How to search the Gateway
The Australian Libraries Gateway (ALG) offers uers a
range of options for accessing information about Australian libraries and cultural institutions:
If there is a library or cultural institution which you know to exist, but can't find on the Gateway - please
contact ALG Adminsitration to add a new entry.
- Use the 'Standard search' option to find a
library or cultural institution by name (including National Union Catalogue (NUC) symbol) and/or
library type. Enter a keyword or phrase you think is in the institution's name or
the name of its parent organisation - you can also try common acronyms or
former names. To limit your search, you can also select from the drop-down
lists of library types and or Australian state/territory.
For example: To
find all libraries in Australia with "environment" in their name, type
"environment" in the 'Name' field in 'Standard search' form, leave the
default search type as "Keyword", the location filter to 'All' and select the
[Search] button. To find all the "Environment Australia" libraries, select
"Phrase" search from the drop-down box and try limiting to the 'Government'
- You can elect to search the Gateway by keyword or
phrase - make a selection from the drop-down box on the
'Standard search' screen.
- Use the percentage or asterisk symbols (% or *) to
truncate a search and retrieve derivative names, for example, a search on the
term 'Aus%' or 'Aus*' retrieves matches on the terms 'Australia', 'Australian',
'Australias', 'Australasian', 'Austral' etc.
- Punctuation is stripped out of all ALG searches so,
for example, a phrase search on "attorney-general" returns the same result as a
search on "attorney general".
- You can search on library "Name" by keyword, phrase
or NUC symbol. You can also search by NUC symbol via the
- ALG includes libraries and cultural institutions in Australian locations as
well as institutions overseas. To find all institutions in Australia, set the
location option to 'Australia-wide' - the 'All' option will include 'Overseas' institutions.
searching is also available if you are more graphically oriented (and have
which makes it possible for you to search for Australian institutions by location.
You can search across the whole of Australia; within a specific Australian
state/territory; within suburban or regional areas within the
states/territories; as well as within the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth or
Brisbane metropolitan regions. Results from map searches are presented with an
enlarged map of the region selected with regional boundaries shown - by
clicking within these regions, you will be able to narrow your search further
and retrieve the corresponding subset of institutions.
For example: To find all the law
libraries in Sydney, use the 'Map
search' option. Select "Law" as the 'Library type' and "NSW" as the
'State/Territory' (click on the map of New South Wales or select it from the
drop-down box) then select the [Search] button. With the results of your
search, there will be a full map of New South Wales - click on the "Sydney"
region. You could then choose to narrow your search further to only those law
libraries in, for example, "Inner Sydney".
Map searching within ALG is based on the 65
Australian Bureau of Statistics
statistical divisions - including both census collection districts and local
- You will need a
browser to use the ALG maps for searching.
- Map searches rely on postcode information. Libraries and cultural institutions
have been matched to the ABS divisions according to postcode and because there
is some overlap between statistical division boundaries and postal regions, a
small number of institutions may be allocated to more than one region.
- Australian libraries and cultural institutions which are 'Overseas' are not
accessible via the 'Map search'
option - use the 'Standard
search' or 'Advanced
search' options to find these. 'Overseas' institutions in the database include
those for Australian diplomatic missions and consuls abroad, as well as other
special Australian institutions overseas. Institutions on the Australian island
territories (eg the Antarctic, Norfolk Island) are accessible in an
'Australia-wide' search but not via the maps.
- Every library and cultural institution within the Australian Libraries Gateway
has been assigned at least one of the following 23 library "types". If you
limit your search to one of these types but don't find a particular library,
try to think which other category the library may have assigned itself.
Alternatively, try searching by name and/or location across 'All' library
- Cultural organisation
- Local/Family history
- Joint use
- School (K-12)
- Trove Contributor
- Use 'Advanced search' to find for
institutions of more than one type at a time.
- Libraries and cultural institutions may use more than one type to describe their organisation.
