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How to Search AustLit

  • AustLit distinguishes between single works and works that contain other works using combinations of definitions. Works are further distinguished by the nature of their content.

    Choose from the drop down menus.


    The Forms are much more familiar concepts, closer to their use in common speech.

    'Life story' is almost always used for Indigenous autobiographies, often spoken then transcribed and published by someone other than the speaker.

    'Fiction (Unclassified)' is used most often for extracts when it cannot be determined whether the work will appear in a novel, or a collection of short stories.

    'Essay' here means a relatively short piece that discusses or proposes without claiming to be a complete or rigorous scholarly exposition.

    'Prose' is, here, the longer form of an 'Essay'.


    Not all works in AustLit are designated a genre. For example, the novels of Patrick White and Miles Franklin are not while the novels of Kim Wilkins and Sean Williams are.

    'Opera', 'Pantomime', 'Revusical', and 'Sketch' are all genres of performance, usually theatre.

    There are disputes over genre terminology. To search for speculative fiction, choose 'Horror', 'Fantasy', and 'Science fiction'.

    Work Type

    AustLit defines an anthology as a work that contains the work of more than three authors.

    Collected works are posthumous collections of the work of deceased writers.

    Selected works are works that contain the work of three or less authors.

    Multi-chapter works are works by the same author where each chapter is a discrete entity - a book of critical articles, say.

    Series are divided into author and publisher series. The 'Billabong Books' series is an author series by Mary Grant Bruce, while 'Popular Detective' is a series by many authors published by Action Comics.

    Periodicals include magazines and journals and are distinguished from newspapers by, logically, less frequent publication and thus less 'news'.

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