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Top > Frequently asked questions > Legal Deposit, Donation, Collections > Legal Deposit System

Frequently asked questions : Legal Deposit System

Frequently asked questions

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Q
Why is the legal deposit system mandatory?
A
This is in order to preserve materials as shared cultural assets of the nation and promote their wider use, as well as conveying to future generations a record of the intellectual activities of the Japanese people.

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What sort of works must be deposited?
A
As a general rule, all publications issued for the purpose of distribution. This includes not only books, periodicals, and newspapers, but also CDs, DVDs, videos, records, music, and maps. However, simple publications such as notebooks and calendars are not subject to the legal deposit system.

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Who deposits these works?
A
When a private publication has been published, the publisher must deposit a complete copy of its best edition to the NDL.

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What is the deadline for depositing works?
A
Materials are required to be deposited within 30 days from the date of publication.

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How should I deposit these works?
A
You can either deposit publications through a collective agency such as the Japan Publication Wholesalers Association, or send by mail or bring in person to the Library directly.

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How many copies must be deposited?
A
For private publishers, academic institutions, private research institutions, private universities, companies, organizations, or individuals issuing a publication, the legal deposit requirement is one copy only.
However, if a second copy is donated, as a general rule the Tokyo Main Library will hold the first copy and the Kansai-kan Library will hold the second copy.

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Q
What is the address for legal deposits?
A
Domestic Materials Division, Acquisitions and Bibliography Department, National Diet Library
1-10-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8924 JAPAN

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Q
If there are different versions with the same content (for example, DVDs & videotape or boxed editions & non-boxed editions), which should I deposit?
A
The National Diet Library Law obliges the publisher for legal deposit of a "perfect copy of the best edition" of each publication.
Of all the multiple versions of a publication (including those with different recording media or bindings) that contain the same content issued at the same time by the same publisher, the "best edition" is the version most suitable to contribute for the purposes of deposit for accumulation and use as a cultural asset. A "perfect copy" is a copy without disordered or missing pages, without scratches or damage or dirt, capable of being played back successfully on equipment, and containing all additional material beyond the main body of the publication, such as instruction manuals or appendices.
Packaged digital publications are ranked according to the following criteria: Blu-ray > video tape, boxed version > non-boxed version.
When the same content is published in both print media and digital media versions (such as a CD-ROM and a booklet), the best edition of each of these versions is subject to legal deposit.

Criteria for the "best edition" of digital publications (a "best edition" is one that fulfils all the following points)
  1. Excellent storage stability of the recording medium.
  2. Has a container for storing the recording medium.
  3. Does not require specific equipment or facilities for storage.
  4. Has an attached commentary or instruction manual relating to use.
  5. Uses widespread equipment standards both for the recording media and packaged digital publication.
  6. Any special functions are added. However, when these special functions are added for specific purposes, the specific functions shall not be added.

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How are deposited publications used?
A
After deposited publications are registered as library materials and bibliographic data is created, this is posted to the Japanese National Bibliography on the National Diet Library website, so that you can search for bibliographic data using NDL-OPAC etc.
In addition to contributing to the legislative activities of the National Diet, publications housed in the closed stacks is available for use via the branch libraries of administrative and judicial departments. They can be read and copied by Library visitors, and can be used for remote copying services (in Japanese) available to registered users via NDL-OPAC.

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For how long are deposited publications stored?
A
There is no limit. Publications are stored as long as possible in an appropriate archival storage environment, and shared for use.

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Q
Won't the archives get full?
A
The Library makes effective use of space at its three facilities (the Tokyo Main Library, the Kansai-kan Library, and the International Library of Children's Literature) to ensure the closed stacks do not blow out. The Library also has long-term plans for extension of the closed stacks.

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Q
The Library does not possess some required materials. Since it seems that some publishers do not know about the legal deposit system, perhaps the Library should advertise this more pro-actively?
A
In order to achieve an exhaustive collection of publications issued in Japan, the Library is working to spread public awareness of the legal deposit system, including the production and distribution of brochures (aimed both at publishers and the general public) explaining the legal deposit system.
In addition, the Library is striving to further spread awareness of the legal deposit system by establishing May 25 of every year as "Legal Deposit System Day" (in Japanese).

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