Our guides contain key resources on selected subjects that will help get you started on your research.

About the guides

Use our guides to explore the depths of our rich collections. You will find research advice, key resources, featured collection items, selected websites and research case studies.

We also have a number of other related resources to assist you in your research, including:

Browse the Research Guides

  • This guide to Australian birth, death and marriage (BDM) records provides: Links to State and Territory Registry offices and to [their] freely accessible online indexes, where available Links to Library networked BDM indexes (on eResources) Links to Library subscription resources (for access within...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • Electoral rolls list people who are registered to vote at federal, state, territory and local government elections and referenda. Before Federation and for some years afterwards, there were separate rolls for Commonwealth and for state elections. The Commonwealth Electoral Commission now produces...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • How do you search the catalogue for Australian literature? Quick search Use the Catalogue standard search  to find titles, authors or subjects.  If you get too many results, use the Narrow search options (at the right of the page) to display only the items you’re interested in If you need to widen...
    Topics: Literature
  • Start with what you know Think about the person you are researching. Do you know: their full name and other names they were known by? their life dates - are they alive or dead? the names of organisiations or groups they belonged to? their nationality or country of residence? any significant...
    Topics: Biography
  • What is a gazette? A gazette is an official publication for the purpose of notifying the actions and decisions of the government. All Australian governments (Commonwealth, State and Territory) publish official gazettes. Notices published in government gazettes cover all aspects of government...
    Topics: Government Publications, Law & Politics, Communications & Media
  • Historic aerial photography allows researchers to view a landscape, town or even a building from the air, as it was at a particular point in time. The Library holds a national series of imagery of Australia, collected between 1928 and 1988. All Australian States and major regions are represented in...
    Topics: Geography and Mapping
  • This guide to Australian birth, death and marriage (BDM) records provides: Links to State and Territory Registry offices and to [their] freely accessible online indexes, where available Links to Library networked BDM indexes (on eResources) Links to Library subscription resources (for access within...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • The National Library has a large collection of cemetery records for regions throughout Australia. Many records are kept on microfiche and are listed in the Family History Sources in the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room guide. Other records are listed on the catalogue and can be found using...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • The National Library of Australia provides access to or holds within its collections a wide range of resources and material relating to Australian companies.  These include: company histories directories annual reports biographies interviews with prominent business men and women ephemera These...
    Topics: Business & Commerce, Companies
  • Electoral rolls list people who are registered to vote at federal, state, territory and local government elections and referenda. Before Federation and for some years afterwards, there were separate rolls for Commonwealth and for state elections. The Commonwealth Electoral Commission now produces...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • The Australian Joint Copying Project or AJCP is a collection of historical material relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific dating from 1560 to 1984. The material has been drawn from records held in the United Kingdom and microfilmed. The microfilms in the collection are divided into two...
    Topics: Genealogy, History, Law & Politics, Military History, Pacific Studies
  • How do you search the catalogue for Australian literature? Quick search Use the Catalogue standard search  to find titles, authors or subjects.  If you get too many results, use the Narrow search options (at the right of the page) to display only the items you’re interested in If you need to widen...
    Topics: Literature
  • The Library holds a range of Australian property mapping useful to family historians and others looking for details of their ancestor’s landholdings or movements at a given time.  This guide includes details of how to find and use: Pastoral or squatting maps Parish and county maps Real estate or...
    Topics: Genealogy, Geography and Mapping
  • What is a topographic map? A topographic map provides a visual reference to the layout of a landscape.  It represents the natural and made environment using a system of measurement (scale), grid references and symbols.  It can be used to explore the sense of a place and its relationships to other...
    Topics: Geography and Mapping
  • Start with what you know Think about the person you are researching. Do you know: their full name and other names they were known by? their life dates - are they alive or dead? the names of organisiations or groups they belonged to? their nationality or country of residence? any significant...
    Topics: Biography
  • The Library holds a large international collection of maps that supports family history research. This guide suggests map resources to try when researching the British or Irish origins of your family.  The guide includes details of how to find and use: Gazetteers Ordnance Survey maps of Britain and...
    Topics: Genealogy, Geography and Mapping
  • British Parliamentary publications are valuable primary sources for research into British and dominion history, including Australia. The Library has significant holdings of published British sources. These include: Parliamentary Papers and Debates, including online access (for National Library card...
    Topics: Government Publications; Law; Politics and Government
