Your Library Online

A companion research guide for the Your Library Online webinar

Where to begin

The catalogue is the gateway to our collections. You can search from any State Library Victoria webpage or the SEARCH & DISCOVER menu (simple and advanced search).

Searching the catalogue

If you have an author, title or just 2 or 3 keywords describing the information you need, type them in to the Search box. You can choose a specific collection from the dropdown menu and add filters, or hit 'Search' to find everything in the library. You'll have options to refine your search later.

Refine your results

Once you've done a search you will see a list of all matching titles. Use Refine results by to narrow down your results. You can include or exclude subjects, dates, formats and more.

Advanced search

Advanced search has a number of dropdown options allowing you to search specific parts of the record, to specify particular formats, and to narrow to a publication year or range of years. You can add additional lines to further specify different parts of the record, for example title and author.

Advanced search offers options for:

  • formats – e.g. books / ebooks / journals
  • catalogue details – e.g. title / author / subject / publisher / place newspaper published
  • date range – be aware that some material may have no clear date (e.g. images), and serials often have very long runs of publication dates.

Search tips

Try and balance your search: a specific search will result in more relevant but fewer results. In general it's a good idea start with a broad search and then refine if necessary. Some handy options:

  • Use ? for variable spelling within a word – for example globali?ation which will search for globalization or globalisation
  • Use * for variable endings – for example cultur* to find culture, cultured, cultural, culturally etc. or 994.5* to get all call numbers starting with 994.5
  • Two search terms will retrieve records with both words – For example economic rationalism will only retrieve records containing both those terms. Economic OR rationalism will return records containing either or both terms
  • To search for an exact phrase or two words together use quotation marks. For example “Winston Churchill” or “climate change”.

Understanding your results

Each item has a catalogue record with information about the creator, publication, size and broadly what subject it is concerned with, as well as a location code and number. Click on the title for more details.

Availability and ordering

The catalogue record will indicate how to access the item. If the Available statement reads:

  • Find on shelf - go to the call number location in the relevant reading room and find the book on the shelf.
  • Request from onsite storage - sign in using your Library member number and your surname to order. We'll deliver the book to the Collection Point.
  • Phone - order Heritage of Offsite Collections by speaking with Library staff, in person or by phone.

What's in our Reading Rooms?

Redmond Barry Reading Room holds our General Non-Fiction Collection with items containing information on a vast range of subjects. 

La Trobe Reading Room (Dome) holds the Australiana Collection, with items about Australia's history, geography, biography and much more.

Ian Potter Queen's Hall Reading Room holds the Australian and Victorian Literature Collection, with items that comprise literature, poetry, drama.

Chess sets and the chess collection are in The Ian Potter Queen's Hall mezzanine (Level 3).

Newspapers & Family History Reading Room is one of the Library's most used research space. Here you can access the Library's Family Collection of print titles, microfiche and microfilm.

The open access newspaper collection includes recent print newspapers and microfilm covering most Victorian titles

Arts Reading Room is a quiet space where you can watch a DVD, listen to a CD, browse the latest cultural magazines or choose a title from the arts book collection.