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For those who may not be able to visit us here at the National Library, have you been wondering how can you make the most of the resources available online to further your work or follow your general creative literature curiosity?
If you are interested in research for creative writing or literary scholarship, the National Library is always open online and is an invaluable repository to explore!
If you are an Australian resident, you will find that the key to our collections is a National Library card. This card allows you to access a select group of our online resources from home via our eResources service.
If you haven’t used eResources before, read our guide eResources at the National Library, which provides you with the basic information you need to make the most of this service. Alternatively, take a look at our eResources for scholarly research webinar. Although the library card provides you with access to our eResources service, it is worth remembering that not everything in the Library collections is available to read online. Much of our collection, including manuscripts, pictures, books, journals and newspapers, is only available in physical form and can only be read in our reading rooms. When you are next able to visit us, your library card can be used to request this material via our online catalogue. If you can’t get to our building at all, you can still access some materials via interlibrary loan and document supply services.
Once you have received your library card and read our guide on eResources at the National Library, you are ready to access the more than 200 licensed online services available to offsite users.
With such choice, we know it can be tricky to find the sources that can best help with your literary research. Your choice of resource depends on what you’re researching. Is it background for a novel? Context for a review or author biography? Scholarly literary research?
Browsing the category list, which can be found under the Browse eResources tab (see below), is a great place to start to find the best resource for your literary purposes. There is a general category for arts and humanities, as well as a more specific literature sub-category.
Some key resources include:
If you are considering writing a work of fiction, or in the depths of writing one, you will need to look broadly for background colour and authenticity, so consider the resources listed in the eResources category for Newspapers and Media.
Here you can provide key historical and cultural context. Some titles include:
Accurate research for an original work requires identifying culturally specific information. As an example, if researching the history of women or the LGBTQIA+ movement, both in Australia and overseas, try the following databases, available via eResources:
Finally, don’t forget the key free resources available. Among other subject areas covered, two that include content useful for researching significant Australian historical figures are:
Although many of our online resources require a National Library card to unlock them, our catalogue contains links to much freely available digitised material.
By clicking on the link to the Online Versions in the catalogue record, as shown in the following example, you can explore the writers of Australia’s past.
Some examples of the resources available to researchers include the following titles:
A.T. Bolton, Portrait of Thea Astley, 1987, nla.cat-vn2307834
This is just a taste of the wealth of material you can unlock on our website.
If you are looking for more detailed information to help you understand and access our collections and services, explore our:
You can also send us an enquiry via our Ask a Librarian service – we won't do the research for you, but we can provide research tips and strategies to point you in the right direction!
If all your research results in a publication, don’t forget to send us a copy. This will ensure that your treasured piece is preserved for future generations to enjoy and maybe use for their own research!