This guide identifies resources relevant to the VCE History - Revolutions units
State Library Victoria is the major public research library in Victoria. We collect resources widely over all subject areas. We aim to collect and preserve a copy of every item published in Victoria.
We collect at different levels in different subjects taking into account strengths of other Victorian libraries. We subscribe to many online journals and newspapers, and ebooks. For more about our collection policies see our Collection & resources development policy.
Registering as a Library user
You don't need to register to use the internet, or to access the public reading rooms and exhibitions. However the Library collection is very large and 90% of our items are in closed storage areas.
If you wish to order any items from storage you will need to register with the Library. If you live in Victoria you can also access our online subscriptions using your Library membership barcode.
A lot of full text material is available through the Library catalogue and via our subscription databases. This includes material that the Library has digitised from our collections and content which the Library purchases access to, such as journals, newspapers and ebooks.
As an Australian resident you are also entitled to join the National Library of Australia and access their subscription databases. While the National Library and our Library have many online resources in common they will have some databases we don't subscribe to.
Use our guides for research assistance across a range of subjects.
The guides link to the best resources, regardless of where they are held, and focus particularly on online resources. We also have an SLVLearning channel with videos on different aspects of using the Library.
For more on locating and using information and developing research skills, see these online courses. You can work through each module or dip in and out for the information you need.
Primary & secondary sources
Primary sources are first hand or eye witness accounts of events. Some may have been published, others may only be in manuscript form (unpublished).
These may be accounts written from the author's memories, or diaries written as events occurred.
Memoirs are more considered and have the benefit of hindsight.
Diaries are immediate and give instant impressions, often they are more personal and provide detail that a later memoir, written for publication, may not have. Newspapers often report events quoting eye witness accounts or views.
Secondary sources are written after events and rely on a range of primary and other secondary sources. These have the advantage of considering a wide range of sources to explain issues and causes of events. Bibliographies in secondary sources can be a way of locating primary sources.
See our Citation management guide for advice on recording and presenting your sources.
Copyright & research
Copyright is designed to protect intellectual property. Copyright laws are complex and vary depending on the type of material. They also vary from country to country. Researchers can quote limited amounts from someone else's work so long as it is correctly acknowledged. Click on the Research or Study help sheet from the Australian Copyright Council for more detail.
If you are looking for any item held by the Library, either a physical print item or a digital online item, search our catalogue. This can be done from any page of our website using the search box at the top of the page.
There are a range of options to help you narrow your search. See the box below for an explanation of each.
When you click the search button you will be taken to a list of results on our Library catalogue. You can then further narrow your search using the options at left of the screen.
See also our catalogue help pages.
The Locations tab gives more information about holdings of an item. This is particularly useful for print journals. The catalogue record shows the whole period of publication for a journal, while the Locations tab shows the issues the Library holds. We won't necessarily hold all issues of a journal. Check locations to see which issues we hold.
See also our catalogue help pages.
When you find a book on the catalogue and click the Locations tab you can see if there are additional copies of the item and where they are located in the Library.
See also our catalogue help pages.
Requests of items from onsite storage are available to anyone registered with the Library.
You can register at any desk in the Library or online. Sign in from any page of the website or from within the Library catalogue.
Once signed in click on the Request tab for the item you wish to look at and then choose either retrieval the same day or nominate another day when you wish to look at the book.
Note: books are retrieved between 10:00am and 5:30pm each day. They remain available for collection for 7 days.
The State Library is not a lending library, so items are available for use within the Library.
See also our catalogue help pages.
When your find an item on the catalogue, how do you get it?
It is important to register as a Library user in case you need to order a book from storage
Each catalogue record will have an availability statement.
Library items will either be:
On the shelf
This means the item is on one of the Library's open access reading rooms
These items can be ordered online using your Library registration card. Books will be delivered to the collection point in the Information Centre between 10.00am and 5.30 pm every day. Retrieval takes about 20-30 minutes and items remain on the shelves for up to 7 days.
In offsite storage or part of Heritage collections
These need to be ordered by Library staff so you can phone for an order or see staff at any desk.
If an item is offsite and is ordered prior to 5:30pm it will normally be available from 10:00am the next week day.
For items in our Heritage Collections such as rare Books, manuscripts or Pictures, the item may be available the same day depending on the types and location of the item. Staff can advise when the order is made.
This indicates that there is some online content. For example an online journal, an image, and ebook, a finding aid.
This message can indicate that a book is in use by another patron or is missing from the Library collection, or is being repaired.
For further explanation see our catalogue help pages.
See our guide Ebooks : using our ebook collection
Search for articles across many full text databases though the Library catalogue. From the dropdown box just click on the Articles option and enter keywords to search.
