This page will provide you with information as to understanding how to search for your data in the UNSW Data Archive and will allow you to use the Data Archive more efficiently.

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Searching the Data Archive

Access the Data Archive by opening a Chrome, Firefox or Edge browser and entering the following URL: You’re now on the Data Archive login page.

At the login page, enter your UNSW zID (for User:) and zPass (for Password:) and click ‘Login'.

On the upper left side of the screen, you’ll see the Asset Finder icon.

Double click on the Asset Finder icon to open.

There are numerous ways to search your data in the Data Archive, depending on the information you’re trying to find. The key search tool is the quick search (either Shallow search or Deep search). You can also apply filters to each of these search types.

To begin your search, double click on 'Collections' and navigate down through the 'Collections' structure until you find the folder or sub-folder you want to search.


Quick search, Shallow search, and Deep search:

There are two types of quick search you can perform: Shallow searches or Deep searches.

A Shallow search will allow you to search through the Collection (folder) you’ve selected in the second pane of the Asset Finder. A Deep search will search your selected Collection, as well as all of the Collection’s sub-folders (known as sub collections). To switch between these search types, click the magnifying glass in the quick search bar.

As you type in your search term, in the upper left of the Asset Finder, the application will provide a number of suggestions (using a prediction function) based on the metadata attached to your data inside the Data Archive and the search terms you’ve entered in previous searches. You can click on these suggestions as they appear, or continue typing your query.


Note that you can use an asterisk (*) as part of your search term. Known as a wildcard, the asterisk can fill in the blanks if you’re searching by an incomplete file name (such as when you can't remember what you named your file, or if you think there might be typos in the file name). For example; to search for a file called 849990, you could type 84*, with the asterisk filling in the blanks where the missing numbers should be. Asterisks can be placed anywhere in a file name, including in the middle (e.g. 84*0) or at the beginning (e.g. *9990).


Using search filters

Applying filters to your searches can help you further refine your search results. There are four key filter types that you can use:

  • Compound filters
  • Asset filters
  • Metadata filters
  • Model metadata selectors

Metadata filters:

A metadata filter allows you to search your collections using the metadata attached to your files. For example; if you are searching for a particular document type, you may choose the ‘author’ metadata element to search for documents by a particular person.

Video: Searching using filters:

There are numerous metadata elements you can use to filter your data. For a complete list please visit the Metadata filter list.

Asset filters:

Asset filters are special purpose filters that help you define the parameters of the file you’re trying to locate. There are numerous asset filters that you can use. The most commonly used asset filters are ‘created by me’ and ‘created by others’, which allow you to filter your data based on who created the files you’re looking for.

Video: More Filter Topics:

There are numerous asset filters you can use to filter your data. For a complete list please visit the Asset filter list.

Model metadata selectors:

Model metadata selectors offer filters based on defined asset models and entities and metadata templates. This feature is currently under development.

Compound filters:

Compound filters allow you to search your data using multiple filters, and to qualify your search using terms such as 'and', 'or' and 'not'.

For example; by dragging and dropping the ‘not’ compound filter into the filter pane of your screen, you can then stack additional filter types on top of it to create your search as follows:

  • First, you might choose a metadata filter like 'greater than' and enter specific image parameters to search images of a particular size (such as greater than 400 pixels wide).
  • Next, you might add the asset filter 'created by me'. 
  • When you apply this compound filter to your search, you are instructing the application to search for all files that are images greater than 400 pixels wide, but that were NOT created by you.

You can choose from any of your asset filters, metadata filters and model metadata selectors to create a compound filter.

There are numerous compound elements you can use to filter your data. For a complete list please visit the Compound filter list.

How to use filters:

To use a filter, click the 'Filters' menu item on the top of the Asset Finder window, then click 'Show'. This will open the filters pane. In the same menu, click 'Filter Selector' to choose the type of filter you wish to work with.

Once you’ve chosen your filter type, you can drag and drop individual filters into the filter pane to set up your search. When a red line appears on the left hand side of the filter pane, the application is ready to conduct a search using your chosen parameters. Right click inside the filter pane and select 'Apply' to run your search, or select 'Apply' from the Filters menu. The search results will appear in the center panel of the Asset Finder window.

When you have finished searching using filters, go back into the 'Filters' menu and click 'Remove All' so you can return to using the basic quick search function.


Managing your search results

Once your search is complete, the results will appear in the third pane of the Asset Finder. Your search results will appear as a series of tiles, with each data file represented by an icon. You can view your search results in tile or column format (read more in the Saving useful searches in next paragraph of this document). 

Note: your search results will only display files you have permission to view. Single clicking a file in tile view, or single clicking a row of data in column view, will display descriptive information about the file on the far right of the screen (the last pane). Right clicking any of the files or rows will bring up options to open the file, or to view the history of the file – all earlier versions of the file will also be displayed.


Saving useful searches and search results for future use

Video: Opening and saving Views:

You can change the way your search results appear by clicking the 'View' tab at the top of the Asset Finder window, choosing between a tile or column format. Selecting the column view will re-organise your data under into a series of columns. You can re-order your information to personalise the column view by dragging and dropping the column headings into your preferred order. You can also delete existing columns, or add new columns by dragging additional filter types into your search results. This will prompt the application to re-run the search to incorporate the new filters.

Tile View:


Column view:



Favourites are items and files within the Data Archive that you use on a regular basis. You may have a favourite search, view or Collection that you access frequently. You add these items to the favourites listing on the left of the Asset Finder in the first pane. Please note that you can 'favourite' a collection, but not an individual file.

If you’ve created a search or produced a View that you’d like to re-use regularly, you can save it into one of your collections, and then move that collection into the favourites pane.

When you save a search or a View, an icon will appear to the right of the collection (folder), in the second pane, to show that something has been saved in the folder. Re-opening a saved search will re-run it to capture any changes to your data since the search was last performed. Re-opening a saved view will update the search results to capture any changes to your data since the search was last performed.

Please note that you can save your favourites as:

  • public (that only you can see)
  • private read only (that you can edit and that your team members can see)
  • private read and write (that you and team members can see and edit).


Help and further information: