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I. Mandatory Deposit Laws

Norway has a mandatory deposit law that has as its purpose “secur[ing] the accumulation and storage of publicly available information for national collections, in order that [the information] that bears witness to Norwegian culture and society may be preserved and accessed as source material for research and documentation.”[1] Current legislation requires that seven copies of both physical and digital materials that have been made available for the public be deposited with institutions in Norway.[2] When a physical copy is deposited the National Library of Norway may also require that the underlying digital copy of the media be deposited (for instance, the digital version of a book).[3]

Most published material is subject to the deposit mandate, but publications of, for example, membership lists are not intended to be covered by the requirement.[4] Media that is published abroad need only be deposited if either the publisher is Norwegian or the material specifically targets Norwegians.[5] The National Library oversees the enforcement of depository laws.[6]

The depository requirement must be fulfilled by the publisher, producer, or importer of the document.[7] Upon the death of the depositor, his or her estate must fulfill the deposit requirement. Similarly, bankruptcy estates must fulfill the deposit requirement.[8]

Deposits are made to the National Library of Norway, which retains two copies for its collection and distributes the remaining deposits to the following institutions:

  • University of Oslo Library
  • University of Bergen Library
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology Library
  • University of Tromsø Library
  • Sami Library (if the title includes content in the Sami language)[9]

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II. Online Access

The National Library of Norway has been prioritizing digital content. For instance, it hosts an e-library of digitized books at Bokhylla.no (bokhylla is Norwegian for “bookshelf”), which provides access to digital copies of Norwegian library holdings to persons using Norwegian IP-addresses.[10] The National Library has made it a priority is digitize all books published prior to 2000 and make them available online.[11] The National Library’s ultimate goal is reportedly to digitize its entire collection.[12]

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Prepared by Elin Hofverberg
Foreign Law Research Consultant
July 2018


[1] § 1 Lov om avleveringsplikt for allment tilgjengelege dokument (Pliktavleveringslova) (LOV 1989-06-09-32) [Act on Mandatory Deposits for Published Material (Act No. 32 of June 9, 1989)] § 1, https://lovdata.no/dokument/NL/lov/1989-06-09-32, archived at https://perma.cc/6MHY-5APD (translation by author).

[2] § 4 Pliktavleveringslova (emphasis by author).

[3] Det Kongelege Kulturdepartementet [Royal Danish Ministry of Culture], Proposjon [Prop.] 106 L (2014–2015): Endringar i lov om avleveringsplikt for allment tilgjengelege dokument (innsamling av digitale dokument m.m.) [Government Bill 106 L (2014–2015): Changes in the Mandatary Deposit Act (Collection of Digital Material etc.)] at 47, https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/a660c098687e4e7 f84fbd5908d122412/nn-no/pdfs/prp201420150106000dddpdfs.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/ZP5E-2FBH

[4] Id.

[5] § 4 mom. 2 Pliktavleveringslova.

[6] Art. I Instruks for institusjonar som forvaltar dokument innkomne etter lov om avleveringsplikt for allment tilgjengelege document (FOR-1990-05-25-4696) [Regulation for Institutions that Maintain Documents Received in Accordance with the Act on Mandatory Deposits (Regulation No. 4696 of May 25, 1990)], https://lovdata.no/ dokument/INS/forskrift/1990-05-25-4696, archived at https://perma.cc/XM52-Q35V.  

[7] § 5 Pliktavleveringslova.

[8] § 6 Pliktavleveringslova.

[9] § 4 mom. 1 Pliktavleveringslova; Art. IV Instruks for institusjonar som forvaltar dokument innkomne etter lov om avleveringsplikt for allment tilgjengelege document.

[11] Mandat og strategi, Nasjonalbiblioteket, https://www.nb.no/om-nb/hva-og-hvem-er-vi/mandat-og-strategi (last visited Apr. 11, 2018).

[12] Digitizing Policy, Nasjonalbiblioteket, https://www.nb.no/English/The-Digital-Library/Digitizing-policy (last visited Apr. 11, 2018). For more on the Norwegian National Library’s work with digitization see https://www.nb.no/ om-nb/digitalisering-2 (in Norwegian).

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Last Updated: 08/06/2018