrictions and charge you less than the cost of making the copy. Where possible, we'll make the copy that you've paid for available to all via Trove.  

We'll also be offering an increasingly digital-first interlibrary loan service. This is a library to library service, managed through the requesting libraries resource sharing service. The National Library of Australia is by far the biggest provider of content in support of the interlibrary loan service in Australia. We contribute many, many times more content to other libraries for their patrons than we borrow for NLA patrons. The pandemic put an abrupt full stop to our longstanding interlibrary loan program, but it also gave us an opportunity to reform the service to a digital-first one.  

What this means is that wherever possible, we will provide a digital copy for your library to provide for your use. We will charge your library the standard digital copy charges, agreed to under Australia's Interlibrary Resource Sharing Code. There are only a few exceptions that result in original physical format items being loaned. We'll provide a full copy where copyright allows, items are not, are commercially available or for accessibility reasons. This digital-first approach will gradually grow the volume of content available on Trove where copyright allows, reduces risk of damage to physical items, ensures a physical item is not out of circulation and therefore unavailable to other readers, will provide a more efficient and streamlined service and will dramatically lower one of our major service costs, which is believe it or not, postage. In many cases, the digital copies provided can also be incorporated into the requesting libraries collection, providing a broader benefit. So if you need the material from our collection and you can't visit, talk to your university or other library about the extent to which they'll support your digital-first loan requests.  

Apart from this demand service, you'll see more collection content digitised and coming online as part of our planned digitisation program. We continue to use a combination of philanthropic funding, partnerships with other organisations, and a portion of our collection budget to digitise at scale. 

In the last year or so, we have digitised a very broad range of collections with many projects ongoing and more about to commence. Our women leaders and performing arts projects are making a broad range of previously hard to get collections available to a bigger audience, including you and your students. The papers of Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney are now online, as are those of Marion Mahony Griffin with the complete speeches of Lowitja O'Donoghue underway. Some projects in the performing arts are continuing this year and we're also digitising migrant diaries, a range of 19th century manuscripts, a complete collection of historic cookery books, more newspapers in partnership with state libraries and smaller rung periodicals in diverse fields including "Pacifica." And of course, every Australian almanac published is now available via Trove with a huge array of local history material due to come online in the next year or so. The Trove website regularly updates, provides updates on what's newly digitised.  

Now I've been in the library business for 30 years and much of that time I've spent building and providing access to manuscripts collections, and I can tell you that for all of that 30 years, the holy grail has been the promise of automation to unlock the content of handwritten sources. So I'm very happy to tell you that we've been working a way in the background on how to implement handwritten text recognition or HTR on our archival collections. This project has been cooking for several years, pre-pandemic, we contributed a wide range of handwritten materials to a European research project, aimed at developing and improving recognition over a wide range of historic and contemporary handwriting styles, even down to handwritten German Gothic.  

Commercial offerings certainly include this facility in certain platforms, many of you will use tools that allow you to take notes by hand and convert them to text, but that is quite different to what we need to achieve across our very large, diverse, historic handwritten collections. When we are operating at the scale that we do, our work is also more complex than the smaller scale experiments that might occur as part of academic digital humanities projects.  

Very soon, we'll be releasing a small scale pilot of this functionality. I say small because this test is across just 1,000 handwritten pages, a tiny fraction of the handwritten pages currently in our collection. We have a long way to go before we can roll this out across the entirety of the handwriting in our digitised collections, and I don't yet have a timeframe for when we might see this proof of concept ramp up into a full production service. That is when the HTC processing is applied across the collection and we can implement search across what will be a bigger searchable text corpus. I certainly hope that it's within the next year. But I really couldn't resist showing you what this will look like. Those of you who are regular users of archival sources will understand the kinds of research efficiencies you might get with this functionality available and the entirely new and novel questions you might ask about collections because you can and we can't wait to find out.  

Longer term and more profound changes in our collecting and collection management practises will also start to affect some of your research practises and timelines. I particularly wanted to call to your attention our Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property protocol. Like many cultural organisations, we have been slowly growing our maturity in terms of cultural capability and living up to the "Nothing About Us Without Us" promise. Recognising the right to self-determination in relation to First Nations knowledge is a high priority for the Library and for the government as evidenced in the National Cultural Policy. We worked for more than two years with Terri Janke and Company, specialist lawyers in First Nations cultural property. We have built out from Janke's True Tracks work and 10 Guiding Principles to develop a protocol that we believe best meets our responsibilities in relation to ICIP in our existing collections, ICIP in collections we are developing and engagement with communities with responsibility and authority over ICIP. 


