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Acknowledging your State Library of South Australia sources: Home

This guide shows you how to acknowledge your State Library of South Australia sources, and gives further information about copyright, publishing and ordering copies from our collections.

Acknowledging your State Library of South Australia sources

Best practice for researchers and writers, whether working on family history or university study, is to create accurate references to sources of information and illustrations used during research, and then ensure that those references also appear in any subsequent publication. Accurate references are important so that the authors or owners of material are properly identified, and to allow others to properly locate these sources in the future.

References are also an appropriate way of acknowledging the role that institutions like the State Library play in preserving the state's cultural heritage. Indeed, it is a condition of being granted permission to publish material from the State Library's collections that the library is acknowledged. Where in doubt about the correct form of acknowledgement, consult with staff at the Information Desk, our phones and chat service, or submit an Ask Us query.

Citing material from the State Library of South Australia Collections

The State Library of South Australia holds a wide variety of materials in our published, archival, pictorial, and ephemeral collections. These collections include many different categories and types of material such as books, periodicals and magazines, newspapers, archival records (business, society, or personal), maps, film and video, sound recordings (including oral histories), photographs and artworks, theatre programs, menus and calendars.

If you are referencing or reproducing Library material in a publication, display, or research paper, it is necessary to include their unique call number or the collection in which they are held, allowing others to easily identify the item within our collection. References will often include abbreviations to avoid repetition and save space. SLSA is the correct abbreviation to use for the State Library of South Australia. Where possible, a brief description or given title, including the date of creation or publication is useful to enable someone to identify the item. These details are available in the individual catalogue records for each item.

Published Material

When using or citing from our vast collection of published material, it is important that the material that you have sourced is correctly acknowledged through referencing. There is more information about referencing, and some helpful online guides available in our ‘Referencing Guides’ box on the right-hand side of this page.


Our collections of images at the State Library are quite extensive and depending on the copyright status or the collection that they are part of, there are often differing requirements when acknowledging these items in a publication or work. The restrictions or conditions for using an image is generally explained within the catalogue record for that item, under the Copy/Publish heading. Below are some examples for referencing photos from our collection with differing copyright status or specific requirements from the copyright holder (i.e., any in copyright images from our Messenger Press Collection have no restrictions on copying or publication except acknowledging ‘Messenger Press Photo’ if it is published.)


Examples of brief and preferred references for SLSA material

Here are some examples of the briefest reference possible for collection items, followed by the example of the preferred reference:

Photo (Out of Copyright/No Known Copyright Restrictions)

Brief: SLSA B 74177/15

Preferred: State Library of South Australia: B 74177/15


Photo (In Copyright - Messenger Press Collection)

Brief: SLSA B 70869/1332 Messenger Press

Preferred: State Library of South Australia: B 70869/1332 Messenger Press Photo


Archival material


Brief: SLSA PRG 496/2

Preferred: State Library of South Australia: PRG 496/2, Letter Books, 1890-1901


Brief: SLSA D 2685(L)

Preferred: State Library of South Australia: D 2685(L), Rosina Ferguson, Letters from Mrs R. Ferguson, 1836-1850.



Brief: SLSA C 194A

Preferred: State Library of South Australia: C 194A, W. Light, Plan of the city of Adelaide, 1840.


Oral Histories

Brief: SLSA OH 237

Preferred: State Library of South Australia: OH 237, Interview with Lucia Taddeo by Frank Martella and Julie Taddeo, 26 September 1993.



Brief: SLSA Ephemera Collection

Preferred: State Library of South Australia: Ephemera Collection: Advertising fans, Marshall's 'The Shopping Centre', 1927.




Preferred: State Library of South Australia: Children's Literature Research Collection, Plaster Ginger Meggs doll, ca.1940, 20cm. Contained in box entitled Here I am, Fellers! Ginger Meggs.

Referencing Guides

The Style Manual is the standard Australian publication which explains how to create references to published sources and a host of other useful details. We hold several other different Style Guides in our collection, if you are interested in more information about referencing.

There are many useful referencing guides available on the internet. Universities often provide excellent guides.

For example:

The University of Adelaide's Referencing support

The University of South Australia's Referencing Roadmap

Flinders University's Referencing support

Copyright and Publication

You are welcome to copy and re-use material from the State Library's collections provided you meet the requirements of the Australian Copyright Act 1968 and any special requirements that may apply to material that is rare, unique, or culturally sensitive. You must consider copyright when you obtain or create copies of items from the State Library's collection to re-use them in some public way.

Read more information on copyright and our collection.

To ensure that publication of material from its collections receives due acknowledgment and promotion, the library requires that permission to publish is obtained prior to publication. However, for items in the collection that are ‘out of copyright’ or designated as having ‘no known copyright restrictions’, permission is not required prior to publication. Find out more about what ‘No known copyright restrictions’ means.

Read more information about ordering copies or seeking permission to publish.