Card catalogues and indexes

The Library has many physical and online card catalogues and indexes to help with your research.

The Library has many physical and online card catalogues and indexes to help with your research. They include annotations that may help with your research.

This page lists only some of the catalogues and indexes. Speak to a librarian in the Special Collections area to find out about others you may find useful.

If you can’t visit the Library, you can Ask a Librarian to search the card catalogues and indexes for you.

Scanned card catalogue

As well as the physical catalogues and indexes listed here, you can view photos of cards scanned from the Library's Card Catalogue.

The Scanned Card Catalogue contains records of published material received by the Library before 1980.

Mitchell Library Printed Books Card Catalogue

Located in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

This was the Mitchell Library's main catalogue until 1980. All the books it lists are now in the online catalogue, but many other items are not.

Use this catalogue if you’re looking for book chapters and magazine articles published before 1944, as well as portraits from books and magazines.

It’s invaluable because very little indexing exists of Australasian periodicals before the 1970s. In addition, indexed entries have not been added to the online catalogue.

Before starting your search, consult the four-volume thesaurus of in-house indexing terms. You’ll find this on top of the catalogue cabinets.

Mitchell Library Periodicals Index: 1944-1963 (21 drawers) and 1964-1967 (one drawer)

Located at the end of the Mitchell Library Printed Books Card Catalogue in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

Library staff continued to index periodical literature, selected book chapters and newspapers after 1944. These were indexed in a separate sequence rather than filed in the main catalogue.

Use this as a supplement to the Mitchell Library Printed Books Card Catalogue. It’s an excellent source of articles on Australian people, places and events.

Mitchell Library Pictures Card Catalogue

Located in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

A catalogue of the Mitchell Library's pictures collections received before 1992. While all items are now listed in the online catalogue, researchers may some sequences useful.

These include:

  • the Portraits sequence – an alphabetical list of all portraits held in the Library
  • the Ships Catalogue – this lists the ships that appear in paintings and sketchbooks.

Havard Index to Historical Records of Australia

Located in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

Use this as a quick entry point into Historical Records of Australia. These include the multi-volume transcript of governors' despatches and other Australian documents in British repositories.

The index is especially useful if you're researching the early settlements of New South Wales and Tasmania.


Jervis Index 1789-1936

Located in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

This is a very useful resource for New South Wales local history, as it contains references to thousands of towns and suburbs.

It selectively covers newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald, Empire, Freemans Journal, Sydney Gazette and the Argus.

There are also some references to government archives held at State Records NSW.


Book Review Index 1945-c.1987

Located in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

An index to book reviews that appeared in selected Australian newspapers and journals from 1945 to about 1987.

From 1964, only reviews appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age are included. The index covers reviews of both fiction and non-fiction.

Church Registers Index

Ask at the Family History desk in the Marie Bashir Reading Room

A card index of NSW church and cemetery records on microfiche and microfilm. These records are predominantly church registers microfilmed by the Society of Australian Genealogists.

The index also includes references to records of funeral parlours, orphanages and hospitals.

Entries are arranged by the names of towns, suburbs, churches, cemeteries and other institutions.

Index to Portraits of Boxers in the Bert L. Cox Collection

Located in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

This card index covers the photographic component of the Bert L. Cox Collection.

Cox assembled a large collection of scrapbooks, notebooks and photographic albums relating to boxing from the late 19th century to the 1970s.

The albums contain a wealth of photographs, typically the postcard-sized portraits of boxers that were sold at matches. These cover not only Australian fighters, but many from overseas.

Ships Index

Ask at the Special Collections desk in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

A card index to shipping records available on microfilm. These include convict transportation registers, surgeons' journals, private diaries of immigrants and travellers, and ships' logs.

The index is arranged alphabetically by ships' names and sub-arranged by date of voyage.

Many records are from the Library's own manuscripts collections or from the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Whitfeld Index

Located in the Mitchell Library Reading Room

Mary Lavinia Whitfeld was an author, historian and genealogist.

The Whitfeld Index is a treasure trove relating mainly to Victorian history. It covers the Ballarat Courier and the Geelong Advertiser, as well as references from other books, magazines and newspapers.

It also contains numerous New South Wales and Queensland references.