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eResources for literature

eResources for literature
Research Australia's stories
31 October 2016

As part of our ongoing series on eResources at the National Library, we are taking a look at some of our key resources for studying literature.

To access these services, visit our eResources portal and search for each resource under the Databases A-Z tab.

Eight girls reading on a line of beds

Fairfax Corporation. (1930). Eight young girls reading on a line of beds in an orphanage, New South Wales, ca. 1930s  nla.obj-163219782


First up, AustLit.

If you are looking for information on Australian literature first try AustLit, the principal resource for this subject area. It is unique, authoritative and accessible, perfect for anyone with an interest in Australian literature, both contemporary and historical.

What does AustLit include?

AustLit contains a wealth of information including reviews, critical studies, references to books and journal articles, biographical and bibliographical information, study guides and teacher resources. Material dates from 1788 to the present, however it does include references to pre-colonial works and the indigenous story telling of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Both full text and index material is included, as well as references to articles appearing in journals and newspapers.

AustLit also provides useful links to external content such as Trove, and texts digitised by other content providers.

If you are undertaking more in depth study, visit the AustLit research section for information on specific research areas such as World War I in Australian Literary Culture, Blackwords (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literary cultures and traditions) and Regional Literature and Writers.

Geraldine Brooks

Power, Greg & National Library of Australia, Author, Geraldine Brooks at the National Library of Australia for the 2009 Ray Mathew Lecture, Canberra  23 October 2009, nla.obj-132063390

Hidden gems

The AustLit information trails and highlighted research areas are curated collections that provide guidance and assistance on particular literature subject areas. Designed for teachers, they include topics such as Blackwords information trails, Asylum seeker narratives, Asian–Australian children’s literature and publishing.

Thomas Kenneally

 Kelly, Nathan David, [Portrait of Thomas Keneally, 1996], nla.obj-136841933

Other online literature resources

AustLit is not the Library's only resource for Australian and international literature. You may want to try the following databases to extend your research.

Australian Book Review: Online Archive

First published in 1961, The Australian Book Review (ABR) is one of Australia’s great cultural and literary magazines. It includes reviews, commentaries, essays and creative writing.

The ABR Online Archive is a growing digital version of the ABR with content available back to 2004, including the current issue. Prior to 2004 you can find it in print at the National Library back to the first issue.


Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT) is a key resource for studying Australian literature, as well as all other aspects of Australian culture and society. It is available online in full text back to 1994, plus index information to 1978. It contains content from key literary journals such as Australian Literary Studies and Overland. 

Handy hint: APAFT commenced as the Australian Public Affairs Information Service (APAIS) way back in 1945. These early index volumes can provide useful information on early research and are available in print in the National Library building. 

Literature Resource Centre

A wealth of information is available from the Literature Resource Centre for the study of international and Australian literature. Both full text material and index references are included, and the content covers critical essays, biographical information and reviews.

Also included is the Gale Literary Index, a useful online index to various printed literary products from the publisher Gale. Although no longer received, many of the 43 literary series indexed are held in print by the National Library and are useful sources for the literature researcher.

 Nettie Palmer

Bryans, Lina, Portrait of Nettie Palmer  1958, nla.obj-135684487

Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive 1902-1910

One of the greatest and most influential literary publications is available to you to search: the Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive 1902-1910. An extremely useful resource for researching the impact and influence of Australian authors internationally.

How can I access these resources?

They are available onsite at the National Library, and registered readers can access them from home through our eResources portal with a National Library card. If you don’t have a card, you can apply for one online.

Handy hint: if the article from an Australian journal isn't available online in full text, check our catalogue for the journal title. If we hold it in print you can request to view it at the National Library. Remember to check Trove as well, as the printed journal could be held in a library near to you. 

Need help?

If you need further assistance researching Australian literature, or need help with any of our eResources, you could try: 

Still stuck with your research? Ask a Librarian.

My grandma used to say a poem to me about Dossie and Flossie........ It began - Dosssie and Flossie were two little girls With the bluest of eyes and fairest of curls The poem went on and on to tell a story of how they went out into the street and began playing in the gutter and dirtied their beautiful dresses and were in trouble. I have never met anyone who knows the poem. Granny went to school in Dergholm, Victoria and gave me a love of poetry and learning. Now I'm Granny and it's my turn to teach my darlings. Can you Help? L. C.