Using archives for research

Anyone is welcome to undertake research using the holdings of the University Archives and Noel Butlin Archives Centre.

Training in the use of archives

The Archives offers a free one hour course to students and staff who want to use primary sources in their research. The course introduces you to real archives from the ANU Archives in the collections of the Noel Butlin Archives Centre and the University Archives. It is presented by archivists with a passion for their collections.

Key learning areas

  • Practical information about reading archives
  • How to get started using catalogues and finding aids
  • Archival concepts of provenance and 'original order'
  • Record formats such as files, presscopy letterbooks and carbon copies
  • How to cite archival sources in footnotes and bibliographies

This course is included in the Arts course 'Researching and Writing History' and is also offered on demand to other undergraduate and postgraduate students. The archives used as examples can be tailored to your discipline such as political and social history, labour history, music, gender studies, economic history, Aboriginal history, Pacific history, environmental studies, biography and linguistics. The Noel Butlin Archives Centre holds records of Australian companies, trade unions and organisations dating from the 1820s to the 1990s. The University Archives includes records of the Australian National University, the Canberra University College, the Australian Forestry School and the Mt Stromlo Observatory from the 1920s.

The course is presented in the Archives reading room in the Menzies building and includes an optional tour of the repository at Acton Underhill. To book a session, phone the University Archivist on x59602.


  •  University Archivist
     +61 2 6125 9602