Feature Image: Legal Deposit

Legal Deposit

Under legislation, all publishers in New Zealand must deposit their publications with the National Librarian. This enables the National Library of New Zealand to collect, preserve, and make available the documentary heritage of New Zealand.

Does it apply to my publication?

If you publish something, you’re a publisher, so Legal Deposit applies to you. That includes any person, group, or organisation that publishes material and makes it available, for sale or free of charge, to any section of the public.

A publisher can be an individual, a club, church, incorporated society, record label, business, or other organisation. Producing publications doesn’t need to be your primary purpose to count as a publisher.

If you are paying someone to print publications for you, or using a print-on-demand or e-book, music, or film distribution platform, then you are the publisher and your publication is in scope for New Zealand Legal Deposit even if the company you are using is based overseas.

Sheet music, published music, and electronic sound and video recordings are subject to Legal Deposit.

More about publications covered and excluded by Legal Deposit

Submit your publication

Submit your physical and digital publications along with the Legal Deposit form.

If you are publishing in both physical and digital format, both must be deposited. There are some exceptions for print-on-demand publications see below.

Physical publications

Send us two copies of your physical publications within 20 days of publication, or drop them in to the Library (ask our Kaiarahi to contact a Legal Deposit staff member, or leave it with Turnbull staff on the first floor).

If you miss the legislated deadline, please do submit your deposit anyway!

If you are publishing a book in both hardback and paperback, you only need to submit copies of the hardback.

Digital publications

Email your digital publication with the completed form to eld@dia.govt.nz, or see our list of alternative electronic depositing options.

The National Library Act asks you to provide ‘reasonable assistance’ to us in acquiring your electronic publications, so contact us if you’re having trouble and we’ll help you work out what to do.

  • If an item is print-on-demand and is also published as a digital publication only deposit the digital version.
  • If you are not publishing a digital version, you must deposit a physical copy of your print-on-demand publication.

Print-on-demand — is when a publication file is uploaded by a content creator to a platform that provides a print-on-demand service. When a customer purchases a print copy, a book is printed and delivered directly to the customer, with no involvement from the content creator.

Download and complete the Legal Deposit form and send it to us with your publication.

Save the Legal Deposit form to your computer, and then enter your information. Filling it in directly in your browser might mean you lose what you've entered.

Legal Deposit form (pdf, 356KB)

More about submitting your publication

What happens to my publications?

Our collections are held in perpetuity, so we’ll always keep them, even if you send us updated versions later.

When you submit a physical publication , the first copy goes into the Alexander Turnbull Library, the national research and heritage collection. The second copy goes into our general New Zealand and Pacific collection, and is available through other libraries via interloan.

Electronic deposits are archived to the National Digital Heritage Archive (NDHA), our long-term digital preservation system.

If access to your publication is restricted, for example because it’s commercially available, it can only be accessed in the Katherine Mansfield Reading Room at the National Library in Wellington, by up to 3 people at once.

If it is open access because it is openly available online or you've given permission, anyone can access the Legal Deposit copy via a link in our online catalogue. We can also link to your website.

Our policy on the security of electronic publications collected under Legal Deposit

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

The legislation

The National Library has been entrusted by government to carry out the functions involved in the Legal Deposit process. The legislation supporting these functions is in Part 4 of the National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003. The Act is supported by 3 Requirement Notices.

The National Library Act (amended 2003), NZ Legislation website

The National Library Requirement (Books and Periodicals) Notice (2004)

The National Library Requirement (Electronic Documents) Notice (2006)

The National Library Requirement (Phonographic Documents) Notice 2017