Information about registering as a researcher

You must register as a researcher if you intend on visiting any of our reading rooms to view original records. To do so:

  1. Access the National Archives of Australia website (
  2. Go to Search the collection and then to RecordSearch.
  3. In the top right of the screen select 'Register'.
  4. Fill in all relevant fields. Use the tab key or the mouse to move between fields. Please note that information must be entered in fields marked with an asterisk *.
  5. Select 'Register'.
  6. The screen will display your login name and reader's ticket number. Make sure you record these details somewhere safe; alternatively you can print the page.
  7. Select 'Next'.
  8. You will now need to set a secret password that only you know. This is so that your contact details and the search sets you create when you use our system remain private.
  9. Enter a new password in the first box. This password must be at least 9 characters long and contain at least 1 number, for example 'Wednesday1'. Please ensure that there are no spaces before or after the password.
  10. Use the tab key or the mouse to move between fields.
  11. Re-enter your new password.
  12. Select 'Save password'.
  13. You are now logged in to RecordSearch. You can use the basic or advanced tabs to begin your search.

Obtaining a reader card

When you visit a reading room for the first time, you will need to bring identification with you so we can verify your identity and provide you with a reader card.

Acceptable forms of identification include either:

  • one form of identification that shows your photo, full name, current address and signature - such as a driver's licence.
  • OR

  • two forms of identification: one must show your full name and current address and one must show your signature – such as a passport, proof of age card, Medicare card, pension/seniors card, credit card, bank account statement, utility or telephone account.

For researchers visiting from overseas a valid passport will be considered an acceptable form of identification.

Please note: we do not make copies of, or record the details of, the identification documentation you show us.

Once your identity has been verified, a reader card will be issued to you and you will be asked to sign the card. You will be required to present your reader card when visiting a reading room and each time original records are issued to you.

A reader card is valid for three years from the date of issue, and can be used in any National Archives reading room.

Why you must provide proof of identity

We ask to see proof of identity before issuing a reader card so we can track the issue of records to researchers in our reading rooms, and to ensure we have your current contact details.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018