Series Registration System - A User Guide

A new system of arrangement and control for State archives was introduced on 1 March 1988. The new system, called the Series Registration System (SRS), runs in parallel with the old Archive Notes (AN) system although a project is currently underway to convert all archives listings in the Archive Notes to the Series Registration System.

The Series Registration System is based on a similar system developed by the National Archives of Australia in the late 1970s, which is now used by a number of archival institutions throughout Australia. The major advantage of the system is that it attempts to fully document Government agencies and the records series they create.


As its name implies, the SRS is based on a method of describing or registering Government Agencies and records Series.

An Agency is an organisation which creates and/or manages its own records. In the case of large organisations, subordinate parts such as departments or sections may be regarded as separate agencies when they deal directly with the State Records Office regarding retention and disposal of their records.

e.g. The Education Department constitutes a separate agency. The Western Australian Post Secondary Education Commission, which was subordinate to the Education Department but which deals directly with the Sttae Records Office, also constitutes a separate agency.

A Series is a collective name for a group of records which have the same origin:

  1. are part of a discernible filing system
  2. have been kept together because they result from the same activity
  3. are of similar formats and relate to a particular function

e.g. Minutes, registered correspondence, reports, etc. Each constitutes a separate records series.

A Consignment list is the listing and receipt of records transferred to the State Records Office on a specific date. A separate consignment list is used for each records series being transferred on that date.

State Archives Transferred prior to 1 March 1988

State archives transferred prior to 1 March 1988 are arranged in Archive Notes (ANs) according to agencies. Most of these record listings have now been converted into the Series Registration System and are searchable through our online database. Remaining AN listings will be added on an ongoing basis.

The Archives Notes (ANs) - A User Guide page provides further information on how to use the Archive Note system.

Changes from the Former System

There are some major differences which affect the approach needed to use this system of arrangement for State archives.

  1. Agencies and series are described as separate elements, rather than having series described within related groups (old AN system). Often one series has been controlled by more than one Agency, and has had archives transferred by more than one agency. This can now be documented consistently.
  2. Defunct and predecessor agencies are described in their own right. Even if no records of a defunct agency are known to be extant, the agency itself can be, and often is, documented.

Ordering records 

Items identified online can be ordered for viewing in the State Records Office through the request item button.  

For items which are still only listed in the AN records, note the consignment (accession) number of the record and the item (i.e. volume or file) number of the record. Complete a separate call slip for each item required. On the call slips, please note the Consignment number and the item number. Enquiry Desk staff will be happy to help if you require assistance in completing a call slip. Requests to view State archives can be made by telephone by contacting Enquiry Desk staff on (08) 9427 3600.

Further information on the procedure for retrieving records can be found on our page on retrievals.

Microform Records

In cases where State archives are available on microfilm or microfiche it will not be necessary to complete a call slip. Clients can access microform records at any time during State Records Office opening hours without the need to complete a call slip.

The types of microform records available include both 16mm and 35mm microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards. These items are stored in cabinets within the State Records Office Microform Area, adjacent to the Enquiry Desk.

Information on microform records can be found on our Microform Records page.

Restricted Records

Access is restricted to some records held by the State Records Office. Such records are identified in the catalogue. Enquiry Desk staff can explain conditions which may apply to restricted records.

Further information can be found on our restricted records page.

Further Information

The State Records Office has produced a number of information sheets to assist clients in accessing the collection.

For other queries regarding our online catalogue, finding aids and indexes used in the State Records Office please contact the staff at the Search Room Enquiry Desk.