n Mousaion - Assessing the level of compliance with regard to the Legal Deposit Act : implications on access to South Africa's published heritage

Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



Legal deposit is recognised globally as an effective means of collecting, accessing, cataloguing and preserving a country's published heritage in designated libraries. It ensures that works published in a country are kept for the use of present and future generations, and provides for research into all aspects of the country's life and culture. Therefore, it is important that places of legal deposit commit themselves to sustainable development to meet the needs of a country by preserving and making published heritage available to all users. However, the biggest challenge is to encourage publishers to deposit their material in the legal deposit centres. This paper assesses the level of compliance with South Africa's Legal Deposit Act, 1997 (Act No. 54 of 1997) by the publishers. In terms of the Act publishers are required to deposit a prescribed number of copies of each printed document in the prescribed places of legal deposit within 14 days of publication. In order to clearly demonstrate the level of compliance by publishers, a survey was conducted on existing publishers and legal deposit centres in South Africa. The paper concludes by arguing that a lack of cooperation between publishers and legal deposit centres may put the published heritage of South Africa in great jeopardy.

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