  • The Library provides access to thousands of ebooks through its website, catalogue and eResources service. These include our own publications and digitised historical books from our collections as well as subscriptions to collections such as Chinese eResources, Early English Books Online and Ebsco...
    Topics: Bibliographic tools, Book trade, Literature, Multidisciplinary
  • The Library's collections offer a wealth of resources to the Australian family historian. Many family history sources are now available electronically. Check our eResources for titles under the subject of Genealogy. Here, you can find links to our major subscription services, networked family...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • The National Library of Australia has extensive holdings of material concerning Australia's involvement in the First World War.  These cover all formats, including: printed works newspapers manuscripts pictorial oral history realia online This guide aims to introduce researchers to key collections...
    Topics: History, Military History
  • What is a gazette? A gazette is an official publication for the purpose of notifying the actions and decisions of the government. All Australian governments (Commonwealth, State and Territory) publish official gazettes. Notices published in government gazettes cover all aspects of government...
    Topics: Government Publications, Law & Politics, Communications & Media
  • In 2011 the combined records of Indian Indentured Labourers of Fiji, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago were placed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Amongst others these included the Indian Emigration Passes to Fiji for the period 1879 to 1916. These records comprise over 60,000...
    Topics: Genealogy, Asia Pacific
  • Our newspaper collections include digitised historic and modern newspapers accessible online, as well as newspapers in microform and paper formats. We collect: Australian newspapers—capital city dailies, major regional city newspapers, a range of other country town newspapers, newspapers published...
    Topics: Newspapers & media
  • The National Library holds mapping not only for Australia, but for every country and ocean in the world and also for all the planets. These maps may be standard topographic maps (showing terrain features), or may cover one or more themes, such as tourist information, roads, railways, geology,...
    Topics: Geography and Mapping
  • The Library's Pacific Collections webpage provides a general description of the Pacific-related materials held in our collections and highlights some of our treasures in this area. The Library's catalogue can be searched to locate other materials on the Pacific Island Region. Select Browse Subjects...
    Topics: Asia Pacific, Pacific Studies
  • What information do you need? Standards can be identified in three main ways: Standard number,  e.g. AS/NZS 2032: 2006 (prefix + number: year) Standard title, e.g. Installation of PVC pipe systems Keyword: e.g. PVC pipe You only need to know one of these elements to start planning your search....
    Topics: Standards, Science & Technology
  • The Macquarie Dictionary defines statistics as the 'science which deals with the collection, classification, and use of numerical facts or data.' It may be necessary to obtain statistical data to support or illustrate your research. This guide is intended to help you with this. What the Library...
    Topics: Census and Demography, History, Social Sciences, Statistics
  • United States Congressional publications are of interest as primary sources for students of United States history for current United States foreign and economic policy other public affairs issues of interest to other countries (US foreign policy) Background to the National Library collection The...
    Topics: Law & Politics; Government Publications; Politics and Government
  • Historic aerial photography allows researchers to view a landscape, town or even a building from the air, as it was at a particular point in time. The Library holds a national series of imagery of Australia, collected between 1928 and 1988. All Australian States and major regions are represented in...
    Topics: Geography and Mapping
  • This guide to Australian birth, death and marriage (BDM) records provides: Links to State and Territory Registry offices and to [their] freely accessible online indexes, where available Links to Library networked BDM indexes (on eResources) Links to Library subscription resources (for access within...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • The National Library has a large collection of cemetery records for regions throughout Australia. Many records are kept on microfiche and are listed in the Family History Sources in the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room guide. Other records are listed on the catalogue and can be found using...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • The National Library of Australia provides access to or holds within its collections a wide range of resources and material relating to Australian companies.  These include: company histories directories annual reports biographies interviews with prominent business men and women ephemera These...
    Topics: Business & Commerce, Companies
  • Electoral rolls list people who are registered to vote at federal, state, territory and local government elections and referenda. Before Federation and for some years afterwards, there were separate rolls for Commonwealth and for state elections. The Commonwealth Electoral Commission now produces...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • The National Library's Manuscripts collection contains original written records relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their languages. These records provide a glimpse of the approximately 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages of Australia. This guide has been...
    Topics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Language, Manuscripts
  • The Australian Joint Copying Project or AJCP is a collection of historical material relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific dating from 1560 to 1984. The material has been drawn from records held in the United Kingdom and microfilmed. The microfilms in the collection are divided into two...
