Legal deposit in Australasia 

What is legal deposit?

Legal deposit is a statutory provision which legally obliges publishers – commercial publishers, private individuals, clubs, churches, associations, societies and organisations – to deposit copies of their publications in the National Library of Australia or National Library of New Zealand. In Australia, publishers are also required to deposit copies in the State or Territory library in the region of publication.

Why legal deposit?

Legal deposit ensures that material published in Australia and New Zealand is preserved for current and future generations. It enables libraries to provide access to a complete collection of locally-published material.

What should publishers do?

Publishers need to deposit materials with their National Library as well as the relevant State or Territory library (if in Australia) within 1-2 months of publication. The specific requirements for legal deposit vary widely. Please see the information pertaining to your region in the table below.

Although there is no legal requirement to lodge material beyond this, donations may be welcomed by other libraries if the content of the publication or its author has a strong link to their jurisdiction.

Can publishers deposit digital material?

Increasingly, publications that come under the definition of legal deposit material are being produced and published in digital form. Several NSLA libraries have legislation in place to cover this born-digital legal deposit material, and most are reviewing or amending existing legislation to extend to digital publications.

All NSLA libraries encourage publishers to deposit their born-digital material, where it meets legal deposit criteria, even in regions where the law is not yet applicable. A National Electronic Deposit Service (NED) will launch in Australia in 2019.

Requirements for legal deposit in Australia and New Zealand

Library or State/TerritoryPrinted materialAV material*Born-digital material**Contact
National Library of Australia02 6262 1312
National Library of New Zealand+64 04 474 3104
Australian Capital Territory***02 6207 5163
New South Wales02 9273 1490
Northern Territory08 8999 3929
Queensland07 3840 7852
South Australia08 8207 7281
Tasmania03  6165 5576
Victoria03 8664 7146
Western Australia08 9427 3348

* AV material = audio-visual (e.g. CDs, DVDs, cassettes, films, multimedia kits, computer disks)
** born-digital = documents created and designed to be read in electronic form
*** legal deposit encouraged by the ACT Heritage Library but not legislated




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