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About AustLit

  • Scope

    While AustLit's mission relates to Australian literary, print, and narrative cultures, what counts as ‘Australian’ and ‘literary’ is influenced by current debates and changing reading, teaching and research patterns. While AustLit is as inclusive as possible, and responds to researchers’ current interests, our scope policy draws boundaries for reasons of both cohesiveness and resource limits. These boundaries are explained here:
  • —Who is an AustLit author?

    AustLit defines 'Australian' authors as:

    • born in Australia and a formative period of their lives spent here, e.g. expatriate authors such as Clive James

    International authors are included in AustLit, if their works:


    AustLit records comprehensive information about Australian organisations such as publishers, funding agencies, and other organisations that support our literary culture.


    AustLit also records information about international organisations that have a relationship with Australian literature.


    Contact us if you believe you are eligible for inclusion in AustLit or if there is information missing from your record.

  • —Coverage

    AustLit aims to include the bibliographic history and, where possible, links to the full text of creative Australian literature: fiction, drama, poetry, children's and young adult literature, travel writing, autobiography, memoir, biography, essays, Indigenous life stories and oral history.

    AustLit also covers critical material on Australian literary works, creative writers and critics, on Australian literature in general and biographical material about Australian writers and other significant figures in Australian literature. Material is also included about organisations concerned with the development and production of Australian literature and its distribution such as publishers, distributors, literary agencies, magazines, journals and newspapers, writers' groups, writer's festivals and the Literature Board of the Australia Council.

    Information relating to Australian awards, prizes and literature funding, and manuscripts can also be found here.

    Does your work qualify for inclusion?

    To be included in AustLit as an author, illustrator or translator, your work must have been published either in book form, or in a journal, magazine or newspaper. Playwrights and screenwriters who have had their work produced are also eligible for inclusion. The kind of writing you do must fall within AustLit's scope for inclusion.


    Selective or minimal coverage

    If it is 'non-literary', non-fiction by Australian authors is either not included in AustLit or is covered only minimally. Examples of minimally covered material include:

    • works of an unambiguously political, historical, economic, sociological, practical or scientific nature
    • textbooks, guidebooks and information books
    • columns and feature articles in newspapers with social or personal comment or opinion that are primarily journalistic in nature and not distinguished as literary by editorial comment
    • works focusing on the broader areas of Australian studies, culture and language

    International works are either not included in AustLit or covered minimally.

    Examples of minimally covered material include:

    • works that meet the criteria for inclusion in an AustLit research project
    • works that have a relationship to an Australian work

    Works written by authors before they arrived in Australia or after they left Australia (especially authors who were born in a country other than Australia) may appear inconsistently across the database due to changes in policy across AustLit's lifetime. Please contact us if you want further information about a particular author.


    Organisations covered

    AustLit covers organisations that publish, represent, and financially support Australian authors:

    • Australian publishers, including multinational publishers with a publishing base in Australia
    • Australian authors' groups and societies, such as the Australian Society of Authors
    • film and theatre production companies, such as Southern Star
    • writers' centres in the states and territories, such as the Victorian Writers' Centre
    • literary agencies, including multinational agencies with a local base in Australia
    • arts and cultural organisations, such as the Literature Board of the Australia Council
    • arts and literary festivals, such as the Brisbane Writers' Festival

    Online resources

    AustLit aims to provide access to high quality online resources such as web-based journals and texts. Sites by and about Australian authors, publisher sites, and organisations relevant to Australian literary and print culture will be indexed. We also link to the National Library's PANDORA project.

    While we cannot vouch for the longevity or validity of the contents of indexed websites or e-publications, online resources recorded on AustLit conform as far as we can ascertain to the following standards:

    • provide access to accurate information, either current or with retrospective validity
    • allow links from other services
    • follow accepted privacy and practice guidelines
    • not breach copyright provisions
    • not include any potentially defamatory material, inappropriate material or any other legally questionable content
  • —Scope Policy Changes and Limitations

    Because of the evolving nature of literary and cultural studies and AustLit's value to researchers within these areas, the inclusion policy for AustLit material is subject to change over time.

    Over the past two decades the partner universities that made up the collaborative endeavour that is AustLit has invested heavily in indexing and describing published works in print and online. Unfortunately, in light of the reduction in our funding in recent years and the ever increasing amount of online publishing, we have been forced to make a difficult decision and alter our indexing practices.

    We can now only afford to index the contents of a smaller number of Australian periodicals than we have done previously and, while we will continue to provide publication details of a large number of periodicals publishing fiction, poetry, criticism, history, essays, and cultural studies, as of 2017, we can no longer index every individual item published in the many anthologies, selected and collected works, and periodicals that appear each year. We simply do not have enough staff to do the work.

    We are currently refining a simplified interface to allow volunteers to assist with indexing and describing individual poems and other works published within journals, collections, and online. If you would like to volunteer to add publication data to AustLit, please indicate your interest by email.

    Other examples of changes to policy include (but are not limited to):

    • inclusion criteria were widened in 2002 to include more literary non-fiction
    • new literary forms such as Oral History and Life Story were added in 2007 as part of the development of the BlackWords dataset
    • Burlesques, Revusicals and other forms were added as part of the Australian Popular Theatre dataset
    • the representation of the role of the scriptwriter in the film and television industry was extended in 2010 alongside the production history of associated film works

    Retrospective coverage will inevitably be incomplete in these areas.

