Need to locate information about Australia and its people published in journals, conferences and reports rather than in books?
Informit is the premier source for online Australasian information. Many Australian academic articles never reach the major overseas databases because the local journals in which they are published are not indexed by the major databases.
RMIT Publishing created Informit in 1990 and maintains it in collaboration with many Australasian agencies and institutions that index and abstract a wide range of Australasian sources of information from different subject specialisations to suit their own clientele. Informit consists of more than 80 individual databases that all can be searched through one interface.
Each database can be subscribed to separately, so database coverage will vary from library to library. The NMA has mainly selected databases in the social sciences, environmental science, history and law areas. While having many databases ensures an extremely wide coverage of Australian journals, conferences and books, there are some difficulties:
- each database has a different range of dates for their coverage
- each uses its own thesaurus to create index terms, making it best to search by keyword rather than subject terms
Tip: it is useful to check the 'more info' link for information on each database, including which library is responsible for its content.
Information on Informit databases available to NMA
APA-FT (Australian Public Affairs Information Service - Full Text) - a subject index to scholarly articles in the social sciences and humanities published in Australia, and to selected periodical articles, conference papers, book and newspaper articles on Australian economic, social, political and cultural affairs. It is the longest established publicly available indexing service in Australia and is maintained by the NLA.
AHRR (Australian Historic Records Register) - a list of paper-based records held in private hands in Australia dating from settlement to 1988. Source documents include letters, diaries, photographs, financial records, posters, sketches, recipe books, catalogues, minute books, registers and other material.
AUSCHRON (Australian Chronology) - a chronology of Australian historic & current events that provides a listing of significant events in Australian history with emphasis on current happenings (1993 to present), and covering all topics from politics and law to the arts and sport. Each entry provides citations to key sources and background notes on the event. Sources used include newspapers, contemporary records such as explorers' journals, and secondary sources such as books and journal articles.
Environmental suite of databases
These databases cover many separate aspects of environmental science and index and abstract books, reports, theses, video recordings, manuscripts and pictorial matter. They can be selected separately or as a group by ticking the box next to the main heading. The suite includes the following individual databases:
- ELIXIR - material collated from 18 departmental libraries and regional collections within the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment. It has specialist collections in agriculture, mineral resources, conservation and land management
- ENDANGER - Threatened species in Australia: a select bibliography from 1960 to present
- REEF - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park province database
- STREAMLINE - Australia's natural resources database
The first screen in Informit requires you to select the databases you wish to search. Select by ticking the boxes or select all, then click continue.
The Standard search screen allows a quick keyword search across the databases.
The Guided search screen assists you to use keywords in specific fields and to use combinations of the Boolean operators and and or.
On both screens there is a 'Quick Tips' panel which has examples of search strategies. Check boxes beside the search box allow you to select full text items only and to limit the timeframe of the search. When entering different dates, be careful to check the box as well.
There are three tabs under the search box which control your results:
- View results shows the bibliographic details of each iterm retrieved, 'more detail' will bring up the complete record, and items printed in blue are hyperlinks to further items by the same author or on the same subject. Following up on these links can be a very effective search strategy
- View search history allows you to combine sets created by separate searches using the Boolean operators
- View marked records combines all records selected by checking the boxes into one list for printing, saving or emailing
The Informit help screen provides lots of useful information including guides to searching and navigating index databases as well as browsing publications on Informat.
Last updated 13 May 2011
Page last updated: 23 October 2012
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