    Topics: Genealogy, History, Law & Politics, Military History, Pacific Studies
  • How do you search the catalogue for Australian literature? Quick search Use the Catalogue standard search  to find titles, authors or subjects.  If you get too many results, use the Narrow search options (at the right of the page) to display only the items you’re interested in If you need to widen...
    Topics: Literature
  • The Library holds a range of Australian property mapping useful to family historians and others looking for details of their ancestor’s landholdings or movements at a given time.  This guide includes details of how to find and use: Pastoral or squatting maps Parish and county maps Real estate or...
    Topics: Genealogy, Geography and Mapping
  • Introduction Government in Australia is three-tiered: Commonwealth (or Federal), State and Local. You can find information about how government works in Australia through a number of official websites, including Parliament of Australia, including The Australian system of government Australia.gov.au...
    Topics: Politics and Government
  • What is a topographic map? A topographic map provides a visual reference to the layout of a landscape.  It represents the natural and made environment using a system of measurement (scale), grid references and symbols.  It can be used to explore the sense of a place and its relationships to other...
    Topics: Geography and Mapping
  • Start with what you know Think about the person you are researching. Do you know: their full name and other names they were known by? their life dates - are they alive or dead? the names of organisiations or groups they belonged to? their nationality or country of residence? any significant...
    Topics: Biography
  • The Library holds a large international collection of maps that supports family history research. This guide suggests map resources to try when researching the British or Irish origins of your family.  The guide includes details of how to find and use: Gazetteers Ordnance Survey maps of Britain and...
    Topics: Genealogy, Geography and Mapping
  • British Parliamentary publications are valuable primary sources for research into British and dominion history, including Australia. The Library has significant holdings of published British sources. These include: Parliamentary Papers and Debates, including online access (for National Library card...
    Topics: Government Publications; Law; Politics and Government
  • The Library provides access to thousands of ebooks through its website, catalogue and eResources service. These include our own publications and digitised historical books from our collections as well as subscriptions to collections such as Chinese eResources, Early English Books Online and Ebsco...
    Topics: Bibliographic tools, Book trade, Literature, Multidisciplinary
  • The Library's collections offer a wealth of resources to the Australian family historian. Many family history sources are now available electronically. Check our eResources for titles under the subject of Genealogy. Here, you can find links to our major subscription services, networked family...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • The National Library of Australia has extensive holdings of material concerning Australia's involvement in the First World War.  These cover all formats, including: printed works newspapers manuscripts pictorial oral history realia online This guide aims to introduce researchers to key collections...
    Topics: History, Military History
  • What is a gazette? A gazette is an official publication for the purpose of notifying the actions and decisions of the government. All Australian governments (Commonwealth, State and Territory) publish official gazettes. Notices published in government gazettes cover all aspects of government...
    Topics: Government Publications, Law & Politics, Communications & Media
  • In 2011 the combined records of Indian Indentured Labourers of Fiji, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago were placed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Amongst others these included the Indian Emigration Passes to Fiji for the period 1879 to 1916. These records comprise over 60,000...
    Topics: Genealogy, Asia Pacific
  • Our newspaper collections include digitised historic and modern newspapers accessible online, as well as newspapers in microform and paper formats. We collect: Australian newspapers—capital city dailies, major regional city newspapers, a range of other country town newspapers, newspapers published...
    Topics: Newspapers & media
  • The National Library holds mapping not only for Australia, but for every country and ocean in the world and also for all the planets. These maps may be standard topographic maps (showing terrain features), or may cover one or more themes, such as tourist information, roads, railways, geology,...
    Topics: Geography and Mapping
  • The Library's Pacific Collections webpage provides a general description of the Pacific-related materials held in our collections and highlights some of our treasures in this area. The Library's catalogue can be searched to locate other materials on the Pacific Island Region. Select Browse Subjects...
    Topics: Asia Pacific, Pacific Studies
  • What information do you need? Standards can be identified in three main ways: Standard number,  e.g. AS/NZS 2032: 2006 (prefix + number: year) Standard title, e.g. Installation of PVC pipe systems Keyword: e.g. PVC pipe You only need to know one of these elements to start planning your search....
    Topics: Standards, Science & Technology
  • The Macquarie Dictionary defines statistics as the 'science which deals with the collection, classification, and use of numerical facts or data.' It may be necessary to obtain statistical data to support or illustrate your research. This guide is intended to help you with this. What the Library...
    Topics: Census and Demography, History, Social Sciences, Statistics
  • United States Congressional publications are of interest as primary sources for students of United States history for current United States foreign and economic policy other public affairs issues of interest to other countries (US foreign policy) Background to the National Library collection The...
    Topics: Law & Politics; Government Publications; Politics and Government