Since 2012 the AustLit team, with content development led by researcher Robert Thomson, has gathered information about a range of literary forms where the war is a subject or the author was involved in the conflict. The forms covered include:
A rich collection of more than 5,000 AustLit records for works has been created or updated during the course of the project. In addition, hundreds of authors have also been identified. Each of these records have been tagged with a World War I identifier to enable targeted searching for the people, organisations, and works influenced by or dealing with the war.
Some of the exhibitions and web pages associated with this project have been built by AustLit researchers Dr Clay Djubal and Dr Catriona Mills based on their research into theatre, film, and popular and children's fiction of the period.
Kerry Kilner has been overall project manager and General Editor.
Much of the project has in effect involved building on and expanding existing AustLit bibliographic and biographical records that have been compiled over the past decade or so. AustLit has perhaps been the most important source.
To date, we have surveyed a good deal of the World War I literature held at the Fryer Library, and have used the Fryer material to index individual works in the various selections, collections, anthologies, and journals.
In most cases, the authors were already listed in AustLit, but we have often found additional biographical material in the various works assessed for inclusion. The survey of Fryer Library material remains a work in progress.
The contemporary newspapers and magazines, from 1914 through to around 1939, have been one of the most important sources for identifying material previously unrecorded.
So much of the material in the contemporary newspapers has been revelatory and a lot of it has probably escaped the attention of earlier generations of microfilm researchers who haven’t had the benefit of the National Library of Australia's newspapers database, available through Trove, with its text recognition and search functions. In most instances, we have focused on the digitised newspapers available via Trove and Google News Archive.
In addition to literary works, newspapers have been a major source of biographical information on the World War I authors included here. Newspapers have also provided information on the theatre troupes and entertainers operating both at the various theatres of war and on the home front.
Many new additions have been made to the Trove digitised newspaper stable in the last year or so, including the lesser-brow and low-brow newspapers. Many of these contain a wealth of World War I material, and they often provide a different perspective on the war to the hi-brow publications (e.g., the Melbourne Weekly Times, which published a number of Sumner Locke’s wartime short stories: see the Sumner Locke exhibition). Many of the recently digitised regional newspapers are also significant. They provide insights into the way the war was reported in country districts and often contain literary works not (yet) found in the metropolitan press. The survey of literary material in the newspapers also remains a work in progress.
The survey of the newspapers has involved:
The project has mined the various Australian libraries for all manner of World War I related material. The National Library of Australia, the various state libraries, and the National Film and Sound Archive have proved rich sites of information:
Overseas libraries (e.g., the British Library), Wikipedia articles, family history websites, various journal articles, and numerous histories of the War and its aftermath have also been used to identify and explore avenues of research.
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