Using ArchivesSearch

ArchivesSearch is State Records' catalogue of the archive collection. It describes and enables searching of the hard copy original records held in the archive.

ArchivesSearch does not contain digital records or digitised copies of records however entries in the catalogue may mention online copies or microfilm.

Anyone can view records that are open for general access. You will need authorisation from the agency who created the records  to access restricted records.

The Research Centre is open by appointment only to view original records.

General Searching tips

Before searching in ArchivesSearch, plan your search. Think about the information you are hoping to find and which government agency may have created it.

Records found will be sorted in these tabs:

  • All Results
  • Agencies (current or historic government departments, local councils)
  • Series (sets records belonging to the same recordkeeping system, created by an agency)
  • Consignments (the portion of a series transferred to State Records at one time)
  • Records (Units, Items and Indexes) and
  • Pages on this website.

Narrow down your search results by looking through the separate tabs.

If you know the Agency or Series you are looking for:

  • do a Direct Search for the archival references or
  • a Keyword Search for the title or description of the records.

Then, consult the page for that Agency or Series.

If you don't know the Agency or Series you are looking for try a keyword search using words that are likely to describe the records that will be relevant to your research topic.  You may need to drill down, up or sideways through search results to find the information you need.

If you are not sure what area you are interested in, browse the Discover our Collection section of our website.

See the Searching for Records page to learn more about how records in the archive are arranged and our archival control model.

Keyword Searching tips

Keyword searching allows you to search for words that have been used to describe records in the archive. Use the search bar on the home page or header to do a keyword search.

Results are automatically displayed by relevancy, helping to identify which records you are most likely searching for. The order of results can be changed to Title (A-Z) or Title (Z-A) using the Sort by menu.

To conduct a simple search enter any words, for example: flower day photographs. This will search for records with the words flowerday and/or photographs.

Using the relevancy sort records with all words included will be at the top of the search results and records with only one or two words included will appear lower down.

Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase. For example, the search “Unley high school" will search for records containing this exact phrase.

Use backquotes (` `) to search for words that appear close to each other. E.g. the search `flower photographs`  will search for records that contain both words within 15 words of each other.

Use square brackets to search for at least one out of a number of terms (such as using OR for Boolean searches). E.g. the search Unley [high primary] will search for records with Unley and high or primary.

Use a dash (–) to exclude a word in a search (such as using NOT for Boolean searches). E.g. the search Unley -school will search for records containing Unley but not the word school. Ensure there is no space between the  dash (-) and the word you wish to exclude.

Use a plus (+) to include a word in a search (such as using AND for Boolean searches). E.g. the search +Unley +school will search for records containing the words Unley and school. Ensure there is no space between the plus (+) and the words you wish to include.

Direct Search tips

Direct Search allows you to narrow down a search where you know the archival reference for an Agency or Series.

To search for a government Agency select the Agency Search option (this should be the default) and enter an Agency ID in the search field.

Agency IDs begin with GA, GRG or MRG followed by a number. Do not include a space between the letters and numbers.

Examples: GA300GRG24MRG52

To search for a Series of records select the Series Search option and enter at least a Series Type and Series ID.

Series Types are GRS (with no number), GRG (with a number attached, no spaces, e.g. GRG24) or MRG (with a number attached, no spaces, e.g. MRG52)

Series IDs are numbers, for example 4719 or 6.

Example: if you are searching for the series GRS/4719 enter GRS as Series Type and 4719 as Series ID.

Example: If you are searching for the series GRG24/6 enter GRG24 as the Series Type and 6 as the Series ID.

If you wish to drill down further into a Series you can add a Consignment and Unit to the Series Search. Note you cannot search for a Consignment or Unit without searching for a Series.

Consignments are five digit numbers with leading zeros, for example 00000 or 00035.

Units are numbers, for example 1 or 225.