Legal Deposit and NED – Representative, Respectful and Recognised

Under federal, state and territory legal deposit legislation, the national, state and territory libraries strive to collect every published work in Australia – irrespective of content or authorship – so that the stories, knowledge and creativity of today can be shared for the benefit of current and future generations.

Legal deposit is a critical component of preserving our cultural heritage and underpins the practical application of broad democratic concepts such as freedom of expression and access to information. Legal deposit provisions have been in place from as early as 1869, when copyright legislation was introduced in the Colony of Victoria and national legal deposit was enacted with the Copyright Act 1912. A vast collection of print publications was built providing the documentary history of nineteenth and twentieth century Australia for all to access.

The extension of legal deposit to include electronic publications in 2016 presented an opportunity for the national, state and territory libraries to develop a single service for publishers to meet their legal deposit obligations and manage at scale the deposit, storage, preservation, discovery, and delivery of published electronic material across Australia.

This service, National edeposit (NED), launched in 2019. Legal deposit covers Australian publishers of all types; commercial publishers, government publishers (including local government), schools, societies, organisations, clubs, churches, associations, and private individuals. With such diversity in the definition of ‘publisher’ it might be safe to assume that our legal deposit collections are representative of Australia’s diverse communities, where all voices can be heard. The truth is quite different. Publishing has a long tradition of being the domain of the powerful and privileged and the findings of recent studies have reinforced the lack of diversity in the contemporary publishing industry. At the same time, research by the national, state and territory libraries has highlighted the need to improve approaches to the collection and description of First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse publications. We are faced with a compelling case to do more.

Australian publishers are responding with the Australian Publishers Association (APA) prioritising work on diversity and inclusion and establishing a working group to lead industry efforts in this space. NED member libraries have developed a NED Strategic Plan (2023-2026) with an ambitious program of strategic priorities. They include ensuring the collection represents the diversity of Australian communities, is respectful with the integration of First Nations collection description guidelines and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) Protocols into the NED systems and service and recognised by the wide variety of Australian publishers creating a national collection that elevates the voices of all Australians.

This presentation will explore the forthcoming work on inclusive collecting, integrating First Nations collection description guidelines and ICIP Protocols, and strategic marketing activities to raise awareness and connect with publishers. It will also highlight how conference attendees can support the implementation of this work within their own library as ‘publishers’ and raising awareness of legal deposit in their communities.

Lesley Sharp

Manager, Published Collections, State Library of South Australia

Author Bio

Lesley Sharp is the Manager, Published Collections with the State Library of South Australia and the current Chair of the National edeposit (NED) Steering Group. With over 50 years of experience in libraries and information technology in New Zealand and Australia, Lesley has seen firsthand how the evolution of technology allows libraries to deliver on their mandate in ever-changing ways. Prior to joining the State Library of South Australia as an ICT Project Manager, Lesley worked for several software companies specialising in the development and support of library and information management systems. She was part of the team that introduced the New Zealand National Bibliographic Network to New Zealand libraries and her career has been at the intersection of technology, the web and librarianship since that time.

Lesley lectured on digital preservation for the University of South Australia’s business information management post-graduate course for several years and has led the State Library’s online strategy until recently. The opportunity to participate in the development and delivery of Australia’s world-leading approach to the deposit of electronic publications has been a privilege.

Jo Ritale

NED Program Manager, National and State Libraries Australasia

Author Bio

Jo Ritale is the Program Manager for National edeposit (NED), a role she commenced in December 2022. The NED Program Manager oversees the strategic planning, policies, and publisher relationships for the NED service, working in partnership with member libraries and the National Library of Australia as service provider. However, Jo’s involvement in the development and implementation of NED goes back much further, when she joined the NED Steering Group in 2016 in her previous role as Director, Collections at the State Library Victoria. She has regularly presented on NED at library and publishing sector conferences.