Am I required to deposit my new publication?

Legal deposit is a requirement for Australian print and electronic publications including:

  • books
  • graphic novels, comic books, zines
  • maps, sheet music
  • websites
  • newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters
  • standalone or annual reports
  • government publications

Published means an item that is available to the public for sale or for free. If your work was published in Australia, you need to deposit a copy with the National Library and your state or territory library. This includes works that are self-published or published commercially.

If you as an Australian self-publish outside of Australia, you are considered to be the publisher and your work is covered under legal deposit. For instance, a self-published work by an Australian published by an online service.

Published works that are not required to be deposited or are only selectively collected include: blank forms and labels; calendars and diaries; activity-based materials such as colouring books, puzzle books and games that do not have significant text; training and procedure manuals; minutes of meetings; teaching and course notes, course workbooks and theses; press releases and trade advertising.

How many copies and which editions print or electronic should I deposit?

  • If your work is published and available to the public in both print and electronic format, we prefer the electronic.
  • If your work is only available to the public in print, you should deposit the print edition with us. Electronic preprints or scans not made available to the public will not be accepted.
  • We only require one copy.

New editions sometimes have new content or extensive revisions and are accepted and added to the collection alongside previous editions. A new edition should have an edition statement on the imprint page (e.g. second edition, revised edition). We don’t need reprints, new formats or updated versions containing minor changes or corrections for the collection. 

Electronic deposit is free, easy, safe and fast. You can deposit an electronic copy of your publication through the National edeposit service (NED).  

If we receive multiple copies of a book in electronic or print, or new copies that don’t have substantial updates to the original deposit, we discard duplicate copies. Find out about our Collection Deaccessioning and Disposal policy.

Do I need to deposit with my state or territory library?

Yes. State and territory libraries have their own legal deposit requirements, you can read more about legal deposit Australia wide here.  When you deposit electronically through NED you can satisfy most state and territory legal deposit obligations at the same time as you satisfy your national obligations. Some states have additional requirements.

Do I need an ISBN, ISSN or ISMN to deposit?

No. ISBNs (international standard book numbers), ISSNs (international standard serial numbers) or ISMNs (international standard music numbers) are not needed to make a deposit. These numbers do assist in identifying your unique publication and are encouraged. ISBNs are required to be eligible for the Australian Lending Rights Scheme. See Services for publishers for further information about obtaining an international standard number for your publication.

When should I deposit and what do I need to include?

You should deposit or deliver your materials within one month of publication.

If depositing electronically through NED you will be guided through the process of deposit.  We encourage you to include as much detail as possible to make sure your book is easily discoverable when searched for.

If depositing a print copy of your publication, simply put your name and contact details on the envelope or on a note within the package for our records. There is no standard form that needs to go with the item. Print publications should be sent to:

Legal Deposit

National Library of Australia

Canberra ACT 2600

If you choose to deliver in person, we will ask you to fill out a form when you arrive.

If you wish to, you can submit the details of your publication prior to publishing through our Prepublication Data Service (PDS).   Learn more here. The PDS does not replace your legal deposit requirement.

What happens after I deposit?  When will my publication appear in the catalogue?

If you make an electronic deposit to NED you’ll get an automatic acknowledgement. For these deposits the catalogue record is usually available within 48 hours. You will be able to see the work in the National Library’s catalogue and Trove, the national discovery service. Please note magazines and serials may take a little longer to appear.

We value your publication, however with a high volume of materials being deposited we are unable to respond to each print publication added to the collection. Your publication will appear in the Library’s catalogue and Trove within 3 months of your date of deposit.

How will my publication be made available?

For electronic deposits made via NED, you get to choose the level of access to your electronic publication. Controls are in place to prevent unauthorised sharing or copying of your publication when accessed electronically. 

Print copies can be accessed in the Library reading room.

Do government publications have to be deposited?

Yes. The publications of Commonwealth Departments and Agencies are subject to the legal deposit provisions of the Copyright Act (1968). Since 2016, this Act has applied to both electronic and print publications.  

Online Government publications can be deposited electronically through NED which is speedy and instant.

Further details on the Commonwealth Library Deposit and Free Issue Schemes are available from the Digital Transformation Agency.

What is a serial and how should they be deposited?

Serials include publications such as magazines, journals, newsletters and newspapers.

In achieving the best access for future researchers, the key is consistency. If you’re a publisher of a serial and begin depositing your issues electronically in NED, we would prefer you keep consistently depositing in electronic form. Once you start depositing electronic issues, please don’t change back to print deposit. 

How does my publication fit in with the Australian lending rights scheme and Australian copyright law?

Legal deposit is separate from the Australian lending rights scheme and Australian copyright law.

The Australian lending rights scheme is managed by the Office of the Arts. If you need information about the scheme, including how to apply and your publication’s eligibility, it can be found here

Copyright is managed by the Attorney General’s Department. If you need information about Australian copyright law, you can access it here

How are websites collected through legal deposit?

Publicly available websites are subject to legal deposit. We automatically archive published websites that we determine should be included in the national collection. We do not collect web material that is password protected or behind a paywall.

If there are any difficulties harvesting your public website, we may contact you directly. You can find further information on the notice to the publisher of the online material

Archived websites are made available to the public through the Australian Web Archive in Trove and allow future researchers to see content that could otherwise change or disappear over time. 

Find out more about Web Archiving.  

Any other questions?

If you have a question about making an electronic deposit in NED, please contact your member library. Your member library is decided by the state or territory in which your work was published, or if you have self-published, the state or territory in which you reside.

For any further questions about legal deposit, please contact us.