Research Guides

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

  • Introduction 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...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • If you are researching law for the first time, you may find it worthwhile reading an overview of  Australia's Legal System. In particular, the section on the courts will assist in searching case law on the Internet. Main sites (AUSTLII) - Australasian Legal Information Institute - legislation and...
  • 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
  • General These are general sites for researching the Australian government on the Internet and provide a starting place for researchers in this field. They provide a diverse range of information on Australian government resources as well as providing links to other useful sites. Government in...
  • 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
  • Introduction The National Library has a large collection of Australian and overseas newspapers in print, microform and electronic formats. This guide contains a select listing of print and microform indexes that can assist you with access to these newspapers. Items that are available in electronic...
  • Introduction Ship and passenger records are found throughout the National Library in books, journals, newspapers, manuscripts, microform, pictures, maps and electronic media. Material includes information on ships, voyages, shipping companies, shipping and passenger lists and registers, shipwrecks...
  • Introduction 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...
    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
  • 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 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: Ebooks, electronic books, digital books, digitized books
  • 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 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
  • Introduction The Library holds a large collection relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. This guide contains selected print works only. Catalogue search tips To search for works about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, select the 'Browse alphabetically' option, then '...
  • Introduction 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...
    Topics: Genealogy
  • Introduction A large proportion of the census information held at the National Library is kept in microform format. Further information on how to find these items can be found in Family History Sources in the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room. This guide contains selected print works only....
  • Introduction The Library holds many printed company directories, annual reports and histories. This guide contains selected print works only. Catalogue Search Tips To search for works about an individual company, select the Browse subjects option and enter the company’s name.  Examples of...
  • Introduction The Library holds a large range of primary and secondary resources relating to the history of Australia. This guide contains selected print works only. Catalogue search tips To search for general works about Australian history, select the 'Browse alphabetically' option, then '...
  • These are selected sites for researching Australian history on the Internet and provide a starting place for researchers in this field. They provide a diverse range of information on Australian history resources as well as providing links to other useful sites. General Ancient heritage, modern...
  • 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
  • If you are researching law for the first time, you may find it worthwhile reading an overview of  Australia's Legal System. In particular, the section on the courts will assist in searching case law on the Internet. Main sites (AUSTLII) - Australasian Legal Information Institute - legislation and...
  • 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
  • Introduction The Library holds a large collection of material relating to Australian politics and government. This guide contains selected print works only. For information on how to access Commonwealth and State electoral rolls at the Library, see Australian Electoral Rolls: Print Resources at...
  • General These are general sites for researching the Australian government on the Internet and provide a starting place for researchers in this field. They provide a diverse range of information on Australian government resources as well as providing links to other useful sites. Government in...
  • These science and technology sites on the Internet provide a starting place for researchers in this field.  They provide a diverse range of information on Australian science and technology resources as well as providing links to other useful sites. General Australian Research in Trove - provides...
  • 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
  • This guide deals only with the publications and Internet sites for the House of Commons and House of Lords. For information on the Parliaments and Assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland or other regional assemblies, see the Devolved Parliaments and Assemblies website. The call numbers...
  • Introduction 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...
  • 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: Ebooks, electronic books, digital books, digitized books
  • 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
  • Introduction The National Library holds law reports published in Australia from 1825. Historical sets of law reports are also held for many overseas countries. Overseas law reports are currently collected mainly from the Asia/Pacific region. International law is represented through the reports of...
  • Introduction The League of Nations existed from 1919 to 1946.  The League oversaw the Permanent Court of Justice, and several other agencies and commissions were created such as the Health Organization, International Labour Organization, and Permanent Mandates Commission.  The Library’s collection...
  • Introduction The National Library has a large collection of Australian and overseas newspapers in print, microform and electronic formats. This guide contains a select listing of print and microform indexes that can assist you with access to these newspapers. Items that are available in electronic...
  • 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 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
  • Introduction Ship and passenger records are found throughout the National Library in books, journals, newspapers, manuscripts, microform, pictures, maps and electronic media. Material includes information on ships, voyages, shipping companies, shipping and passenger lists and registers, shipwrecks...
  • 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
  • Introduction Theses completed for higher research degrees (PhD, Masters or Honours) form an important body of original research. The Library does not receive a copy of every thesis presented to an Australian university, but it does have a selection and has several indexes to assist in locating...
  • Introduction The United Nations (UN) was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today nearly every country in the world belongs to the UN, and current membership totals 193 countries (as of July 3 2006...
  • The National Library receives major U.S. government documents including annual reports, serials and Congressional publications. These documents are collectively known as the SUDOC (U.S. Superintendent of Documents) Collection. This guide provides information on how to access this large collection,...