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Using Unreserved

Using Unreserved

This page provides information on how to use the different functions of Unreserved to search, view, download and share items. If you have any questions about using Unreserved, or have specific research queries, please Contact Us.




Simple Search

  1. Type your term/s in the search bar on the home page and press enter or click on the Search button.
    What are you searching for
  2. Unreserved will look for the term/s in the title and all descriptive fields and generate a list of results. You can browse the results and select an item you are interested in.

Searching within a Specific Series

  1. Open the Series Guide for that series and
  2.  Enter your search term/s in the search bar on that page:

This search will automatically look for your search terms in both the metadata and content of all of the records in that series.

Advanced Search

  1.   Find the advance search by selecting the search icon on the left hand menu:
  2.   Type your term/s in the search bar:

Additional parameters to refine your search are available underneath the search bar using the dropdowns. These are:

Dropdown Default Impact on Search
Item Type All item types Allows you to limit the item types that will be searched. One or multiple item types can be selected.
Digitisation Status All items Allows you to search only for items that have a digital version available, only for items that have no digitised version available, or for all items.
Within Data All Fields + Content

Allows you to decide which parts of the data to search. This can be set to

  • Title only
  • All fields (all of the available metadata fields including title), or
  • All Fields + Content (all metadata fields and any digitised content where there is OCR or a transcription).
Date No date range

Allows you to limit the date range of your search by searching

  • All item created from a specific date
  • All items created up to a specific date
  • Items created between two specific dates
Note: You will need to select a date from the calendar or type a full date, e.g. 01/01/1920
Search For All keywords

Allows you to decide to search for

  • All keywords (e.g. both London and office appear)
  • Any keywords (e.g. either London or office appear)
  • Exact phrase match (e.g. London office appears as a phrase)
  1. Once you have set any parameters for your search select the magnifying glass to run the search.

Search Tips

  • Search for acronyms both with and without full stops, e.g.
    • P.N.G., PNG
  • When something can be written in different ways try multiple searching using all the variations, e.g.
    • World War I, World War One, WWI, First World War
  • To search for an exact match select Exact Phrase Match in the Search For options
  • Try searching with the surname of a person to return more results as people are commonly referred to or addressed in the records by only their surname, e.g.
    • For Sir Robert Gibson, search for Gibson
  • Research Guides can assist with keyword suggestions for searches that will retrieve items related to that topic

Filtering and Refining Search Results

Once your initial search has produced results you are able to refine and filter these results.

To refine your results:

  1. Select the Refine Search Terms button
  2. Select Add or Restrict Keywords to add or remove an additional keywords in your search. Each time you add a new keyword you can choose whether you want to add or remove it from your search by selecting either AND, OR or NOT from the drop down menu on the left. To remove a single keyword select X. Up to 6 additional keywords can be added to refine your search.
  3. To run your search with these refinements select Update Search

To filter your results use the options that appear to the left of your results:

Within the Format filter, the arrows next to some of the formats indicate additional options for filtering criteria.

Selecting the arrows will provide you with the option to filter within that Format by Type and Series. The arrows next to each of these options then reveal additional criteria to filter your search. The numbers next to each option indicate how many of the current search results meet that criteria.

To remove filters either individually deselect each criteria, select the Remove Filter option at the top of each type of filter, or select Remove All Filters at the bottom of the filter options.

Understanding Search Results

Search results will automatically display in a grid. The results can also be displayed as a list by selecting this in the Display As options:

Search results are automatically ordered by the relevance. This order can be changed by selecting a different option in the Order By drop down list. Results can be ordered by:

  • Relevance: results that best fit your search criteria will appear first
  • Added Most Recently: results will appear in the order that they were added to Unreserved from newest to oldest
  • Earliest Items (Lowest Item ID): results will appear in the order that they were added to Unreserved from oldest to newest (items are assigned an Item ID when they are added to Unreserved based on a sequential numbering system)
  • Title A-Z: results will appear in alphabetical order based on their title
  • Title Z-A: results will appear in reverse alphabetical order based on their title

Selecting Records

This function allows you to select multiple records at once and is useful if you want to use the download, share or contact us options for multiple items

To select all of the items on the results page you are viewing use the Uncheck All / Check All function:

Note: If your results list has multiple pages, Check All will only select the items on the page you are currently viewing and not the entire results list. It is not possible to select items across multiple pages of your results list.

To select individual items from the grid view click on the circle in the top left corner of that item. A tick in this circle indicates that an item has been selected.

To select individual items from the list view check the box on the top left corner of the item. A tick in this box indicates that an item has been selected.

Once one or multiple items have been selected the Download, Contact Us and Share options can be used on all the selected items at once.

To email us about the select items use the Contact Us option. This will direct you to the Contact us page where the information on the items you have selected will automatically appear in the message box.

For information on how to download items directly from the search results see Downloading.

For information on how to share items directly from the search results see Sharing.

Note: The My Collections function is not available for general users.

