20-year milestone for AustLit

31 August 2021

Australia’s national literature database, AustLit, celebrates its 20th anniversary in September and is counting down to its one millionth record.

Established in its current form in 2001, AustLit is the fundamental bibliographical database and resource for research and teaching on Australian literary and print cultures.

It is a non-profit project driven by a current team of eight at The University of Queensland and has, in its foundational years, partnered with 11 Australian universities and the National Library of Australia.

AustLit’s Acting Director and Research & Content Manager Dr Catriona Mills said it was thanks to the team of talented researchers, indexers, and developers that the database has reached this celebratory milestone.

“For 20 years these teams have worked to build AustLit, to keep it relevant and dynamic, and to meet the needs of a diverse range of users.

“Each one of these team members has made AustLit what it is today,” Dr Mills said.

No other country in the world has produced such a comprehensive record of a nation’s literary, narrative, history, and print cultures.

AustLit spans from pre-colonisation to the present and each record is meticulously hand-built by the indexing team on a custom interface that is updated daily.

The database encompasses storytelling in all its forms – from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander oral histories to the latest on stage and screen, and everything in between.

Research projects on AustLit cover topical themes such as Climate Change in Australian Narratives and Children’s Literature and the Environment, suitable for everyone, from teachers to librarians, students, writers, researchers, and those with a passion for Australian storytelling.

BlackWords is the heart of AustLit. Originally launched in 2007, BlackWords is a specialised database recording the lives and works of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors, writers, and storytellers.

Dr Mills said AustLit aims to increase the accessibility of and the engagement with the rich storytelling history of the continent, so everyone can appreciate our unique modern identities.

In celebrating the 20th anniversary, AustLit will be launching a digital exhibition in late September around AustLit’s history, acknowledging contributors, university partners, and significant achievements with hopes for the future.

AustLit invites researchers, teachers, librarians, students, and anyone who may have an anecdote, testament, or even ephemera that they would like to include in AustLit’s upcoming 20th anniversary digital exhibition to contact us via email.

AustLit welcomes all contributions via their online submission form .

“AustLit’s mission is to be definitive information resource and research environment for Australian literary, print, and narrative cultures,” Dr Mills said.

For more information, and to join AustLit in celebrating this auspicious milestone, keep an eye on AustLit’s newsletters and Twitter for the latest updates and announcements.

Subscribe to AustLit’s newsletter and follow AustLit on Twitter.

Media: Bianca Millroy, Engagement and Subscriptions Officer, info-austlit@austlit.edu.au