What is NED?
NED is a collaborative service for collecting, preserving and accessing Australian electronic publications. It is a world-first in the library sector.
NED provides one simple deposit mechanism for publishers to meet their electronic legal deposit obligations to Australia’s national, state and territory libraries all at once. It provides more equitable access to publications across Australia according to publisher-nominated conditions.
The NED service was formally launched by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, on 16 August 2019.
Legal deposit legislation in Australia means that our national, state and territory libraries – the nine Australian members of NSLA – have a mandate to collect copies of everything published in their jurisdictions. Over many years, these libraries have built vast collections of print publications that provide the documentary history of 19th and 20th century Australia for all to access.
Today, of course, publications come in a more complex range of formats. Books, journals, newspapers, maps and music, for example, may be print or electronic, static or interactive. Electronic-only formats such as websites, social media and databases proliferate. These publications can be easy to access in the moment, but harder to capture and preserve.
Until recently, there was no legal imperative to deposit electronic publications in Australia: legislation referred only to print. Recognising a shift in preference for digital, some libraries began accepting electronic as well as physical copies of legal deposit publications, where others were restricted by local legislation, policies and systems. Publishers were confronted with an increasingly confusing set of requirements in fulfilling their national and state-based obligations.
In 2016, after a decades-long campaign, Australia’s national legal deposit provisions were extended to cover electronic materials through changes to the Copyright Act.
NSLA members saw an opportunity to build on their long history of collaboration and reduce the complexity of legal deposit. They agreed to create a single service for the deposit, management, storage, preservation, discovery and delivery of published electronic material nationwide.
Following a two-year build phase to satisfy nine sets of technical requirements and legislation while balancing open-access principles, copyright law, content security and protection of commercial viability, National edeposit (NED) went live on 30 May 2019.
NED is now operating as ‘business as usual’ in NSLA libraries, but the system behind it will need continual enhancements to keep up with changes in publication formats, publisher needs, accessibility requirements and available technology.
Between 2020-2022, NED member libraries worked together on a fast-tracked enhancements program, making improvements for publishers who need to regularly deposit large numbers of files, or deposit multiple files as part of one publication. It also looked at methods to reuse publisher metadata to save time in the deposit process and explored options for connecting with other Australian legal deposit libraries in future.
In 2023 NED is evolving, as member libraries invest in the ongoing enhancement of the service, signing a Deed of Agreement through to 2027. The Deed marks a transition from the ‘build’ and ‘enhancement’ phases of NED to a mature service phase, supported by a strategic plan and a strong governance model.
The NED Strategic Plan 2023-2026 has been developed with an ambitious program of strategic priorities and technical enhancements to be delivered. These include increasing the diversity of publications in the collection, responding to changing technology and working more closely with a vibrant Australian publishing industry. NED remains a major project for NSLA.
For more information about NED, visit the website at: ned.gov.au
Building NED: Open Access to Australia’s Digital Documentary Heritage – MDPI, Publications 2020, 8(2), 19
Introducing NED: Hercules to the Hydra of electronic legal deposit systems – VALA 2020, Melbourne, February 2020
Launching NED – ALIA Incite, November/December 2019, volume 40, Issue 11/12, pp26-27
Building NED: National edeposit for Australia – Open Repositories 2019, Hamburg, October 2019
NED: capturing and preserving the digital documentary history of Australia – ALIA Online, Sydney, February 2019