Legal Deposit and Acquisition

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As a collecting center of all books and literature in Korea, National Library of Korea collects national literature, contemporary knowledge products, as well as cultural heritage in a holistic and systematic way. Collecting resources is the most important basic function of the library. Books are collected through submission by publisher, purchase, donation or international exchange. The library collects an annual average of 530,000 volumes.

The library purchases materials at home and abroad to replenish its collection and to enhance its role as a national knowledge and information center that helps the government’s policy formulation and the citizens’ survey and research activities.

Purchase of Overseas Publications

Apart from the resources collected through submission by the publishers at home, the library purchases new publications from foreign countries through screening conducted by the Collection Committee and recommendation by the Foreign Publication Recommendation Committee. Both committees are composed of experts in academic and library circles.
1. Scope of Collection
  • Korean materials published overseas
  • Original texts and materials on North Korea
  • Materials related to Asia
  • Materials on policies and systems of each foreign nation
  • Introductory books and academic materials related to humanities, social and natural science
  • Materials on various culture and languages for individuals with multicultural backgrounds
2. Selection Criteria
1) Books
  • Korea/Asia-related resources
    • Foreign publications on Korea, including books depicting Korean life and national achievements
    • Foreign translations of Korean publications
    • Materials comparing Korea with other societies
    • Specific resources dealing with Korea or other Asian nations produced in advanced nations,
  • North Korean original texts and materials related to North Korea
    • Materials published by North Korea
    • Materials related to North Korea published in a third nation
    • Those materials are collected comprehensively irrespective of subject, language, type and publishing year
  • Materials for country report
    • Resources covering cultures, customs, natural and geographical features, and statistical data by nations or continent
    • Resources introducing systems or policies of a nation
    • Collection priority is given to neighboring nations such as Japan, China and Southeast Asian nations, as well as advanced countries like the USA, UK and EU.
  • Materials on humanities, social and natural science
    • Humanities (philosophy, religion, literature, library and information science, arts, etc)
    • Social Science (economics, business, education, law, etc)
    • Technology and Natural Science (architecture, physics, medical science, earth science, etc)
      Topics on important current events
    • For literature, world classics and series, prize winners, works by renown writers are collected with a priority.
    • Bibliographic series, encyclopedia, handbooks, yearbooks, statistics, biographical dictionaries, concordances, etc
    • Other books of various media are selectively collected based on their usage and preservation status at the library
  • Materials on Various Culture and Languages
    • Materials on the history, culture, literature, languages, etc of foreign countries where individuals with multicultural backgrounds in Korea originally come from
2) Periodicals
  • Academic journals/magazines
    • Materials produced continuously and consistently
    • Priority is given to recognized academic journals for each discipline and specialized magazines
    • Subscription of material with low usage is discontinued.
    • Resources available through international exchange, donation, or CD-ROMs are excluded from purchase.
  • Newspapers
    • Major newspapers published in advanced nations or key trading partners of Korea
3. Procedures for procurement of foreign publications
  • 1) The Collection Committee establishes the basic plan to expand NLK collection.
  • 2) Annual purchase plans are established.
  • 3) Library conducts survey on the list of recommended procurement.
  • 4) Purchase list is finalized.
  • 5) Purchase request is made to book dealers through competitive bidding or negotiated contracts when necessary.
  • 6) Delivery and inspection.
4. Procurement of domestic resources
  • Basic rules concerning domestic publication purchase
    • The library purchases national publications produced before the enforcement of the voluntary submission system.
    • Multiple copies for reading or reference are purchased in case of high demand from users.