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Banner: Electronic Collection: A Virtual Collection of Monographs and Periodicals
Section title: Guidelines for Legal Deposit of Online Publications

Legal deposit procedures for online publications: general guidelines

Library and Archives Canada's (LAC's) mandate is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations. The Library and Archives of Canada Act was assented to in April 2004 (see: http://lois.justice.gc.ca/en/L-7.7/249401.html) and through legal deposit regulations, LAC is able to build and preserve a comprehensive collection of Canada's published heritage. LAC's mandate is particularly important in the digital environment, where online material is at great risk of being lost. By law, all Canadian publishers are required to deposit copies of their publications with LAC. On January 1, 2007 Legal Deposit legislation will be extended to include the deposit of online publications.

Who should deposit?

Legal Deposit applies to the publisher, which is defined broadly as "a person who makes a publication available in Canada and is either authorized to reproduce the content or has control over the content. It does not include a person who only distributes a publication". This legislation affects individuals, associations, federal government departments and agencies, trade and periodical publishers of online publications.

What should be deposited?

Not all online materials fall within the scope of the Legal Deposit legislation. LAC is focusing on collecting online material that is considered to be in "publication" form. Online publications usually have a distinct title, a specific author or authoring body, a specific date and are intended for public consumption. The types of online publications that should be deposited are: books, magazines, annual reports, research papers, scholarly journals, etc. Types of online publications that do not need to be deposited are: forms, e-mail correspondence, abstracts, press releases, portals, advertisements, schedules, timetables, databases, etc. When depositing online publications, it is very important that publishers provide copies of the complete publication. LAC cannot accept partial documents such as tables of contents without articles, abstracts, summaries or advertisements describing full documents.

How to deposit online publications?

LAC offers the following options for deposit:
  • E-mail (mostly for subscriptions);
  • FTP (for large quantities of files);
  • By regular mail via CD Rom and other storage devices (these are not returned to the publisher);
  • Via the Electronic Collection's Upload platform (for single files at a time - 10 MB or less)

Depending on the quantity of files, formats and website layout, LAC staff may decide to download publications directly from the publisher's website. In order to make arrangements to send your publications by e-mail, FTP or regular mail, or to discuss download options, please contact LAC's Legal Deposit - Internet Unit at the following e-mail address: epe@lac-bac.gc.ca. When sending a message always include the following information: the URL of the publication, title, author, date of publication, publisher's name, e-mail address and any other relevant information. As stated above, you can also directly deposit your online publications to the Electronic Collection by using LAC's upload platform.

Which versions to deposit?

Publications should normally be deposited in all the forms in which they were made available to the public. Publishers are required to deposit all publication formats, even if all formats have identical contents. For example, if a publication is published in both print and online format, both should be deposited with LAC.

Similarly, if an online document is published in multiple formats, such as HTML, PDF and RTF all formats are required for deposit at LAC.

What happens after a publication has been deposited?

Once an online publication has been deposited and processed at Library and Archives Canada, it is archived on a LAC server, and added to LAC's Electronic Collection at the following URL:


Currently LAC offers publishers a choice of two types of access levels for their online publications in our Electronic Collection: open access and restricted access. Publishers need to select one of these access options.

With open access anyone can view and download the publication through the Internet. Whenever possible we ask publishers to select the open access option.

With restricted access (usually for priced publications) publications are viewable by the public only at selected terminals at LAC's main building in Ottawa. It is not possible to print, download, or transfer files from these restricted access terminals.

Contact us at LAC

To visit and to find out more about LAC's Electronic Collection click on the following url: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/electroniccollection/
For more information contact:
Legal Deposit - Internet Unit
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4
Telephone: 819-997-9565
Toll free in Canada: 1-866-578-7777
Fax: 819-953-8508
E-mail: epe@lac-bac.gc.ca