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Donating digital items

The Turnbull is actively seeking digital material to add to our collections. We’re eager to take a look at your digital content, and if it’s in line with our collections policy, see about adding it to our holdings.

What are we looking for?

We collect many kinds of digital material, including:

  • Manuscripts and personal papers (drafts of novels, poems, letter, emails)
  • Oral History recordings, transcripts, and abstracts
  • Photographs
  • Cartoons
  • Sound and video recordings
  • Websites, including blogs
  • Posters, newsletters, and ephemera
  • Maps
  • Electronic versions of serials and other publications

If you are considering donating your papers archives to the Library, think about whether there are digital components of your collection that could be added.

Consider the Library when disposing of hardware and software

Saving digital content often relies on legacy hardware and software. We are always interested in hearing about any outdated hardware or software you would be willing to donate, to help us process our collections.

Donating digital files

Interested in donating digital material? We can provide advice on the best way to prepare the files and send them to us, or just answer your questions.

Drop us an email at

When possible, we like to receive files in their original formats, to ensure they stay as close to the state of creation as possible. However, we may need to create copies in other formats for preservation or access purposes. We’ll discuss the matter with you when you contact us.

If you would like to send us samples of your digital content, please email us at

Online digital publications

Online publications like ebooks, videos, and digital music are a growing part of our collections. If they are published in New Zealand they are required under Legal Deposit legislation.

If you are interested in donating your online publication published outside New Zealand, we need your authorisation to download the material from your site. We are interested in donations of online publications from the Pacific, especially Polynesia, or publications written by New Zealanders who are living and/or publishing outside New Zealand. We are also interested in publications about New Zealand that are published outside New Zealand.

Permission to archive digital music

Permission to archive online publication


Preserving and sharing New Zealand’s online heritage is very important to us. You can nominate your website for harvesting into the New Zealand Web Archive by emailing us or using the nomination form. You can also nominate your site for inclusion in the Web Archive if your website is published in the Pacific, especially Polynesia.

Preparing your files for donation

It is helpful if you can try and gather as much information as possible regarding your digital content before your material is collected by the library. If you don’t know, don’t worry!

Useful information may include:

  • File Formats (such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, JPEG)
  • Operating System (do you use Mac OS, Windows, or some flavour of Linux?)
  • Rights information (for example, who owns copyright / intellectual property rights?)

Caring for your digital material

Digital files are much more fragile than their paper equivalents, and generally at a greater risk of loss.

Preserving digital material at the Library

If your items are accepted into the collections, they will be permanently preserved. Your files will be looked after in our digital preservation system, the National Digital Heritage Archive.

The NDHA ensures that as technologies and formats come and go, the digital heritage collections will be saved for researchers, students, and library users now and in the future.

Technical information about how security and access are managed in the NDHA preservation system

Preserving your digital material at home

There isn’t a single right way to look after your digital items, but there are a few standards that you can follow when creating your digital records, or preparing your records for transfer to the Alexander Turnbull Library. These make it easier for us to collect and preserve the material for future generations.

The best place to start looking for advice on managing your digital content is the Library of Congress digital preservation website.

Donating digital items

Our diaries, photo albums, and important documents increasingly have no paper version – they’re ‘born digital’. That doesn’t make them any less valuable, any less collectable, or any less susceptible to being lost to future generations.

Contact us

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Phone us

04 474 3000


Alexander Turnbull Library

More information

Read our collections policy