For any of you engaged in Australia historical studies, I strongly encourage you to read our, at least our introduction to our protocol, which is available on our website and if you can, the full protocol. We are preparing further explanatory and communication materials about the protocol and have a large staff learning program underway as we seek to give more of our staff the tools they need to assess whether requested collection material contains ICIP and if so, what the next steps for researchers might need to be. This work is guided by our Indigenous Engagement Section and requires deep rethinking about our collections and how we manage them. That work is occurring in a broader milieu with some universities already adopting similar protocols and with National and State Libraries Australasia supporting state and territory libraries to develop protocols now. The Federal Government has also signaled its intent to develop standalone ICIP legislation as noted in the National Cultural Policy and arising from the IP Australia scoping study on standalone legislation for Indigenous knowledge. So we are preparing for that coming legislative requirement.  

The protocol will require more of researchers wishing to use this intellectual and cultural property. Rights in that property sit alongside other arrangements, copyright, which of course has been the law for hundreds of years, moral rights, which are a bit more recent, and the many access agreements that we strike with donors of collection materials, especially archival and oral history collections. ICIP will form another part of that rights puzzle and will take some time to be firmly embedded in library and researcher practise. So you'll find that staff may have more questions for you when you engage with us, whether that is in submitting an application for one of our research fellowships on scholarships or requesting to use an archival or publish collection, even one that you may have been using freely for years or requesting copies of permission to publish material.  

We're not implementing this protocol to prevent or control access to collections. We're implementing it so that those to whom this knowledge belongs, those who have authority to consider requests on behalf of their communities have the opportunity to decide how they want their knowledge to be used. As with any new practise, we are learning. You may feel that we are slowing or hindering your research, that is not our intention. There are and will be slightly messy cases where the ICIP in collection material is not your primary interest, but where ICIP issues need to be resolved before you can use collections. You will need to engage more and more often with cultural property authorities and you'll very likely find that the current generation of community representatives authorised to consider use of that property will assert their right to self-determination more rigorously than has been the case in the past and will work to their own timeframes. For many of you, this is not new territory, but for others it is. We will be offering further sessions on ICIP in 2024, so please do look out for those.  

So having outlined the parts of our work that are likely to affect your work over the next 12 to 24 months, I wanted to turn to what we are focusing on over the next financial year. Our corporate plan was approved by our Council in mid-August and published at the end of August in accordance with the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act and you'll find it on our website. Our corporate plan incorporates five pillars this year, reflecting our ongoing priorities under the National Library Act, the government's National Cultural Policy and our own priorities. 

First Nations is our first pillar, echoing the government's National Cultural Policy and recognising that implementing our ICIP protocol will require major institutional effort over the next couple of years, I see implementation of the protocol as the Library's major contribution to closing the gap. 

Our Collect and Connect pillars form the bedrock of much of your engagement with us and I'll return shortly with a few words on our collecting priorities over the next two years. 

Our Collaborate pillar encompasses Trove, National eDeposit, and all the work we do with others to try to join up Australia's cultural collections for community benefit. And of course, we cannot do any of our work without building our capability, including over the next few years the capacity to run concurrent complex building program in a building that houses the majority of our collection and is open to the public almost every day of the year. 

So please do have a look at our full corporate plan on our website for more details about specific actions under these pillars and I'd also encourage you to read our annual report, which has just been approved by our minister and should be published very soon so that you can see how we went against our priorities this year. 

Now, given that you're all heavy users of our collections, I wanted to touch on some of our priorities over the next one to two years. First, Australia, which is of course our focus as set out in the National Library Act. We have had really great success with focused collecting projects over the last two years, aimed at increasing collections relating to Australians of Chinese and Fijian heritage. These projects have generally started with commissioned oral histories and photographs and then gradually broadened out into collecting more published material from these communities, sometimes unaware of legal deposit obligations or unaware that we would value this material. And we also have some really excellent archival collections following on behind and we anticipate that that trajectory will continue in coming years with our increasing concentration of published and archival collections coming in. With this approach proven, we're next going to focus on the Indian diaspora in Australia. This is a very large and diverse group and it's also one where we have limited material from the home country to connect with Australians of Indian heritage. We'll pursue this priority over the next two years.  

We continue to photographically document contemporary Australian and we collect every federal election, referendum, and plebiscite intensively in both physical and digital form. By Friday last week for example, we had archived 600 websites and parts of websites relating to the Voice referendum including post referendum commentary. 

Next month, we'll welcome a specialist project manager to support a major oral history program relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. This builds on our long experience of trauma-informed oral history collecting, including most recently, a project with the community affected by the Badja bushfires in South Coast of New South Wales over the Black Summer period. 