Viewing a Search Result

When you click on a search result it will open in one of four different viewers depending on the item type. The item types that use each viewer are:

  • PDF viewer
    • Booklets & Pamphlets
    • Files & Documents
    • Bound
    • Index Cards
  • Document viewer
    • Handwritten
  • Image viewer
    • Photographs
    • Works of Art
  • Video viewer
    • Audio
    • Video

Once in the viewer there are a variety of different sections which allow you to interact with the viewer, find information about the item and see links to connected items and information.

Where no digital item is available to view, a basic viewer will open which displays only the metadata for the item.

Tools Bar

The Tools bar on the left side of each of the viewers provides a variety of options for interacting with the item.

The following options are available on the Tools bar for every type of viewer.

 Download (see Downloading for more information)

 Add to My Collection (not available for general users)

 Contact us about this: Directs you to the Contact Us page where the information on the item you are viewing will automatically appear in the message box

 Citation for this item: Auto-generates a citation for the item you are viewing. Further information on how to cite archival records can be found in Citing Records.

The Document and Image viewers have additional controls which allow you to resize, reorientate or zoom on the image displayed.

 Full size thumbnail

 Fit to screen

 Fit to width

 Fit to height

 Rotate 90 degrees (in a clockwise direction)

 Zoom to 100% 

Move magnifying glass up or down the bar to increase or decrease the zoom


Note:  These are not available in the PDF or Video viewers. Zoom options are instead available on the top of the PDF viewer and the lower right hand corner of the video viewer.

For Handwritten materials the following options are also available on the Tools bar:

 Show Text / Transcription – Enables you to view any available OCR or transcription of the writing that appears on the page you are viewing. This can be closed be clicking on this button a second time

 Show keyword hits – Enables you to jump directly to the pages on which the word/s searched appeared



A box will appear showing the thumbnails of the pages on which the word/s searched appeared along with an extract of the text from that page in which the word/s appear. Clicking on the thumbnail will take you directly to that page and the word will automatically be highlighted.




 Highlight keywords – Word/s searched will be highlighted where they appear on a page. Can be turned on and off by clicking this button. When it is on the lightbulb will be illuminated.


On the right side of the viewer is the Information section which displays the metadata for that item. The fields displayed are:

  • External ID
  • Expanded Number
  • Title
  • Date
  • Type
  • Size
  • Digital Object Identifier

For more information on these terms see the Glossary.


This section includes links that allow you to find more information on items and topics of interest connected to what you are viewing. If no relationships have been identified for the item this section will not appear.

There are three types of relationship an item may have:

  • Series
  • Series Guide
  • Research Guide

Clicking on the Series will take you to a search result list for all of the records that are in the same series as the record you are viewing.

Clicking on the Series Guide or a Research Guide will take you to that guide.

For an explanation of a Series, Series Guide and Research Guide see the Glossary.

Linked To

On the left side of the viewer all of the items on Unreserved that the page you are viewing is linked to are listed.

For individual items this may include a Series Guide and/or Research Guide/s. Clicking on the links will take you to the different guides.

For the Series Guides and Research Guides this will include all of the item formats linked to that guide. Clicking on these links which take you to a search results page displaying all of the items of that format that are linked to the guide you are viewing.

Quality of Pages

Some images may be blurred, faded or difficult to read. This reflects the condition of the original page and it is not possible to capture a clearer image of these pages.

Page Numbering

Some page numbers within records may appear out of order. The pages were digitised in the order they appear in the record which is not always the page number order.


There are 2 methods that can be used for sharing items on Unreserved.

  1. From the item viewer

On the lower left side of the viewers are the social media icons. Clicking on these generates a post for the different platforms or an email which includes a direct link to the page you are viewing.

  1. From a search results list

At the top of the search results list the Share option can be used to share items from your results list on Twitter, Facebook or via email.

If no items on your results list have been selected (see Selecting Records), a link to your entire search results list will be generated to share.

If specific items have been selected, links to the pages for each individual item will be generated to share.

The same method can be used to share records from the Browse All page.


In addition, there are social media icons in the footer which appears on any page. These take you to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s profile on each of the different platforms.



There are 2 methods that can be used to download items from Unreserved.

  1. From the viewer

 The Download button on the Tools Bar can be used to download an item directly from the viewer.

For items with digital content whose Format is not Handwritten you will be presented with this screen:

The options for downloading are:

  • XML File – Download the metadata related to the item
  • PDF Document – If the item using the PDF viewer, this option only provides the metadata and the first page of the record. If the item uses the document viewer, this option provides the PDF with images but no OCR.
  • In the item’s original format – Download the entire record with OCR
  • The web master – Download the entire record with OCR. This option is not available in the Document viewer.

In the document viewer there is an additional download option that allows you to select a specific page from the record to download as a JPEG image file.

When an item has no digital content attached you have the option to download the metadata for that item as an XML file or a PDF document:


  1. From a search results list

The Download icon at the top of the search results list can be used to download items from your results list.

If no items on your results list have been selected (see Selecting Records), your entire search results list will be downloaded.

If specific items have been selected, then only those items will be downloaded.

Once you select the Download icon you will be presented with the option to download only the metadata for the items, only the digital items or both the metadata and the digital items.

After you have selected one of both of the download options, you will be able to select the Download button to proceed with downloading the items.