Catalogue help

The State Library of Western Australia's discovery Catalogue, also known as books, finds books, articles, journals, databases, films etc. plus unique local resources from the Battye Library and Digital Collections. The traditional Classic Catalogue remains available.

Searching the SLWA discovery Catalogue is like searching in Google. Type words into the search box and press the Enter key on your keyboard or click on the arrow button. The catalogue finds records that contain all of your search words from anywhere in the record.

This is still a keyword search. It enables you to:

  • Search specifically in certain fields (words occurring in title, author, or subject fields)
  • Pre-limit by format, collection, location, language, year.
  • Construct logical searches with operators. Note that Encore does not allow the direct typing of boolean operators.

If you misspell a word, the catalogue will suggest an alternative, but if you get it really wrong, you’ll get no results at all. If this happens, try:

  • Checking the spelling of your search words
  • Using other words or reducing the number of words
  • Checking whether you have any limits on

Keyword search is the only type of search available in the discovery Catalogue. If you want to browse the title, author, subject, call number or isbn indexes you need to use Classic Catalogue.

  • Results are displayed 25 per page in relevance order.
  • Relevancy is determined by where and how often your search term appears in the record. For example, results with your search phrase in the main title are at the top of the list with the latest publication first. Relevance drops away as your search phrase is found in less important parts of the record, and, as search words are found individually rather than as a phrase exactly as entered.
  • You can switch the display order of your search results from relevance to date or title.
  • Click on the title to get a full description, item locations and to take advantage of extra information and functionality: eg. Popular Choices, Explore.
  • Click on any of the facets on the left hand to further refine your search results. To remove any applied limits, click on the cross symbol next to the limit you would like to remove.
  • Click on an item location name to bring up this information page for more guidance on where to find an item and whether you can borrow or request it from the State Library.
  • To view availability of an item when in browse display click on 'see all'.
  • For ebooks, you can connect through and borrow items by confirming your State Library membership.
  • To confirm availability of State Library stock held at public libraries, contact the library directly to determine.
  • Some items might not be available on the shelf at the State Library, so need to be requested. These will have a ‘Request it’ button next to the title.
  • To request item for retrieval, click ‘Request it. If you aren’t ready logged in, you’ll need to enter your library membership details.
  • Once you’ve confirmed which item you want and entered any special details, you’ll receive a confirmation message telling you where to pick your item up from.
  • First, Second and Battye Library items are delivered to the 3rd floor.
  • Private archives, as well as rare, old or valuable items are delivered to the archives viewing room: The Leah Jane Cohen Reading Room on the 3rd floor.
  • Items are retrieved every 30 minutes during opening hours and delivered to the 3rd floor. Find out more about Retrieval services.

I have just registered online but can't login to any eResources?

When you apply online to become a member of the State Library you will be assigned a temporary membership number which will allow you to use certain services but not allow you to access eResources until you are issued with your permanent mylibrarycard. In addition, you will need to provide evidence that you are a resident of Western Australia.

If you live in the Perth metropolitan area you can pick up your mylibrarycard from the welcome desk on the ground floor.

If you live outside the Perth metropolitan area we will post your mylibrarycard to you. Please allow 5 working days for it to arrive.

I am a member of a Western Australian public library with a public library membership card. Can I use that membership card to access State Library's eResources from home?

You can use your WA public library card to access State Library of Western Australia's eResources but you will have to register to join the State Library and ask staff to add your public library membership card details at the time of registration.

I am logged in, but when I select an eResource it will not allow me to view the contents and there is a message that says the number of users exceeds the licence?

Some of our licenced eResources only allow a certain number of clients to use the resource at the same time. Please wait and try again.

I am logged into an eResources and found a reference to an article but I can't find the full text?

Some of the eResources in our collection are bibliographic databases or indexes and do not provide electronic full text. The State Library does however, subscribe to many of the journals referrred to in these eResources. Once you have the details of the required article you can go to our catalogue and search for the journal title and ask staff how you can request a copy of the article.

Check the e-journals A-Z list to see if the journal title is available in another eResource.

I have a mylibrarycard and have logged in and selected an eResource but can't access it from home?

Not all of State Library's eResources can be accessed from home and are only licenced for client access onsite at the State Library.

Connect to our eResources

My Book Bag lets you create a temporary list of items. You can select items to put into your cart from the browse screen or from full record display. From My Book Bag you can choose titles to email, export as a list, or save to a list, when you are logged in.

Your Lists are linked to your library card and are only accessible when you login to your account with your library barcode.

To create a new list:

  • Select any items that you are interested in by clicking Add to Bag.
  • When you’re finished, click the My Bag link in the top right corner of the webpage.
  • Log into your library account.
  • Once logged into your account, you will be prompted to add your items to an existing list or you may click the link "Save to New List" to create a new list.
  • New lists need a name. Descriptions are optional. Click Save.
  • To view or use your lists, click the My Account link in the top right corner of the webpage.
  • If you use the export fuction with your lists, remember to clear the list before exporting any other lists.

Using Your Library Account, you can place and manage holds, view and renew your checked-out items, change your contact details, and manage ebooks borrowed through OverDrive. You can choose to keep a reading history of books that you’ve borrowed and you can opt out at any time. Library staff aren’t able to view lists of items you have returned.

Q. My search has turned up items at the Health Department libraries, can I use or borrow these?
A. No, SLWA has a partnership with the Health libraries and we use a shared database but Health’s resources are for use by their patrons only. To remove these results from your search, please use either the Location or Collection facets to limit your searching to SLWA items only.

Q. When I am exporting more than one list, items from subsequent lists are added to the first list?
A. You need to clear the list before exporting items from another list

Last updated on 23 September 2021