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Legal deposit: Born-digital material

This guide introduces the concept of legal deposit, interprets the relevant legislation and provides direction for South Australian publishers of physical and born-digital materials.

Born-digital material

Infocuz Technologies, La tecnologia de big data revolucionara la seguridad de la informacion, Flickr Creative Commons, viewed 25/3/2014, 

How do I donate or suggest born-digital material?

Complete this form for Suggesting a New Item, providing as much detail as possible and include a contact email address. You can add PDF attachments to a maximum size of 10Mb for SLSA to evaluate if you wish. Alternative arrangements for submitting very large files or numerous files can be made - fill out the form and a staff member will respond to you.

If a serial is accepted, a new email address to be added to your distribution list for subsequent issues will be provided.

For any enquiries, contact SLSA on the details below.

Contacts for born-digital material

Published born-digital material (eg websites, PDF documents, e-serials)

At SLSA - Collection Development on (08) 8207 7281 or

Interstate - the NSLA Digital Working Group provides contact details for donating this material to other libraries

Archival/unpublished born-digital material (including personal/corporate/business photos, digital records or footage)

Born-digital material in South Australia

The State Library is committed to preserving South Australia's documentary heritage. In the past, information was published only in a physical format such as in books, newspapers or on CD-ROMs. However, contemporary society also records and distributes public information electronically on the Internet or via email.

Published material such as websites and PDF serials or reports are considered 'born-digital', meaning that they were created using an electronic device and have no physical equivalent.

This information might be lost to the historical record unless institutions such as the State Library collect and preserve it.

Lodging born-digital items at the State Library

In early 2019, in line with the provisions of the Libraries Act Section 35, the Libraries Board of South Australia will authorise publishers to commence depositing electronic materials to the National edeposit (NED) service where the material is of kind that is capable of being deposited through the NED Deposit Processes and the person or body who publishes the material consents to the Board downloading a copy of the material. Publications that cannot be deposited via one of the NED deposit processes should continue to be sent directly to the State Library of South Australia.

In the meantime, the Library is keen to collect significant and representative born-digital publications and encourages South Australian organisations, businesses, clubs and individuals to submit their publications.

If you would like to donate born-digital material of an unpublished or personal nature (e.g. personal digital photos, digital records for businesses/clubs/organisations or personal film footage), please see our page on 'Donating Archival or Unpublished Material'.

Published AV material on carriers such as CDROMS, CDs, DVDs, cassettes and records are subject to legal deposit legislation outlined in the section on Physical Material.


What about commercially available e-books or online documents? SLSA will observe any licensing restrictions required by copyright holders. This may mean that these publications are not accessible outside the State Library for an embargo period, or for the duration of copyright.

How does SLSA archive websites? Once permission is obtained, the SLSA employs harvesting software that copies material online from a specified seed URL and publishes it to the PANDORA archive. In most cases, the publisher's assistance is not required.

Is SA government material subject to the same considerations? Yes. Permission to collect and re-publish SA government material online needs to be negotiated with individual department/agency heads at this point in time. SLSA is keen for departments to provide blanket permissions for all their electronic material which will negate the need for repeated individual permission requests.

Does SLSA want access to material behind secure sections of websites? No. SLSA seeks to preserve publicly available material. Newsletters or other information behind passworded or 'members-only' sections of a website will not be actively sought as they are not considered to be available to the general public. Additionally, this material cannot be accessed via  PANDORA from a technical perspective.

My organisation distributes its PDF annual report on USB drives. Will you accept those? Yes. The PDF file/s will be copied from the USB and stored on our State Library servers. The USB drive can be returned to you upon request.

Where can I learn more about preserving my unpublished, personal digital material? The NSLA Digital Collecting Workgroup has produced a Personal Digital Archive Toolkit which contains information on how to manage your own digital material. This will help you if you wish to donate it to the Library's archival collections at a later date.


The State Library is a partner in PANDORA, Australia's national web archive. SLSA selects, harvests and publishes websites and other electronic information of South Australian significance to this publicly accessible archive.

As with other born-digital publications, permission from publishers must be obtained prior to archiving.

The public can explore archived versions of websites that may no longer exist or peruse a specific website as it appeared over a number of years.

SLSA has contributed over 1000 sites and other titles on a wide variety of subjects and collections since 1999 as this alphabetised list shows. For more information, see our PANDORA page on the SLSA website.

NSLA Digital Collecting

The NSLA Digital Collecting Working Group,comprised of the major libraries in Australia and New Zealand, recommended policies and procedures for dealing with born-digital material.

The group produced the following documents: