Your Library Online

A companion research guide for the Your Library Online webinar

Explore our collections

State Library Victoria is our State’s reference and research library. We hold extensive resources on all areas of world knowledge and we are the archive of Victoria’s published history. We have a substantial digitising program and we also subscribe to a wide range of online books, journals, newspapers and more.
Our digitised items will appear in the catalogue. There are a number of ways to access these collections and explore a vast array of digital images. The easiest way it to explore the Search & Discover menu from the homepage.
In this page of the guide we will look at how to browse the collection by format, view our popular digitised collections, and search our collection of copyright-free images:
Search and Discover menu on the SLV homepage

Browse collection by format

You can browse our collections by format via the Search & Discover menu.

Our historical collections date back to 1854, and include photographs, personal manuscripts & diaries, maps, magazines, newspapers, comics, theatre programs and much, much more. Not sure what we hold? Try exploring our collections by format:

Screenshot of explore collections by format webpage

Here you will find pages on:

Audiovisual material Journals & magazines Newspapers
Books Manuscripts, letters & diaries Pictures
Ephemera Maps Realia
Eresources Music scores & sheet music Zines, comics & graphic novels

Many of these formats will include digitised items which can be accessed from home.

Ephemera and realia? Demystifying library terms

Ephemera are ephemeral items that are designed to be temporary in nature. For instance, posters, junk mail, menus, catalogues, press clippings, calendars, invitations, and political flyers, badges and stickers. The Library collects many of these items, with a focus on Victoria and Victorians. Most of our ephemera collections have been donated by members of the public. We frequently ask for ephemera donations, particularly during elections and other major events. We have a particularly strong collection of political ephemera. You can see a selection of our digitised ephemera collection in this catalogue search.

Realia is library-speak for objects, mementos, and artifacts. Generally speaking, our Realia items are not retrieved for viewing, so our digitised images of these items are incredibly valuable. You can see a selection of our digitised realia collection in this catalogue search.

Click on the other format names above to learn more about each category.

Popular digitised collections

Since 1993 we have digitised more than 770,000 Library items. Many of these are pictorial in nature, but some are digitised documents and journals. You can find our most popular of these collections in our Popular Digitised Collections page, available via the Search & Discover menu.

Screenshot of selection from Popular Digitised Collections webpage

Here you can find an incredibly interesting assortment of collections, including the Football Record, the Port Phillip Papers, the Records of Coles Myer, the Victorian Groundwater Records, and the ever-popular Sands & McDougall directories - just to name a few!


Copyright-free images

The Library has digitised hundreds of thousands of pictures from our pictures collection, with over 170,000 of them available on our website. Select Copyright-free image search from our Search & Discover menu.

Screenshot from SLV website of copyright-free image search homepage

Use the search bar, or browse through some of our topics. You'll find all kinds of things here, including postcards from regional centres, architectural drawings, or even cat photos!

All of the pictures in the Digital Image Pool are out of copyright, and can be downloaded and used as you desire. Download them in high-resultion TIFF format for use in a publication, or to print it out and put it on your wall. 

If using our collection items in pulications, remember to cite appropriately, even if they are out of copyright.


Our Stories page features curiosities, treasures and the latest inspiring stories from our community and inside the Library.

Watch video series about our collections:

SLV Blog

Check out our SLV Blog for spotlights on digitised collections and much, much more!

Some recent blogs highlighting digitised material (click the image to be taken to the blog):

Link to Blog "Your local milk bar"

Link to blog "Pram Factort theatre posters and the Australian Performance Group"

Link to blog "Postcards from the beach"

Link to blog "Cheap holiday fares...advertising posters of the Victorian Railways"

Or of course keep an eye out on our Blog page for more!