The Bibliography of Australian Literature is the result of more than 20 years of collaborative research into the publication history of creative writing by Australian authors. It continues a long tradition of bibliographical scholarship in Australia.
Beginning in 1990, the Bibliography project had the ambitiously broad and deceptively simple goal of listing all separately published works of creative literature by Australian authors since 1788. Genres covered are poetry, drama, fiction and children's writing, and the Bibliography aims to include all works by Australian authors regardless of perceived literary merit.
The precursor to the Bibliography was the production and publication of the two-volume List of Australian Writers 1788-1992, which collated biographical and genre details on all eligible Australian authors (approximately 9,500) and formed the basis of the fuller listing of works.
In 1997 the project grew to incorporate research partnerships with Flinders University, Deakin University, the University of Western Australia, and The University of Queensland, bringing together, under a project called Australia's Literary Heritage, regional and genre-specific work then being undertaken. All author details and bibliographic details were stored in specially designed linked databases at Monash University.
In 1999 the Australia's Literary Heritage database combined with the AUSTLIT database project at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), now a part of the University of NSW to form the foundation of the AustLit we now know. Content from both projects, plus the specialist datasets from around the country was merged and work continued on producing the multi-volume Bibliography. Four volumes of the The Bibliography of Australian Literature under the general editorship of Professor John Hay and John Arnold were published between 2001 and 2008. A supplementary volume is being developed at the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University.