Legal deposit makes up the core of our national collection and helps us tell all Australia’s stories.
What is legal deposit?
One copy of everything that is published in Australia has to be given to the National Library under legal deposit provisions of the Copyright Act (1968).
This applies to Australian print and electronic publications including:
- newspapers, books, magazines, journals, annual reports
- sheet music
- self-published and community published works
- government publications.
Legal deposit is compulsory
If you have a work that’s been published in Australia (including if you’ve self-published it), a copy of it must be deposited to the National Library free of charge. This has been a law in Australia for over 100 years.
In 2016 the laws around legal deposit were expanded to include electronic publications. Legal deposit applies to any Australian person, group or organisation that distributes their work to the public for sale or for free.
The benefits of legal deposit
The National Library collects all of Australia’s stories. Legal deposit ensures your story will be part of our rich and large collection. This means:
- You’ll help build our collection and your publication will be part of Australia’s national story. The Library has over 10 million items and we want to build a comprehensive resource for all Australians to enjoy.
- Your publication will reach a large national and global audience through discovery services such as Trove.
- You only need to deposit once and your work will be preserved for generations.
- The National Library is a resource used all over the globe. Your publication will help researchers, scholars and audiences everywhere to understand the Australian experience.
The easiest way to deposit is digitally through NED
The Library prefers electronic legal deposits wherever possible. It’s easy, it’s free and it saves time. Find out more about National edeposit (NED) at ned.gov.au.
For works that aren’t published in digital format you must deposit a print copy. See How to deposit for more information.
Legal deposit Australia-wide
As well as depositing with the National Library of Australia, you will also need to deposit your publication with your home state or territory. Get in touch with your state or territory library in the first instance to find out more.
Have more questions? Visit our FAQs page.