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2.5 Strategic Priority Three: Collaborate


  • In partnership with state and territory libraries, build a comprehensive collection of Australian digital publications, sharing investment and responsibility for developing, preserving and providing access to these publications.
  • In partnership with the galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) and research sectors, expand and enhance Trove to increase Australians’ opportunities to engage with digital collections.

ACTIONS 2018-19

  • As a member of National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA), implement the NSLA Strategic Plan 2018–2020 to:
    • complete and operationalise National edeposit, a shared service building a national collection of digital publications
    • focus on strategic regional relationships
    • build Indigenous cultural competency across NSLA libraries.

The Library worked productively with NSLA colleagues on three major projects that are advancing the peak body’s policy, workforce and collections objectives.

The National edeposit system was taken from conceptual stage to fruition (see page 34). NED enables digital publications to be collected under the combined legal deposit provisions of Commonwealth, state and territory jurisdictions and made available to Australians via the NSLA libraries.

Initial reaction to NED was very positive, with publishers from across the country successfully depositing more than 50 items within the first 24 hours of its launch in May 2019. Since then, new deposits have come in steadily, with staff in every NSLA library closely monitoring items as they progress from the deposit portal (ned.gov.au) through to Libraries Australia, Trove, WorldCat (an international database) and NSLA library catalogues. All of the existing National Library edeposit content and a majority of the State Library of Queensland’s edeposit collection were successfully migrated prior to release and other jurisdictions are now following suit.

Hosted and managed by the National Library, NED is now a functioning, rigorously tested system that caters to commercial, non-profit, academic and community-based publishers alike—allowing them to deposit items individually or in bulk, nominate access conditions, have copies automatically transferred to relevant libraries, and track usage statistics. It is a world-first collaborative service capable of capturing and preserving the digital documentary heritage of Australia for the future. Work will continue to resolve technical issues as they arise and ensure that policies, procedures and training keep pace as the service gains momentum.

NSLA has reviewed its strategic regional relationships in Asia and the Pacific with a view to consolidating and increasing its activities. While the Library does not receive dedicated funding for international engagement, it offers collection and professional development assets that are highly regarded by other countries and provides ad hoc assistance to the regional library sector.

Following the successful completion of the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI) Oceania leadership program (a NSLA partnership), Library senior staff attended the Pacific Libraries Network Convening in September 2018. The Convening developed a Statement of Intent and agreed on goals that would support the library and information needs of Pacific communities. The Library will respond to the Statement of Intent with selected strategically focused initiatives over the next year.

In July 2018, a senior staff member travelled to the National Diet Library in Japan to present on the Library’s successful implementation of the edeposit service, a topic of particular interest to neighbouring national libraries. In the same month, the Director-General and senior managers attended the Asia- Pacific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit on the Gold Coast, organised by the Australian Library and Information Association. This was an opportunity to gain a national and international library perspective on this important initiative and consider how the goals can be implemented. The Library also delivered a presentation on Australian libraries and the SDGs at the Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Kuala Lumpur in August.

In late 2018, NSLA contracted AIATSIS to deliver the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Learning Program. Library staff were among 150 participants who undertook the online training in the pilot program. The training was supported by the formation of ‘yarning circles’ at each library, a critical tool in facilitating discussion of often-difficult issues. NSLA and AIATSIS are also developing specific training modules for staff working with Indigenous collections. It is anticipated that all NSLA library employees (and board members) will complete the online Indigenous competency training over the next three years.

  • Partner with GLAM and research organisations to connect researchers to large-scale digital Australian collections, facilitating advances in our knowledge and understanding of Australia’s society, culture and economy.

During the year, the Library’s large-scale digital Australian collections continued to grow with the digitisation of the Australian Joint Copying Project collection and the launch of the world-leading Australian Web Archive. Alongside an expanding physical collection, the Library is refining its digital collections to improve the visibility of Australian materials.

The Library’s collections are heavily used by the research sector, and Trove in particular receives many requests from researchers for more digitised content and research tools. Library staff regularly deliver presentations at research and GLAM conferences. In March 2019, the Library participated in the joint Humanities, Arts and Culture Data Summit and DARIAH Beyond Europe workshop. DARIAH is a European Union–funded initiative supporting digital humanities. Trove was the topic of many conference discussions, with much interest from European researchers. The launch of the Australian Web Archive generated excitement as participants discussed how this innovation could potentially transform some disciplines.

