Tips for research

Resources for...

Resources for audiovisual documents and photographs

List of Swiss platforms and databases providing access to images, sounds, films and videos: 

Resources for biographical information

Catalogues and biographical databases of the NL:

Resources for maps or information about a place, region or locality

In the online catalogue Helveticat:  

Search by keyword in the NL’s Helveticat catalogue to find the maps you are looking for.

Online place name portals and sites:

Reference works at the NL:

The geographical name directories of the various cantons and regions are listed in the online catalogue Helveticat:

Resources for Swiss e-books

The NL does not lend out e-books but many public libraries offer this service. Digital Helvetica can only be consulted on site.

Resources for information about a company or association

The full gazette can be consulted online via two platforms:

Other tools for the research on a company


List of publications of corporations and associations

Documents and publications from Swiss corporations or associations, companies, industries, schools and cultural institutions, both cantonal and local. The institutions from which we hold documents are contained in this list.

Resources for genealogical information

NL genealogical information

A number of resources can be consulted on site:

Catalogue of family names

Index of genealogical articles that have appeared in serial publications and monographs, in alphabetical order of family names.

Catalogue of genealogical tables

Tables of ancestors, dynasties and family lines of descent; genealogical trees and tables from the Prints and Drawings Department. Consists of three parts: an alphabetical catalogue of authors, a systematic catalogue of family names, and a location catalogue (call numbers).

Heraldic catalogue

Index of family coats of arms published in some reference works. This catalogue was updated until 1980.

Resources for newspapers or periodicals

The latest issues of periodicals and newspapers are on display in the public rooms of the NL:

Older issues of newspapers are mostly accessible on microfilm.

Some are available directly online:

Newspapers available on microfilm or in digital format

Newspaper titles that are available on paper or another medium, such as microfilm or digital files that can be accessed freely on certain platforms but also from press databases such as Swissdox.

For newspapers that are not available on microfilm or in digital form, the paper version must be ordered from our Helveticat catalogue.

Most older issues of periodicals are listed in our catalogue Helveticat.

Catalogue of serial publications of the NL (“P-Katalog”)

Card index for on-site consultation listing all serials that were catalogued before 2005: newspapers, magazines, series, annual publications (except carnival programmes and corporate publications).

Some older periodicals are accessible directly online:

Older issues of newspapers and periodicals.

Newspaper and periodical databases

Can be accessed from the NL’s information room and contain complete texts.

Resources for specific legal texts, Federal Supreme Court decisions or official texts

An overview can be found in the table below.

Catalogue of official serial publications

Directory of periodical publications by public sector bodies (Confederation, cantons, communes, churches, etc.). Starting from June 2005, new titles are only listed in Helveticat.

Resources for political, economic and cultural information about Switzerland

Resources for help with school-leaving exam essays

If you want to study a topic related to Switzerland for your school-leaving exam essay, here are some ideas for subjects that might interest you.

Already chosen your topic? We’ll be happy to assist you with your research in the catalogues and databases of our collections and other institutions. We also offer a free library tour for school classes and groups, including a research workshop (in German or French).

Last modification 09.11.2023

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