Legal deposit in Australia

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 and in the state or territory library in the region of publication.

Why legal deposit?

Legal deposit ensures that material published in Australia 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 the National Library as well as the relevant state or territory library 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.

Depositing 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. The National Electronic Deposit Service (NED) launched in May 2019.

Requirements for legal deposit in Australia

Library or State/Territory Printed material AV material* Born-digital material** Contact
National Library of Australia 02 6262 1312
Australian Capital Territory*** 02 6207 5163
New South Wales 02 9273 1490
Northern Territory 08 8999 7177
South Australia 08 8207 7250
Tasmania 03  6165 5576
Victoria 03 8664 7146
Western Australia 08 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