The National Library provides access to a large collection of journals, both in print and electronic formats.

You can use electronic databases to locate journal and newspaper articles, research reports, conference papers, book chapters and other resources related to specific subject areas. They are particularly useful for locating current information not published in books.

Many of our databases contain full-text resources, however sometimes only a citation and abstract will be provided.

Use our Catalogue to search for a journal title or our eResources service to locate electronic databases or journal indexes. If you require searching assistance, try the following or ask a librarian.

Finding known articles

Use these instructions to find an article for which you already have a citation.

Identify journal title

First identify the full and correct title of the journal or cited source. A typical reference or citation looks like this:

typical reference or citation

Search the Catalogue for journal title or source

Search the National Library’s online Catalogue to determine if we hold the journal. Remember that the Catalogue does not contain details of individual articles. It only lists the titles of books and journals.

Note that some journal indexes abbreviate journal titles. Check Periodical title abbreviations in the Reference Collection (call number: RFq 050.148 PER).

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Sometimes we will have two or more holdings of the one journal. This is because we provide access to the journal in different formats, e.g. print and electronic. The year ranges covered by these formats is often different. For electronic versions, use the link in the catalogue record to take you to the relevant location. Order the print version using the requesting system outlined below.

Does the National Library hold the issue I want?


When you find the journal in the catalogue, check if the Library holds the issue you want. If it does, you can request specific issues using the ‘Get this’ button. In the example below, the Library holds the issue required which is Volume 23, Number 2.

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If the National Library does not hold the issue you want, try the following to locate or obtain the issue:

  • Search other library catalogues through Libraries Australia.
  • Alternatively the Australian Libraries Gateway contains links to other Australian libraries and their online catalogues.
  • Request it on interlibrary loan through your own local library.
  • Use the Copies Direct service to order a copy.

Finding articles by subject

Use these instructions to assist you in finding journal articles on your topic or subject.

Go to eResources

eResources is a service to help you find websites, indexes, full-text e-journals and subject guides on a range of topics. Many of the resources are freely available to anyone with Internet access but some are licensed resources which may only be used at the National Library of Australia.

Choose a subject

Within eResources both keyword and browse search options are available. In this example, we have selected the subject, or topic, ‘social sciences’.

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Select an index or database

Click on the ‘Social Sciences’ category, and then the topic of the same name on the next screen, to bring up a list of resources.

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Click on the ‘View info’ button to view more details or choose the ‘Go to the site’ option to be taken directly into the resource. Some print indexes for years that precede the online versions are still available in the Reference Collection in the Main Reading Room.

If you are not sure which product will be useful, try these general indexes:

Subject specific indexes are also available, for example:

Does the index or database contain full text?


Some indexes provide full text and allow you to save, print or email the article.

Example from Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT):

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Keep the citation details, i.e. journal title, year of publication, volume, issue, pagination and search the National Library Catalogue to determine if we hold copies of that journal in our collection, or Libraries Australia to search the catalogues of other libraries. Refer to the section above on finding known articles.

Example from Academic Search Premier of ‘citation only available’ record:

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