Search service

The redeveloped Libraries Australia Search was implemented in July 2014.   A number of new functionalities and improved features have been implemented, including:

  • An easy way to compare and report duplicate records
  • The ability to select unlimited number of favourite libraries
  • New and improved indexes and searching options
  • Additional sorting options
  • Layout changes and preview panels to make scanning results easier
  • Improved customisation and preferred settings

The following documents provide more information about the changes:

Libraries Australia Search (or 'LA Search') allows subscribers to perform simple and complex searches in the ANBD and a range of external databases. You can search for an item, find bibliographic details, locate a library in Australia that holds it, and follow a number of paths to obtain it.

Members can access LA Search 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by logging in from the top right-hand corner of any of these web pages.

Searches can be performed on any combination of authors, titles, control numbers, subject headings or keywords in author, subject, title and notes fields. They can be limited in many ways, e.g. by language, publication date, ISBN/ISSN, material type and where held.

LA Search supports Boolean operators using simple and nested logic, truncation, wildcard, relational and adjacency operators.

Search from one of 3 interfaces:

Basic Search

Basic Search allows you to enter a single search query similar to that of a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. You can:

  • search by a single keyword e.g. dolphins,
  • search by multiple keywords e.g. term natural will find “For the term of his natural life”,
  • search by phrase by enclosing search terms in inverted commas e.g. “Australian Light Horse”,
  • search by ISBN e.g. 0312585152,
  • find books by a certain publisher e.g. Shambhala.

In database terms, an Index is a field you can search on. When doing a Basic Search, the following indexes are searched:

  • Title Keyword
  • Name Keyword
  • Subject Keyword
  • Publisher Name Keyword
  • Notes Keyword
  • Standard Identifier indexes (i.e. ISBN, ISSN, ISMN, ANBD Number, etc.)
  • Control Numbers
  • RDA Types

Advanced Search

Advanced Search allows you to conduct more complex searches than Basic Search. You can:

  • select indexes using multiple drop-down menus,
  • select a ‘grouping’ for your search terms: all of these, any of these, as a phrase, starts with and exact match,
  • combine search terms using Boolean operators,
  • select Material Group Limits (as with Basic Search),
  • limit a search by year/s of publication,
  • Limit a search by date record was created,
  • limit a search by where items are held either by: Australian state/territory; or in/not in your library.

The following indexes are available from the drop-down menu in Advanced Search:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Subject
  • Any Keyword
  • ANBD No./OCLC No. etc
  • Classification
  • Publisher
  • Series
  • Notes
  • Related Periodical
  • Place Published
  • Library NUC Symbol
  • Language
  • Content, media, carrier type

Command Search

Command Search is the most powerful of the search interfaces. You can perform more specific and complex searches than Basic and Advanced Search. All ANBD indexes are available from the drop-down menus in Command Search. See Appendix 3 of the Search Manual for a complete list of indexes and their codes.

Command Search requires the use of SOLR query language as well as a familiarity with the codes used in the various database indexes.

The Query builder feature enables you to use Command Search if you are less familiar with SOLR and index code. See Appendix 3of the Search Manual for details of codes.

Command Search allows the use of adjacency and relational operators which cannot be used in the other 2 interfaces. See Chapter 11 and 12 of the Search Manual for more information on these operators.

Other ways of searching Libraries Australia

Did you know that you don’t need to use the LA Search interface to search Libraries Australia? You can also use:


You can limit your search by material type and/or categories of material in Basic and Advanced Search by clicking the check box next to a particular category. One or more limits can be selected.

Note: once selected, limits remain on for the session unless you change or clear them, i.e. when a new search is begun the limits previously selected will still be on for that search.

All limits are available when searching on National Bibliographic Database (ANBD). Limits are not available for most of the other databases. If you combine a search on National Bibliographic Database (ANBD) with another database, your limits will be restricted to those available in the other database.

See Appendix 1 of the Search Manual for details of indexes and codes used with Material Group Limits.

Browse Terms

Browse Terms enables you to browse a list of terms in a chosen database and select a term to use in a search query. To use this function select the Browse Terms tab at the top of any LA Search screen.

For more information on Browse Terms, see Chapter 13 of the Search Manual.

Keeping Searches & Records

There are several features that allow you to save and reuse your search queries and results, they include: Search History; Saved Records; and Saved Searches. These functions are covered in detail in Chapter 6 of the Search Manual.

Searching External Databases

In addition to National Bibliographic Database (ANBD), Libraries Australia provides access to many external databases. To search one of these databases, click on  at the bottom of the search screen.


Users can specify for each of their accounts the database/s to be selected by default when they login. The default database for all user accounts is initially National Bibliographic Database (ANBD). Please contact the Help Desk if you would like a different default database.

See Chapter 16 of the Search Manual for more information on searching other databases.

Libraries Australia Authorities

Libraries Australia Authorities allows you to search on all authorised headings added to the ANBD. When you search this database, your results will be authority rather than bibliographic records.

All the ANBD search rules apply.

OCLC WorldCat Authorities

OCLC WorldCat Authorities contains authority records for names, uniform titles and series created by the Library of Congress i.e. Library of Congress Subject Headings.

The search rules are different from searching the ANBD:

  • Search using Advanced or Command Search.
  • Use ? to truncate names or subject headings to find the exact form in the authority file e.g. shakespear? or spider?
  • Do not use diacritics in your search query as they are not displayed in any records.

