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Indigenous Information Sources: Getting started

This guide will help you to locate and search effectively for Australian Indigenous Information Sources.

Getting started in OneSearch

Simple Search Tips

The terms 'Indigenous Australians' and 'Aboriginal Australians' are used interchangeably in articles and books. 

You can use OR to search for either of those terms (synonyms):

"Indigenous Australians" OR "Aboriginal Australians"

To narrow your search, you can combine keywords with AND to search for resources that contain both terms (different concepts):

"indigenous communities" AND "mental health"

The Advanced Search option in OneSearch helps you to easily search for a combination of synonyms and different concepts. For example:

"Indigenous Australians" OR "Aboriginal Australians"
AND identity

Translating your search to OneSearch

Click on the screenshot below to see the search results in OneSearch. Have a go at replacing the term 'identity' with a concept you are researching.

("Indigenous Australians" OR "Aboriginal Australians") AND identity

Use the Refine my Results options on the left-hand panel to filter your results list.  For example:

  • Click on the Resource Types to show only articles, book , videos, etc. 
  • Click on the Subject to show only resources tagged with a subject focus.

For more details and lots more search tips and tricks, see our Compose a Search guide.

Why use quick reference?

If you are stuck for terms to use in your searches, dictionaries, encyclopedias and 'companions' can be a good starting point to build your vocabulary for topics you're not familiar with. They also provide context and background to the subject. 

For example, A Concise Companion to Aboriginal History by Malcolm Prentis provides an overview in the form of a timeline of Australian Aboriginal history from creation stories involving the Dreaming through to Aboriginal cultural and political activity in the 21st century. It includes a dictionary of iconic terms, biographies, historical events, pioneering work by anthropologists, historical controversies, literature and sport, and a number of social issues. Many of the dictionary entries have suggestions for further readings.

Note: This record has been given the subject "Aboriginal Australians - History"  click on this subject term to view a list of resources on this topic.  

Finding quick reference

If you're looking for research methods relating to indigenous issues and protocols, then you can include in your search terms

Research Methodology  Combine this with  Aboriginal Australians  or to broaden your scope to include indigenous communities from around the world, use Indigenous peoples

OneSearch Research Methodology Aboriginal Australians


Use the Refine my Results panel to refine by Subject and/or Books or Peer-reviewed Articles.


OneSearch Research Methodology Refine Subject


Using filters in OneSearch

You can filter your results to just show books by selecting Resource Type from the Refine my Results panel on the left, then select Resource TypeBooks.

OneSearch Aboriginal Australians Books

Subject searching in OneSearch

When you find a resource that is on topic, check the Subject terms in the Details area of the OneSearch record.

Clicking on those Subject terms will conduct a Subject search based on those terms.  Or simply take note of words to use for future searches.

Subject in OneSearch Details area

Using Advanced Search, you can search by Subject.

"Aboriginal Australians" is the formal Subject Heading for books, followed by set sub-topics. 

Below are a some examples of formal Subject Headings for books to really target your search.

Aboriginal Australians - Medical care

Aboriginal Australians - Social life and customs

Aboriginal Australians - Western Australia

Other formal Subject Headings the are:

Native title (Australia)

Stolen generations (Australia)

Advanced Search Subject

The best place to begin to search for a specific journal title is in OneSearch - Advanced Search mode. Use the pull down menu for Material Type to select Journals and search using a key word or actual publication title.

Journal search

You can also view a large list of Journal Titles focusing on Australian Indigenous issues by searching specific subject classifications such as Aboriginal Australians - Periodicals.

Below is a list of some Journals important to Indigenous Studies.

Browse the bookshelves in any library to see what we have on a particular subject theme. 
However, please note that most of our latest and newest books are likely to be ebooks, so ensure you do a search in OneSearch.

Subject Call Number
Aboriginal Identity /Kinship /Spirituality /Reconciliation /Government Relations 305.89915
Aboriginal Civil Rights / Government Relations / Land Rights/Mabo/Native Title/Wik / Politics 323.119915
Aboriginal Economic Conditions 331.699915
Aboriginal Customary Law 340.52
Aboriginal Land Rights 346.940432
Aboriginal Criminal Justice 364.349915
Aboriginal Education 371.979915
Aboriginal Languages 499.15
Aboriginal Music 781.629915
Aboriginal Songs 782.421629915
Aboriginal Biography 994.0049915


Sign in to OneSearch to access our full range of resources.


Use OneSearch to search for:

  • UWA print collection
  • ebooks
  • journal articles
  • exam papers
  • newspaper articles
  • conference proceedings
  • law reports
  • music scores
  • and more

Finding and using eBooks

The eBooks guide will help you with finding, downloading and reading eBooks on subject library computers or on your own device.

Image credits: iPad ebook demo by Anita Hart. (license)


 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.