Use the options at left to refine your search.
The Library subscribes to many databases of journal, newspapers and ebooks. Much of the content can be searched concurrently using the Article search option from the search box on any page of our website. However searching individual databases can be an effective way of finding information too.
The advantage of searching individual databases is that the search methods and data is consistent across the database. This allows a more accurate search and more consistent and relevant results. The main issue with searching individual databases is to be aware of the range and breadth of material likely to be available via a specific database.
Look at the index list of databases and check the descriptions to see what the range of content is for each database. While strongest content is material from the last 20 years, increasingly databases are developing more extensive archives.
From our menu, click More to see all our databases in that subject area.
The More link takes you to a screen listing our relevant databases and research guides. The page includes options for locating databases by name or on different subjects
Databases from different companies look and operate differently but all will have a search box and similar search options. Many of them offer sophisticated search options. See this example from the very large Proquest database. Databases will always have a help option, usually at top right of the screen.
Right click to open a larger version of this image in a separate window.
Citations give details of where an article or a piece of information was published. Many online databases contain the full text of articles that are cited, but sometimes only the citation, and not the full text, is available.
If there is only a citation available through our databases, you can search our Library catalogue to see if we hold the publication containing the article. You can also search the Trove database which includes most holdings at most libraries around Australia.
This is an example of a citation
See also our guide to citation management.
The terms in the drop down box next to the search box on our catalogue can be a little confusing. Here is an explanation of each.
Everything except articles: searching with this will include any item we hold in the Library, either online or a physical item. However it won't search content within that item. So it won't search for articles within journal issues or chapters within books
Articles: using the 'Artices' option allows a simultaneous search across many of the Library's subscription databases for journal, magazine and newspaper articles.
To access the articles outside the Library you need to be a Victorian resident registered with the Library.
Books etc: this limits your search to printed items both physical and online. Includes journals, scores, ebooks. Images, manuscripts, multimedia etc. will not be included in search results limited to Books etc
eBooks: restrict your search to books available to be read online or downloaded for a period of 1-7 days.
Journals & newspaper titles: limited to newspapers and journals (including ejournal titles). To search for articles within journals, use the Articles option.
Pictures & photographs: search records for image items - many (but not all) of these have been digitised. See also our Picture research guide
Maps: records for image items - many (but not all) of these have been digitised, including MMBW maps. (See also these Maps research guides).
Manuscripts: unpublished papers and diaries. Some of these are digitised, and many have finding aids listing the contents of a specific collection.
Multimedia: search for audio and video recordings as well as DVDs and streamed audio and video in the Library’s collections.
To find audio and video files created by the Library, search the Library website, rather than the catalogue.
Find on shelf: limit your search to books, journals, newspapers, magazines and microfilms etc stored on the open shelves and cabinets in the Library reading rooms.
Online: restrict your search to online resources such as ebooks and pamphlets, ejournals and magazine titles, websites, streamed audio and video along with collection items that the Library has digitised. To access some material you need to be a Victorian resident registered with the Library.
For more on using online resources see these online courses. You can work through each module or dip in and out for the information you need.
Searching the internet for very specific things such as a name, place or event can be fairly straightforward. Trying to find substantial research on less clearly defined topics can be more challenging.
Web pages tend to be concise and brief. Substantial information such as reports tend to be loaded as pdfs. Try Google Advanced Search to use a range of options to focus your search. For example:
These are just suggestions. The most important thing is to think about your search and try various options and be persistent.
Google Images has a number of clever options for locating images.
When you conduct a general search you can choose Images and then Tools to open options such as restricting to black and white images, and re-use conditions.
The Time option relates to when the image was uploaded not when it was originally taken so may only be useful for more recent images.
Drag images to the search box to find similar images.
Google Scholar is an online index to a wide range of scholarly journals.
This includes journals published by universities, professional bodies and societies.
Usually the content will have been peer reviewed (which means that experts have checked the item prior to publication).
Much of the content is not freely available in full text but is only available by subscription.
Note options below article record linking to other items citing the article. If it is available to you in full text there will be a link at far right.
If you have access to full text subscriptions through a Library (such as ours) click Settings then Library links to add libraries you have access to.
Usually this will only include large regional libraries, universities and national and state libraries. Google Scholar will then recognise items available through your library.
This site is particularly good for locating digitised books and journals. These will usually be items that are out of copyright.
Generally this means that the author died more than 70 years ago. There are many exceptions and laws vary from country to country.
The free internet is a vast, confusing space. The content ranges from excellent to useless and everything in between.
However there are many very good websites, and government, libraries and other organisations are continually adding substantial content.