Using the Collection

The Stanner Reading Room and Client Access rooms will be closed between the 24th of December and the 1st of January due to the Christmas shut down. The Reading Room will reopen on the 2nd of January. The Reading Room will be open from 10am to 1pm for the month of January 2019. We apologise for any inconvenience and hope that you can plan a visit to access our collection outside this period. If you have particular needs during this period our Collection Access Unit will happily work with you to advise on access to the collection. We encourage you to contact us by sending an email to

There are many ways to use the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) collection, and they don't all involve visiting us in Canberra.

Our collection mostly holds items that are permitted to be shared to help educate and build awareness about Australia's Indigenous cultures however, they also include restricted knowledge and sacred items that are not available to be viewed except by the appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

To use the collection you can:

There is no charge to view collection items or use research aids at AIATSIS or online. We do charge for ordering copies of collection items or for inter-library loan where this is permitted.

Please read our Access and Use policy which set out the conditions under which the collection may be accessed.

How we can help

Ask a question

Our client services and access staff can help you find information within our collections. This includes:

  • researching Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories
  • providing specialist advice and information about using the collection
  • helping you to locate other research avenues and sources of information.

Unfortunately, we cannot:

  • provide advice on personal, medical, financial or legal matters
  • conduct extensive research for clients, including family history research. Our Family History Kit can help you with the basics to start tracing your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

Ask a question

Ask us a question if you would like more information on services offered by our reference staff. We will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible. Reference enquiries are usually completed within 25 days, depending upon the difficulty of your enquiry and the available staff resources. Access to the audiovisual collections can take significantly longer.

Last reviewed: 10 Dec 2018