FAQ (Legal Deposit)
Documents that are produced to be generally available to the public. This includes any document that:
• is intended to be issued and distributed to the South African public;
The purpose of legal deposit is to collect, preserve and make available to present and future users the documents that contain the intellectual and cultural heritage of the country.
Legal deposit is a legal obligation that South African publisher (or producers) of all types of documents, including audio-visual publications, have to deposit a certain number of copies of each of their published documents to designated places of legal deposit. It is international practice for governments to require producers of all types of published documents to deposit such. Currently countries worldwide are reviewing and amending their legal deposit laws in order to accommodate the growing importance of audio-visual and electronic media.
The preservation of documentary heritage facilitates access by citizens to all published material generated within their country. Thus legal deposit is one of the pillars of freedom of information.
It enables our country to fulfil two fundamental moral obligations to mankind as a whole. These are:
• to record everything the country has produced (in compliance with the UNESCO / International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Programme of Universal Bibliographic Control); and
Legal deposit has more specific benefits for creators and for publishers or producers:
• it ensures that a creator’s work is not lost for posterity and that it is available for future research;
A “document” is any object that is intended to store or convey information in textual, graphic, visual, auditory or other intelligible format through any medium.