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Making it easier to find original material

Transition from website search to the catalogue

When the new single search catalogue was launched last year, more specialist work was required for searching the manuscripts, oral history and pictures collections.

While this was happening, the provisional manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue remained the best search method.

If you’ve been following the catalogue news and updates page, you will have seen the new features that have been deployed to the single search catalogue and the issues that have been addressed.

When these improvements are combined with the powerful search engine of the single search catalogue, it’s now the most effective way to access the manuscripts, oral history and pictures collections.

From the search box on the Library website, when you select Manuscripts, Oral History & Pictures you’ll now be taken directly to the single search catalogue – but with the Manuscripts, oral history and picture search filter already selected for you.

The provisional manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue will continue to be maintained while we continue to develop features in the single search catalogue. If you ever need to return to the provisional manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue, links can be found on the single search catalogue and at the bottom of the website search box.


With significant improvements made ‘behind the scenes’, some of the more visible changes have been to the Refine your Results section when searching for manuscripts, oral history and pictures.

Do you only want to see results with an image that can be viewed online?Archival digital filter on catalogue

Use the Archival Digital filter to limit your results.

As a great example, when searching for Conrad Martens’ artwork, using the Archival Digital filter can reduce the results from nearly 600 to only 134.

Do you want to narrow your results to a certain date range?Refine Date in catalogue

This is now possible in both Advanced Search and Refine your Results.

Search by ‘name’, even if the ‘name’ isn’t the author or listed in the title?Refine by name in catalogue

Solved! The name field is now searchable.

Example: In the 1920s, Tilly Devine was too ‘busy’ to be an author, but Frank Fahy had information about her in his scrapbook.

Is seeing the collection hierarchy going to make your research easier?Demonstration of the new catalogue feature - Archival Hierarchy

Use the Archival Hierarchy filter to narrow your results.


We’re not finished yet!

These are the new features currently under development for the single search catalogue:

  • Advanced Search – More fields and features

  • Include the pre-1945 manuscripts index

  • Easier image browsing, with thumbnails for digitised content

  • A better experience using the collection viewer, including improved image resolution

  • A better way to use the collection hierarchy for large collections.

  • Video tutorials

The labels in the ‘Refine my Results’ section, on the right-hand side of the catalogue are also under review. For example, due to character limitations we use the term ‘Archival’ when describing original or unpublished material from the manuscripts, oral history and pictures collections.

We’re conducting user testing to determine if this should change, but we would welcome any feedback from catalogue users.


We've also been working on access to catalogue help and avenues for feedback, which are now easier to find on all pages of the single search catalogue, via the orange Help icon.

In addition to general catalogue tips and tricks, you can also easily access online forms to contact the Library with requests for help, to report catalogue issues or to provide feedback.

You will also find a shortcut to our Ask a Librarian service, which is a great way to connect with specialist librarians to help with your research.

catalogue help