Using the Collection

The Reading Room is open to the general public from 10am to 1pm weekdays. Or you can make an appointment in advance to access collection material between 9:30am and 4:30pm weekdays.

Please contact the Collection Access Unit if you have any questions regarding access to collection material at

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: 7 Mar 2019