Computer resources in reading rooms – Fact sheet 118

Our reading rooms are equipped with desktop PCs running Microsoft Office 2010. These PCs are available for use by researchers at no charge.

You can use a reading room PC to:
  • search and print reports from RecordSearch
  • request the issue of items from RecordSearch
  • type your notes (and paste from RecordSearch) into Word or Excel
  • access, print and download files from the Internet for research purposes (see Conditions of use below for permitted Internet use), and
  • send and receive email messages related to your research using Internet-based email services.

Your documents on a reading room PC

Documents you create in Word or Excel will be accessible to you from any PC in the reading room you are visiting (see Conditions of use below).

Security and privacy of your documents

Just as you can access your documents from any PC in the reading room, so too can other researchers. We suggest you protect your documents with a password. Others will still be able to read them but will not be able to amend them. As a further security measure only our staff can delete them.

You can attach your documents to an email message or print them. The reference officer on duty will advise you of any charges (see Charges below).

To control the number of documents stored on each PC we may delete documents which have not been amended for more than 30 days. If you want your documents kept for longer you must make alternative arrangements.


Use of PCs is free of charge. You are also entitled to a number of printouts free of charge. You will incur copying charges for any printing you do beyond this quota.

Time limits

A time limit of two hours per session per researcher applies if others are waiting.


Some material on the Internet is protected by copyright. When printing or downloading material from the Internet you should read and observe any copyright directions provided by the author of the material.


Reference staff are available to provide general assistance but do not provide detailed instructions in using Microsoft Office applications or the Internet.

Conditions of use

The use of reading room PCs is on the understanding that you will observe the following conditions. Failure to observe these conditions may result in you being denied access to a PC.

Tampering with settings

You must not tamper, or attempt to tamper, with the hardware, software or PC settings.

Hardware or software problems

Do not try to fix hardware or software problems yourself. If you encounter problems please ask for assistance.

Reserved PCs

Some PCs in each reading room are reserved for those wishing to use the Archives' database. You may only use these PCs to access other applications if you first obtain the permission of a reference officer.

Recreational use

Reading room PCs are provided solely for study, reference and research use associated with your work in the reading room. Recreational use is not permitted.

Offensive material

You must not knowingly access Internet sites containing violent, pornographic, racist or other offensive material. The Archives monitors use of the Internet and will terminate access by those visiting such sites.


As a courtesy to others, unless you have their consent do not read, amend or copy their documents.

Moving documents created on a PC

You can only move documents created on a PC by attaching them to an email message, using an Internet-based email service.

External drives

You can use CDs and USB devices on the PCs in the reading room. Reading room staff are available to assist with using these devices.

Using your own laptop in the reading room

You are welcome to bring your own laptop computer into the reading room for the typing of your notes. Most desks in the reading room are equipped with power points for this purpose. Please leave the laptop carrying case in the locker with your other personal possessions.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019