Which organisation should I use?
You may find that several organisations have resources that could help you with your research task.
First, think about what you’d like to discover about your chosen topic. Next, try to identify the different types of information you would need to source in order to carry out your research.
For example, you may be interested in researching the experience and stories of Australia's World War I nurses. A research library may hold books, journal articles, newspapers and photographs relating to this topic. They may also have letters or diaries written by nurses who served in the conflict.
A gallery may have artwork by or about nurses, and a museum could hold objects such as uniforms, badges and medals. A government archive could safeguard individual records of a military nursing service, as well as administration records related to medical services during the war. A university may have an expert in nursing history on their academic staff.
Think outside the box and keep an open mind about where to look for information and collections. As we’ve just explored, collecting organisations often collect material in different formats. While a gallery may be a good place to look for artwork, be aware that other organisations such as libraries and museums may also have works by the same artist or about the same subject.
organisations are hybrids – they could be part museum, part gallery,
or even a combined museum and society.
Go to Museum Victoria and search their catalogue for the Australian Red Cross.Now go to the State Library Victoria's catalogue and do the same search.Is the type of material you find different?
Things to remember
- Think about the types of information you need and who might hold it
- Keep an open mind and think outside the box when seeking information
Now that we’ve identified different types of collecting organisations, let’s look at how to find information in their collections.