We continue to collect Australian publications as comprehensively as possible with two thirds of all monographs, serial issues, maps, and music now acquired in born-digital form only through the National eDeposit service, which we run here at the Library on behalf of all state and territory libraries. 

Last year, we ran a research project aimed at understanding why the overall number of Australian publications deposited has declined in recent years and has not recovered post pandemic. There are multiple reasons, but what we can see is that there has been a very significant shift to self-publishing in Australia and self and very small publishers are less aware of legal deposit, both as a legal obligation to which they're subject and as the best way to ensure their publications are kept safe and accessible for the very long term. So this year, we are directing additional resource to engaging with this segment of the publisher community to raise awareness and encourage addition of these works to our collection. 

Beyond Australia, it's the rest of the world, while our focus is on Australia, we continue to build and provide access to rich collections about Asia, the Pacific, and the rest of the world. Last year for example, 25% of our collection budget was devoted to non-Australian material, covering content by Australians published overseas, publications about Australia, and of course, a broader array of international material. We subscribe to 44 online databases. We have purchased more than 160 overseas datasets outright and provide access to tens of thousands of non-Australian eBooks and journals through these means, and they should be easier for you to find through our new public access interface.  

We continue to collect more actively from China and from Indonesia where we'll retain an office with four locally engaged staff, all of whom visited the Library in September for staff development activities.  

And this year we have sent staff on two separate visits to the Pacific to try to understand publication changes that have occurred as a result of the pandemic and forge and strengthen relationships with new publishers so that we can do as much as we can to collect from this part of the world.  

We also select Pacific databases for inclusion in an international archive knowing that Pacific nations are not in a good position to do this for themselves. 

Our annual report, as I said, just about to be published, includes more information about what we've collected over the 2022-2023 financial year. 

Now last I wanted to briefly mention three big societal issues on which we are heavily engaged. We are working with the Department of Home Affairs, Strengthening Democracy Taskforce, and other national cultural institutions to think about the ways in which cultural institutions and especially libraries can form part of a positive agenda around democracy. Our role there stems from our collections which provide magnificent documentation about the development and operation of Australia's democracy.  

In addition to working with government, we have undertaken intensive analysis of our democracy related collections to develop a case for support to digitise our most important democracy collections over the next five years. On that one, I'll just say watch this space and that it was fantastic to spend a day last week with a group of imminent historians, some of whom may be watching now and Commonwealth colleagues to start to put some shape about how we could work well together in this space.  

For the Library, this meta narrative around democracy is integrally connected to two big issues in the Australian and international library worlds. One is the freedom to read. Around the world, in democracies like ours, small but determined groups of disruptors have fundamentally challenged the right of individuals to read what they want to read from their local or school library or attend an event that they wish to attend. If you think this is only happening in the U.S., you are wrong. The campaign here has been vicious, has involved serious threats to Library staff and patrons and members of local councils. It's also canny and shrewd and it is clearly operating from a well-defined playbook imported from beyond our shores. We continue to work with our professional association to highlight this issue, to stand up for the freedom to read and to provide moral support for our colleagues who go to work in their local public libraries every day to assist their communities not to be threatened. As humanists and social scientists, I think you should really care about this issue too. 

And the last big issue is related, it's media literacy, something that many now are extra concerned about, given the tenor of the recent referendum debate. We already have a Digital Classroom module on media literacy for school students and their teachers, but I feel very strongly that we need to focus our efforts on adults to give them the tools to stop, ask themselves questions about content and views they're encountering and consuming, and to be empowered to make critical judgements before coming to their own conclusion. You can expect to see us doing more in this space over the next year or so. 

Now that brings me to a close on my prepared remarks. If you've used the Q&A function to ask questions, we'll now turn to those questions. Either Luke Hickey, Assistant Director-General of Engagement, or I will answer questions where we can and we're happy also to take questions offline.  

When we conclude, I'd also ask you to take a few minutes to complete a post-session survey so that we can understand how you heard about this session. 

And on that score, I'd like to invite you to subscribe to our NLA eNewsletter and Trove Treasures eNews. You can do this by visiting our home pages, subscribe options are at the bottom of the pages and you can therefore stay up to date with what's happening at the NLA.Thank you.  

Luke Hickey: Thanks, Marie-Louise, and hello and thank you everyone for joining us. We do have one question in the chat. As Marie-Louise said, please, if you do have a question, enter it into the Q&A box. If you're not sure where to find that, just wave your mouse over the top of the screen and a little Q&A box should appear at the bottom that you can type your question into. Marie-Louise, we do have one question from Frank Bonjourno, are there likely to be further significant and lengthy disruptions to the Australian manuscript collection in the immediate future? 