The Library is a member of the Humanities and Social Sciences Data Enhanced Virtual Laboratory (HASS DEVL) Steering Committee and contributed to the completion of Stage 1 projects. These included building an online environment for humanities researchers and developing a data curation framework. The new tools are linked back to the Trove platform, introducing new researchers to the service.

The Library has previously supported submissions to the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan (the funding model for the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap). While past submissions have not been successful, the Department of Education has brought forward a scoping study into infrastructure for HASS and Indigenous research. This is a welcome signal from the Australian Government, and the Library is working with other research organisations to progress the scoping study.

The Library continues to have a strong involvement with Australian Research Council projects (see page 39) and is a partner organisation or active in five current projects.

  • Implement a governance and business model that sustains the national Trove service.

Trove Collaborative Services (previously known as the Digital Business project) is the new service model for Libraries Australia members and Trove partners. It aims to continue providing Libraries Australia services while extending the membership model to the Trove platform, which has assumed a central role in the library, research and cultural heritage sectors. In doing so, the Library is establishing a more collaborative and financially sustainable approach to Trove for all contributing organisations.

The Library, in consultation with the Libraries Australia Advisory Committee, has stewarded the development of the governance and business model and will begin the first stage of Trove Collaborative Services with existing Libraries Australia members on 1 July 2019. The Library released the new pricing methodology, based on cost-recovery principles, in December 2018, with tailored pricing for each member. The terms and conditions for the service suite were distributed as part of the Trove Collaborative Services Agreement in late June. While overall revenue will remain steady, around 60 per cent of members are facing price increases. An extensive communications strategy was developed to address concerns and detail the benefits for individual libraries. Libraries facing substantial price increases will have membership costs phased in over three years.

On the governance front, a new Trove Strategic Advisory Committee has been formed to replace the Libraries Australia Advisory Committee in 2019–20. The committee will provide strategic advice and influence the future directions of Trove and services for the Australian library community and professionals. To this end, committee members will be elected, and four additional members appointed to ensure representation of the diverse range of Trove partners.

  • Demonstrate leadership in internationally recognised areas of expertise:
    • mass digitisation of textual materials
    • collection and management of born-digital content
    • protocols supporting open access to publicly funded research and cultural collections.

Mass Digitisation of Textual Materials

The Library is a recognised leader in mass digitisation. This year, we completed landmark projects that saw the large-scale digitisation of items from our own collections, as well as undertaking major projects for Trove partners and sharing our expertise with the wider library sector.

The Library began digitising the Australian Joint Copying Project collection, demonstrating its increasing capability and expertise digitising at scale. The AJCP is a vast and rich collection of unique historical material from the United Kingdom relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Leveraging the Library’s digital platform and developing highly sophisticated workflows, Library staff have implemented an efficient, high-quality method of digitising over 10,000 microfilm reels, with detailed descriptive finding aids providing direct access to individual items. The initial release of 462,000 images in early 2019 is being followed by monthly releases until June 2020. By the end of June 2019, two million images were available to researchers on Trove, representing the largest single digitisation project undertaken by the Library.

The Parliamentary Papers project illustrates the Library’s leadership role and skills in delivering collaborative projects. In a partnership with the Parliamentary Library, documents formally presented to federal parliament from 1901 to 2012 are being digitised and made available on Trove. The project will deliver over 1.7 million images and will be completed in 2019–20.

The Library also continues to collaborate with state libraries. A program funded by the State Library of New South Wales has brought many early Australian journals into Trove, while a second project with the State Library of Western Australia saw all regional newspapers in this state digitised. Over 900,000 pages were digitised for external partners during the reporting period.

Collection and Management of Born-digital Content

In March 2019, the Library secured a position on the steering committee of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), the peak body coordinating web archiving in cultural institutions around the world. While the Library was a founding member, our involvement and visibility have lessened over the past ten years. With the release of the technically challenging Australian Web Archive, it is an opportune time for the Library to resume a leadership role within the global community, which has already been affirmed with the appointment of the Library’s representative to the role of technical lead officer.