  • Source Material and Practices

  • —Sources

    AustLit indexers and bibliographers gather information from current and retrospective sources including:

    • monographs/books (single volume content, selected and collected works, anthologies)
    • journals, magazines (including fanzines), newspapers and newsletters
    • film/television/stage adaptations of Australian literary works
    • sound recordings of books
    • sound recordings/transcriptions of interviews with creative agents
    • manuscript collections
    • radio programs
    • author and publisher websites and blogs
    • arts and literary festival programs

    AustLit's coverage is stronger in some areas than in others and some publications are indexed selectively. Some specialist areas are rich and virtually complete, while others continue to evolve. We welcome contributions. Please see our Participate page for ways you can add to our content.

    AustLit currently indexes relevant content published in hundreds of journals and major Australian newspapers, but not exhaustively. Journals and newspapers are much more comprehensively indexed from 1988 onwards than for earlier years although a major retrospective indexing project was undertaken between 2009 and 2011 which led to a vast increase in coverage.

  • —Third Party Materials

    AustLit provides access to selected full text materials, and has obtained permissions from the copyright holders to make these identified materials available to our users. Users are free to view, print, email, download and save these full text materials for private use, in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968. Users may not alter, remove copyright declarations from, or republish these materials in any way unless both AustLit and the copyright holder grant permission to do so. Educational institutions subscribing to AustLit may include identified AustLit records in course packs and e-reserves for their bona fide students.

    AustLit also provides access to back-runs of selected Australian literary periodicals in collaboration with the editors of these journals. Copyright clearance to reproduce the individual issues has been granted by the editor/s. This material has been made available as a service to AustLit subscribers and their patrons who are free to view, print, email, download for private use, in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968. Users may not alter, remove copyright declarations from, or republish these materials in any way unless both AustLit and the copyright holder grant permission to do so.

  • —External Websites

    Links to sites outside AustLit are provided as an information service only. While AustLit's Scope Policy encourages selection of internet resources which do not obviously breach the provisions of the Australian Copyright Act 1968, AustLit provides no warrants or guarantees that external sites comply with this Act or similar intellectual property protection laws and statutes. As AustLit does not hold copyright on any external web sites, any requests to re-use or republish external web site material should be directed to the relevant website owners.
  • Accessibility Standards

    AustLit attempts to adhere to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ( guidelines 1.1 through to 4.1) and achieves Level A (and often Level AA) conformance with a few exceptions.

    The AustLit website uses ARIA landmarks to separate the page into regions, has a screen-reader-only link at the top of the page to bypass navigation and go straight to the content, and almost all non-text content such as images have text descriptions.

    The exceptions to the W3C guidelines found on the site have to do with occasional embedded videos (through YouTube or Vimeo) that do not have captions or audio-only versions, but in these cases text-only equivalents are provided.

  • Privacy Policy

  • —Personal Data: AustLit Users

    Any personal data entered in the AustLit website will never be shared with any third party unless required to do so by law.

    Email alerts can be opted out of using the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any alert email. You will have the option to unsubscribe from alerts for a particular author you are following or to unsubscribe from all alerts.

    Individual subscribers can retrieve all information kept by AustLit by emailing All information about individual subscribers can be deleted on request.

  • —Author Information

    AustLit gathers information on the authors listed in our database from a range of public sources, including library catalogues, author websites, biographies in print publications, and others. We focus on material relating to the authors' careers and publications, but may include personal information such as heritage or birthdates.

    Please contact us with any queries about author biographies.

    AustLit does not have the contact details of authors listed on our website.

  • —Copyright

    Content generated for the AustLit website (including online exhibitions and essays) remains the property of AustLit under Australian copyright law. AustLit permits the downloading and transmission of content for research purposes.

    AustLit does not own the copyright or the production rights to third-party works whose bibliographical details are listed in the database. AustLit does not republish in-copyright work, but often links to original work published in digital format on other websites.

  • —Usage Statistics

    AustLit collects statistics on subscriber usage. This information is available to the subscriber. This data contains the type of record/page viewed in AustLit. Where the subscriber is an institution, AustLit does collect data pertaining to individuals utilising the subscription.

    AustLit no longer uses Google Analytics to gather statistics about the usage of its website.

  • —Other Cookies and Tracking

    AustLit uses cookies for keeping the viewer logged in and for storing preferences. Subscribers that use IP recognition can use AustLit with cookies disabled, but other subscribers will need cookies enabled to log in to AustLit.

    Some AustLit web pages may also contain embedded content from non-AustLit sites, such as videos, maps, and audio. This content may contain cookies from the originating site. Please refer to the original site for their privacy policies.

  • —Emails

    AustLit retains copies of emails sent to the AustLit email account in accordance with The University of Queensland's Record Management Policy. We do not otherwise record or share email addresses of correspondents.
  • Licensing and Re-use

    AustLit's licences are tailored to types of subscriber. 

    Much of AustLit's published material is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    You are free:

    • to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
    • to Remix – to adapt the work

    under the following conditions:

    • Attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
    • Noncommercial – You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
    • Share alike

    Notice – For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page, where the full conditions of this license are explained.

    Notice Contact us for information about what is and is not covered by this licence.

    AustLit Full Text and Teaching Resources

    In some cases, such as the teaching material published by AustLit from 2016 onwards, AustLit retains full copyright ownership.

    Notice Contact us for information regarding the reuse of AustLit material.

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