The National Library of Norway: Legal Deposit (Pliktavlevering)


Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world. But there is a poor representation of this ancient language at Norwegian public libraries.

National Library of Norway (NB) has the assignment of legal deposit of all Norwegian publications and productions regardless of medium. This institution has the responsibility for preserving all types of publications and production published in Norway under the «pliktavlevering» (legal deposit) Act. The term «pliktavlevering» (legal deposit) may sound strict. But in practice giving a publication to the Norwegian National Library for long term preservation depends on the person who produces and publishes a publication.

This does not mean books only! But, everything from books to maps, movies, posters, broadcasting, newspapers and much more.
All the publications and productions are important representative role models and inspiration for young and future creators. Preservation and availability and accessibility at public platforms develop a recognition. One can relate to the visual and virtual holdings and develop belongingness and pride about own language, culture and history.

More importantly, according to the Norwegian legal deposit act (pliktavlevering), all Norwegian publications and productions, regardless of medium, has a legal deposit (pliktavlevering) at the Norwegian National library (Nasjonalbiblioteket).

It is also mentioned briefly about “The Multilingual Library”, that handle multilingual publications in printed and other media.

  • Legal Deposit (Pliktavlevering): Norwegian publications
  • Books and other printed publications
    • ISBN
    • Accessibility and availability
    • Digitised publications
    • Access to the National Library’s digital collections from abroad
  • The Multilingual Library – Det flerspråklige biblioteket
  • Digital materials: Ebooks
  • Digital materials: Websites
  • Digital materials: Social Media
  • Recorded music and visual media
  • Open invitation from the National library of Norway

Legal Deposit (Pliktavlevering): Norwegian publications

The mandate of the National Library of Norway (NB) is “collection, preservation and making available of published content within all types of medium. Traditionally, “published content” has been printed materials such as books and magazines. But today «published content» includes also audio, film and digital material. The keyword is “published content” and that distinguishes the mandate of the NB and the archives in Norway.
For more information about Legal Deposit (Pliktavlevering):

Books and other printed publications

The law states that NB must have up to 7 copies of a book subject to delivery. But there are some exceptions. The publication will be registered at NB and preserved in their security magazine in the city Mo i Rana in Norway. In addition, copies will be given to the public service in Oslo and the Depot Library.
NB Registration Database:
(Select “Nasjonalbiblioteket” on this site)


Many Tamil books and other text-based publications are without ISBN number. We found out about the functionality of ISBN followed by a concern about publications without ISBN number.

It is optional to have an ISBN and it is not the element that determines whether a book is included in the collection of the NB and made available by them. ISBN is a useful tool for being able to identify and search for a book, for example in the booksellers’ systems. But it is not mandatory to have an ISBN on published books. It is up to the publisher to include it or not.

A Norwegian publisher (both ordinary publishers and self-publishers) can order ISBN number from the National Library of Norway for free of charge. The NB will assign ISBN number for publications published in Norway.

ISBN-13 with EAN 13 barcode on German language book. (

However, there are two things that matter:

  1. The book must be made publicly available, i.e. it must be spread over a closed circle. It cannot be a purely private release just for the family (NB sometimes make exceptions here if there are special reasons for it)
  2. The book must be published in Norway.
Accessibility and availability

The material will be registered in the National Library’s databases as soon as possible after receipt. When NB includes the books in their collection, they will be available for the public. The first copy goes to hedging for the future. Copy no. 2 will be available in the reading room in the NB in Oslo. Copy no. 3 will be available for interlibrary loans throughout the country. In addition, copies are sent to the university libraries in Tromsø, Trondheim, Bergen and Oslo and the Sami Parliament’s libraries. But not all types of publications are included in their collection. For instance, children’s books.

NB does not purchase books for Norwegian public libraries, such as Deichman Libraries (Oslo) and “Folkebibliotek” (nationwide). Contact the Multilingual Library (“Det flerspråklige biblioteket”) and recommend your book to them, to make Tamil publications available at Oslo and nationwide public libraries.

Digitised publications

All publications that are included in the NB collection will eventually be digitalised. Publications in other languages than Norwegian will also be digitalised.
The digitalised materials can be searched on this website:

But due to copyright, some of the digitalised files will be available only in the reading rooms at the NB in Solli Plass in Oslo. Other files can be accessed on your computer from your home. There is also limited access to universities and colleges and public libraries. More information about digital accesses:

Access to the National Library’s digital collections from abroad

It is possible to apply for access to the National Library’s digital collections from abroad, but then you must have a special research or documentation need. More information about access from abroad:

The Multilingual Library – Det flerspråklige biblioteket

“The Multilingual Library is a service provided by the National Library of Norway. Our role is to support other libraries in their provision of library services to a multilingual and multicultural population.” They handle multilingual publications in literature and other media.
For more information:

Digital materials: Ebooks

E-books need to be uploaded here:

However, NB does not currently have a system in place that guarantees that they can preserve files in the formats, ibook / kindle / mobi. NB, therefore, advises, if possible, to create a version in PDF or EPUB, so that they can ensure that they can preserve the content. In that case, the submission needs to be enclosed with a letter stating that the original format is ibook or kindle or other.

Digital materials: Websites

The NB collects publicly available Norwegian material on the Internet.
Norwegian digital material on the internet includes:

  • Digital documents from the Norwegian domain (.no)
  • Digital documents from other domains that are specially adapted for Norwegian conditions or have a Norwegian publisher

If you have a website that you think the NB should preserve, you can nominate it by sending an email to with the link to the website.
For more information:

Digital material is stored in the National Library’s digital security magazine, and it is available to the public in NB´s reading room at Solli Plass in Oslo. In the long run, the material will also be available from university and college libraries and other public libraries. This will be limited use for research and documentation purposes, governed by digital use licenses.

Digital materials: Social Media

Social media is not included in the online archive’s harvesting of websites.
One of the characteristics of social media is “Internet services that do not differentiate between producers and consumers of content”. It is difficult to place editorial responsibilities and to separate what are private statements and how these should be handled. This applies to privacy policy (Personvern). Several social media explicitly state that it is not allowed to harvest them with automatic methods. It is therefore a legal issue for foreign services such as Facebook.

Recorded music and visual media

Recorded music and live images are archived in the National Library’s security magazine in the city Mo i Rana in Norway. The second copy is an audience copy at the National Library in Oslo. This is not lent out but can be listened to in separate listening rooms. Delivered audio recordings are also made available for documentation work, studies and research.

Open invitation from the National library of Norway

When DsporA Tamil Archive contacted the National Library of Norway, the consultant at the section of legal deposit (pliktavlevering) responded that they do not have many titles in Tamil. They showed a great interest in receiving publications and productions. When it comes to books, as mentioned earlier, books published in Norway and that are widely available, regardless of whether they have an ISBN or not NB would like to receive them for collection, preservation and accessibility.

According to the legal deposit act (pliktavlevering), all publications, regardless of medium, published in Norway must be handed into the National Library of Norway. This information is given to all publishers (publishing companies and self-publishers) by the NB when they assign ISBNs. So it is not certain that everyone who publishes books without ISBNs has received this information about the law. Thereby many publications will be missing at the collection of the National Library of Norway.

The NB conveyed their great interest to take care of these publications! And asked DsporA Tamil Archive to help them to spread the information about legal deposit (pliktavlevering).

DsporA Tamil Archive encourages all Norwegian-Tamil authors, creators and producers to send their publications and productions to NB for preservation and accessibility.

Thank you:
The National Library of Norway

Reproduction of this article is allowed when used without any alterations to the contents and the source, DsporA Tamil Archive, is mentioned.

Updated: 22.10.2020