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: Not in the immediate future, Frank. A large portion of that collection is on, well, I might just explain 'cause I know manuscripts are so important to historians. About half of our manuscripts collection is actually stored offsite at the Hume Repository. So that won't be affected at any point. A good portion of it is on Level 4 and that work is all now being completed there and we should not see further disruptions. However, the work that's going to be going on later in 2024 and through '25 does involve Levels 1, 2, and 3 of the Library. And we do have manuscripts collections also stored on Level 2. Until we've done the planning for that work and in fact, have a contract for doing that work, we really can't tell you exactly when those disruptions will happen, but you certainly should assume that in late 2024 and perhaps through to 2025 parts of our manuscripts collection will be inaccessible. I just don't know when and for how long. So I think that's where, particularly, if you've got a big project of your own underway or you have our students who are contemplating a PhD project, please do contact our Ask a Librarian service because we'll do the best that we can to say, "Look, the collections that you are interested in shouldn't be affected," or "We expect they will be sometime in late 2024 and through to 2025." So I hope that helps, Frank, but I can't promise no further disruptions. It's to do with the work that has to happen on all of those systems. 

Luke Hickey: Great. Thanks, Marie-Louise. Our next question is from Tessa on Ngunnawal Country. Does the Library still collect hard copies of picture books or do eCopies satisfy legal deposit requirements and the Library's collection policy? 

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: Okay. 

Luke Hickey: Tessa's experience is that eCopies are clunky to read either via personal devices or on the Library's computer terminals. 

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: And I think the question was specifically around picture books, so books for children? Okay- 

Luke Hickey: Yes. Around picture. Hard copies of picture books. 

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: Okay, great. Look, most books for children are still being published in hard copy only. Look, it is our practise to have a digital-first collection and of course, our hard copy, our books for children are not really used for, or designed for children to use. It's a deposit copy rather than necessarily an access copy. There are some circumstances in which we do also collect a physical copy of a book, whether it's for adult or children. And that's where we feel there's something really integral to the physical book that simply can't be replicated. I do accept that using our eBooks online is, a bit clunky, as you say, much of that has to do with the fact that we need to keep it in a very, very secure digital environment so that the content belonging to publishers and of course, the authors who wrote them can't be stolen. 

Luke Hickey: Right. Thanks, Marie-Louise. We haven't got any other questions in the chat at this stage. So last call for questions and while we're doing that, if people do think of a question that you wish you'd asked during the session, but you think about that afterwards, you can email us at NLA website all one word at nla.gov.au. We'll put that in the chat. You've also got a link in the chat there to our Ask a Librarian service for any questions that you've got around collection access as well and a link to subscribe to our newsletter on the website as well. 

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: Luke, I think we have another questionthat might've just come in. 

Luke Hickey: Oh, yes, one from Robin. How are we ensuring that we still collect Australian authors and creators who are overseas or published overseas? 

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: Yes. 

Luke Hickey: This came a bit hit and miss so what is the process now? 

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: Yeah, sure. Good. And look, we are aiming to, if it's Australian authors published overseas, we are certainly aiming for that part of our collection to be comprehensive. You know, because we're aiming to have a comprehensive publish collection. The ways that we actually get those materials into the collection is through having relationships through a number of vendors with what we call blanket orders. So where we basically give them a set of parameters and ask them to go and find that material for us. We don't capture everything. So if there's something that you know about, please let us know. I've certainly found a couple of really specialist, academic words that works that haven't been captured by a blanket order. If you are finding things aren't being captured, let us know because then we can go back to our vendors and ask them to adjust their parameters. But it is certainly our intention for that part of our collection to be comprehensive. It's a little bit harder for us to make sure that it is so. 

Luke Hickey: Terrific. We haven't got any other questions at this stage, but Shirley has passed on some kind words about congratulations to you and all your staff who are handling personal records. So thanks, Shirley, for that comment. 

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres: We love them. (laughs) We really love them so, okay. All right, well, look, if we are out of questions, I'd just like to thank you for your time this evening. Thanks for listening in either now or at a time that suits you. And of course, please let your colleagues know that we will make this recording available on our YouTube channel, so we'll be able to let you know where that is, 'cause you know, many of you, you can't get to us at 5:30 on a weeknight, but I think that we just feel, we hope that we've been able to give you a bit of a better sense of what's coming up. And most of all, we hope that your next year of using National Library collections brings you delight, first and foremost, produces new knowledge, and of course, raises new questions for you. So thank you, everybody, and yuma, goodnight. 

On Tuesday 24 October 2023 the Director-General of The National Library of Australia, Dr Marie-Louise Ayres, delivered an update for researchers. 

This update included: 

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