- Many institutions are 'Joint use' or multi-type, for
example, some 'Health/Medical' institutions are 'Special' and affiliated with
universities or State/Federal Government departments, some colleges are Defence
colleges, and in remote areas libraries are often used by the general public as
well as schools.
- The 'Advanced search' options
within ALG enable users to also:
- keyword or phrase search within library or
cultural institution name, subject collecting and general comments, and/or
street/postal address fields of Gateway entry; and
- search by National Union Catalogue (NUC) symbol.
- The advanced search also allows you to limit your
search to institutions:
- by 'type' - one or more;
- which contribute to the
National Bibliographic Database
- with a website;
- with an online catalogue (ie Web or telnet catalogue)
or image collection;
- to institutions with digitisation projects underway;
- with policy
documents available online (ie collection development policy, Internet
public use policy, strategic plan);
- with an online reference enquiry service, or staff
- with an online "news" service or virtual tour; and/or
- with a 'friends' organisation.
- Searching for more than one library type (eg
University and Health/Medical) will return all 'University' institutions
and 'Health/Medical' institutions matching your search query - not just the
institutions which are flagged 'University' as well as 'Health/Medical'.
- NUC symbols are unique, alphabetic codes used for the
identification of libraries and cultural institutions throughout Australia (as well as some areas of the
Pacific) and form an integral part of library management and document supply
systems. Searching by NUC symbol is the quickest search method but does rely on
you knowing the exact symbol, including any punctuation. Because many institutions
in Australia use NUC symbols, they have been included in the Australian
Libraries Gateway. To check or establish an institution's NUC symbol, try the
Inter-Library Resource Sharing (ILRS) Directory.
- Libraries and cultural institutions can record
detailed subject information about their colletions in the Australian
Libraries Gateway. This enables users to
search the Gateway for
collections by subject area and find out which Australian institutions are
collecting to what level in an area of interest. In August 1999, approximately
150 libraries and cultural institutions (including the National Library, State, university and special
libraries) had included information about their subject collecting levels in
To 'Search collections by
subject', browse and select one of the
ALG subject headings. You can
further refine your subject search by selecting a 'Library type' from the
drop-down box as well as restricting your search to a specific location (eg a
particular state/territory). If you want to search for collections in regional
Australian (ie more deeply than just state/territory), click on the map of
Australia or follow the textual link to the
maps to start your
broad subject search. Select a subject from the drop-down list - you can limit
your search by selecting a 'Library type' (eg university, special) and/or an
individual state/territory - then submit the search with the 'Search' button.
Once the search is complete, you will be presented with
a map of the area searched (ie all of Australia or an individual
state/territory) with the results in a table below. This table class="content" will give you a
good overview of the number of libraries and cultural institutions in the region who have identified
themselves as having collections relevant to your search request. The institutions
will be ranked in descending order of collecting strength (definitions of the collecting levels are
available) - the highest level being 'Comprehensive', the lowest, 'Nothing in
If there is more than one institution in your result set (if
there is only one, it's entry will simply be displayed), this second map will
enable you to search further within the region (ie at the regional level within
the state/territory) - click on the map or use the drop-down options to narrow
the search further regionally. The other option you will have is to make your
search more specific within the subject area - make a selection from the
drop-down box at the top of the screen or leave the default.
From a search of all institutions in New South Wales on the broad subject of
'Agriculture', you may decide to then limit the search to just collections
relating to 'Plant Disease & Pests' held by libraries in the 'Far West'.
Once you submit this second search, a sub-set of institutions will be displayed.
- If there are no institutions with collections in the
subject or selected region, you will be advised that "No libraries marched your
search - please try another'. Try searching at a broader level (ie broadest
subject, larger geographic area).
For more detailed information about any of the libraries or cultural institutions
listed in a summary results table,
follow the red link to 'More Details' to the
full directory details of a library or cultural institution
Gateway entry. These entries include links to summary collecting level
information from the broad subjects - look for 'Subject Collecting Levels:' and
'Highlights of the collection:' for any comments which may have been provided
by the institution.
Last modified: January 07 2013.