Starting your search

Start from the Library catalogue search page.

  • Keep it simple and just choose a few words. If you can, use distinctive words in the title or a combination of words from the title and the author’s surname.
  • You don’t need to use the dropdown options 'All Fields' or 'Add limits' – there are lots of options for narrowing your results later.
  • The catalogue will search for exactly what you type in. If you are having difficulty finding an item, check your spelling, then try again.

Too many results?

  • If you get a large number of search results, use the 'Narrow search' options (at the right of the page) to display only the items you’re interested in:
    • Select a particular format, subject, language or view online items.  
    • Select a decade to limit your results by publication or creation date.
    • You can add multiple formats as limits, for example books AND journals.
  • Look for the small icons in your search results list to see the format of each item.

Use subject headings

Once you’ve found the item you need, you can click on subject headings in the item’s Catalogue record to find other material related to that subject.

Browse

Although you can’t browse the Library’s shelves in person, you can use the Catalogue to browse by title, author, subject or Dewey number.

  • Select the 'Browse alphabetically' tab and type your search terms in the search box. If you are browsing for a person’s name, type in their surname first.

Find a copy in another library

To check if an item in our collection is held in a library closer to you, use the 'Find in other libraries' link.

How do I use the online catalogue to find the information I need?

Sometimes the best way to find what you need is to experiment. Keep it simple. I don’t need all the words in the title, just the distinctive ones. I’ll get lots of results at first then narrow them down. I can try a format or a date or look for online options. The subjects list gives me other useful books. I can click on one to see other library items on that subject. I can also browse online by title, author or subject.

Now I’ve found the book I want, what do I do? It’s at the National Library. The staff will deliver to the reading room for me to collect.

But is there a copy closer to home? The find other libraries link. They also have it right next door at my local library.

Want more? Find online resources, order copies, check out other library videos.

The National Library of Australia, a home for Australia’s stories.