The Library’s use of Preservica, a commercially available digital preservation software system, continues to attract much attention. During the year, the Digital Preservation team hosted visiting delegations from the national libraries of Indonesia, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Denmark, and corresponded or held video-conferences with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Transport for London, and the national libraries of Singapore, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Belgium. All were interested in the Library’s use of Preservica as part of an integrated end-to-end digital life-cycle solution for digital objects. The Library is also an active participant in the AusPreserves digital preservation community of practice and the international Preservica User Group.

Protocols Supporting Open Access

For the past two years, the Library has been a member of the RightsStatements.org steering committee. The consortium, which includes major aggregation platforms such as Europeana and the Digital Public Library of America, aims to increase access to online cultural heritage materials by providing collecting organisations with a suite of 12 standardised rights statements to describe the copyright and re-use status of their digital material.

During the year, the Library’s representative has been instrumental in securing support for the recognition of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) within rights statements. The Library recognised, from its own experience, a lack of guidance in the existing statements on cultural and moral obligations inherent in using ICIP digital material. Steady advocacy and input from the Library resulted in the steering committee endorsing the proposal in March 2019. RightsStatements.org is now seeking funding to develop and implement the new statement. This achievement demonstrates the benefits of investing and participating in innovative collaborative projects with our international colleagues.

Strategic Stories

National Edeposit—Collaboration in Action

After more than three years of careful preparation, the world-leading National edeposit service for capturing and preserving Australia’s digital documentary heritage was released on 30 May 2019. NED is a visionary project of National and State Libraries Australia, responding to both the complexity of Australia’s legal deposit system and an increasing shift in the publishing world from print to digital. Following the success of the National Library’s pioneering edeposit service, NSLA quickly recognised that both libraries and publishers would benefit from an efficient nationwide service for the deposit, management, storage, preservation, discovery and delivery of published electronic material.

The success of NED has only been possible because of the decades- long history of collaboration within NSLA. All aspects of the project were managed jointly, from the initial scoping and development of the business case to the software build and policy framework. Governance arrangements were established early. A steering group—comprising representatives from all eight state and territory libraries as well as the National Library—met regularly, primarily by videoconference, to jointly develop the software specifications, policies, branding and publisher communication plans.

The National Library’s Information Technology team played a pivotal role, working with NSLA partners to combine and adapt the wide range of existing hardware and software solutions to accommodate the thousands of publisher accounts and digital files. All libraries participated in multiple rounds of user-acceptance testing, ensuring that the process was rigorously assessed before release. A testament to the commitment of all involved was the willingness to relinquish local processes and workflows to achieve the overarching vision. NED is a shining example of consensus building, in which the resulting whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


Table 2.7 Percentage of stakeholders that identify the Library as a trusted collaborator

Performance Measure

Actual (%)

Target (%)

Stakeholders that identify the Library as a trusted collaborator



Note: This performance measure is from the 2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements, Program 1.1, Table 2.1.2, page 198; and the 2018–19 Corporate Plan.

Qualitative Evaluation

Measure: The Library as a Trusted Collaborator

Target Group: Partners Funded by Australian Research Council Grants

As Australia’s premier research library, the National Library has a long history of participating in Australian Research Council (ARC) projects and is continually exploring ways of better engaging with the academic and research community. In 2019, the Library surveyed ARC project partners to evaluate trust in the Library as a leader and research partner.

Among the 32 respondents, there was a high level of trust in the Library and its expertise, resources and process, with 88 per cent considering that the Library’s involvement added significantly to project outcomes, while 66 per cent indicated that the project would not have gone ahead without the Library’s participation.

Researchers identified access to the Library’s collections as strongly contributing to the creation of new knowledge, with 78 per cent agreeing or strongly agreeing that the collections were key to the project’s success. Respondents were also enthusiastic about the Library’s digital infrastructure, networks and services, with 88 per cent agreeing that they were critical to project outcomes.

The survey validated our investment in ARC partnerships and indicated that the Library is a partner of choice for a diverse range of high-quality research projects.