Viewing Records

You can print, email, download and save records from any of these views.

See Appendix 2 of the Search Manual for a list of fields displayed in each view.

Brief View

Brief View is the view displayed on the Summary Results screen after a search is run. Brief view provides less detail than Full view and only displays the main fields i.e. title, author and place and date of publication.

Full View

Full View displays all available information about an item, including a list of libraries that hold it. In Full view you can use the hyper linked fields to find other information e.g. click on the author’s name or the subject field to find a list of other works by that author, or on that subject.

Libraries that hold an item are listed at the bottom of the record in Full view. The hyper links on the right take you to their entry in the Australian Libraries Gateway (ALG) and Australian InterLibrary Resource Sharing (ILRS) Directory. To look at a record in Full view click on its hyper linked title in the Summary Results screen.


Librarian’s view displays MARC field tags and includes all fields in the bibliographic record. To look at a record in Librarian’s view first go to the full view, then, click on MARC View link at the top of the screen.

Getting Records

You can print, email or download records in a variety of formats with or without their holdings for research purposes. Available formats are:

  • Brief record
  • Full record
  • MARC (Unicode)
  • MARC (MARC-8)
  • Citation

When emailing records you can send them to multiple email addresses by separating the email addresses with either a semi-colon (;) or comma (,).

Users can email and download records to import into bibliography management packages (e.g. EndNote or ProCite). Choose the citation format when exporting records for this purpose.

If users would like to obtain MARC records for cataloguing purposes, please see: Obtaining records from the ANBD for how to do so.

Getting Items

LA Search gives you options for obtaining a particular item via  (for Australian Library Collections and Australian Journal Articles only). The options for obtaining items are available from 4 tabs:


This tab contains links to digital objects and/or any online information about the item. You will not be able to access this tab if there are no online links to the item.


This tab allows users to Request a photocopy through your library. This option is only available with enhanced requesting activated. Libraries should contact the Help Desk if they would like Enhanced Requesting turned on.

If your library allows enhanced requesting to enable users to request interlibrary loans, the following option will display:

Copy - Request a copy via your library

The Request a copy via your library option generates a Copy Request Form so that you can place a request for a copy of the item through Interlibrary Loan.


This tab allows users to Request a loan through your library. These options however are only available with enhanced requesting activated. Libraries should contact the Help Desk if they would like Enhanced Requesting turned on.

If your library allows enhanced requesting to enable users to request interlibrary loans, the following option will display:

Loan - Request a loan via your library

The Request a loan via your library option generates a Loan Request Form so that you can place an Interlibrary Loan for this item.


Bookshops that may have this item – view list in Trove

This option will redirect you to the record for the selected item in Trove Discovery Service ( where you will be able to view a listing of bookshops and other suppliers who may hold this item by navigating to Get this edition and selecting the Buy tab. There are over 50 online bookshops listed in Trove. A direct search for the item can be carried out from some of bookshops. Australian booksellers (in alphabetical order) are listed before international booksellers.

Buy – Buy via Copies Direct

This option is only available for items held at the National Library of Australia and will only display if the item is held at the National Library.  Copies Direct is an online service that provides easy and inexpensive access to copies of articles, chapters of books, photographs, pictures, maps, manuscripts, music and sound recordings.

Buy – Buy via Infotrieve

Infotrieve is an integrated solution provider of outsourced research information services to corporations, academic institutions and professionals, supporting scientific, technical and medical research.  The company’s services include full-service document delivery.

Buy – Buy as LADD member via Infotrieve

This option is only available to members who are current registered users of the Libraries Australia Document Delivery service. If you wish to be able to request items from Infotrieve via Libraries Australia Document Delivery, you need to be registered with the same details on both Libraries Australia Document Delivery and Infotrieve’s system.

Your library must contact the Libraries Australia Help Desk in order to request registration with both LADD and Infotrieve to be able to request items from Infotrieve using this option.

Check Copyright Status

LA Search contains a function that provides clear copyright information to users via . This button activates an algorithm which generates information regarding copyright use and provisions by using the information contained in the bibliographic record of the item in the ANBD.

It is important to note that the calculation of copyright status will only ever be as accurate and complete as the data contained in the catalogue record.


Most users access Libraries Australia via a ‘shared account’ which means that settings apply to everyone using that account. Personalisation enables users, whether end users or library staff, to create a ‘personal account’ within the shared account.

Personal accounts allow you to:

  • choose your own login and password
  • save records and queries
  • create alerts
  • specify which search screen will display at login
  • customise default databases for searching
  • choose up to 3 libraries as ‘my libraries’

Activating Personal Accounts

Libraries who wish to activate personal accounts should contact the Help Desk with the ‘shared account’ they want it to be activated on. Once an account has been set up to allow the creation of personal accounts, anyone logging into the 'shared account' will see the options, 'Login to your personal account' or 'create one now'. Selecting 'create one now' will enable the user to create their own account for immediate use, choosing their own user-id and password. Any searching done by individual users will appear in Libraries Australia usage reports against these logins.

See Chapter 18 of the Search Manual for more information on personal accounts.

Deep Linking

Deep linking enables you to directly search a library OPAC or online bookshop through Libraries Australia. To find out more, including how to set your library or bookshop up with this function, see our deep linking page.