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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources

This LibGuide provides a starting point for finding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library materials, resources and subject guides

Help with knowing where and how to find Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources in the Library can be found in the Library Bites for Teaching video.

This video provides an overview of the various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander materials and resources the library has. It also highlights information about protocols, the Indigenous Collections (including Yaitya Ngutupira) and demonstrates how to access the the online materials on offer.

Library Bites for Teaching: Finding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources (9:39)

Starting your search

Start by looking for the main ideas or concepts in your assignment topic.

Let's look at this sample topic:  Explore the Yolngu peoples’ influence to the global music genre and discuss how the economic and social outcomes have impacted the communities.

In the topic above there are three main concepts:

Yolngu people

Global music

Economic outcomes

When searching in the catalogue and databases, you can join these keywords using AND. This narrows your search, instructing the catalogue or database that you're only interested in items that contain both of your terms. For example, a search for Yolngu people AND global music will only return records containing both the terms Yolngu and global music.


Finding alternative terms

Authors may use different keywords to describe the same concept so it is a good idea to identify alternative keywords (also known as synonyms or similar terms) to broaden your search.

For our sample topic some alternative terms for each main concept could be:

Combine these similar search terms with OR. This broadens your search, instructing the catalogue or database that you're interested in items that contain either of your terms. For example, a search for global music OR world music will locate all records containing either the terms global music OR world music.

Note that the terms "Indigenous Australians" and "Aboriginal Australians" and “First Nations” and “First Australians” are often used interchangeably in books and articles so including both in your search may increase relevant results.

Search tips

You can use these tips in the Library catalogue, databases and Google to enhance your search:

Phrase searching means searching for two words or a string of words as an exact phrase. By using this technique you will only retrieve items where those words appear together in the text. To search for a phrase, add double quotes around the terms. For example: "Indigenous Australian".

Truncation (usually an asterisk *) is useful for finding different endings of a word. The asterisk is added after the last common letter of the variations. For example the search term teen* will search for teen, teens, teenage, teenager, teenagers.


Google searching

Google is a useful tool for finding Indigenous Australian literature. Keep in mind:

  • A simple search for broad keywords from your topic is often the best approach (e.g. Indigenous OR Aboriginal AND languages).
  • Google searches will usually return large numbers of results so consider limiting your search by date (e.g. last 5/10 years), language (e.g. English) etc. in Advanced Search if you are getting too many.

You may find that sites relating to indigenous populations in other countries are also included in your results. Try adding site:au to your Google search to restrict your results to Australian materials e.g. indigenous or aboriginal language site:au