How to get started

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The following list is a selection of websites that relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and are useful starting points for anyone interested in researching and recording language within their local or wider community.

  • State Library of Queensland - Find out about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, language centres and language resources in Queensland.
  • AIATSIS – Research Guides The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is a world-renowned research, collections and publishing organisation. They promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures, traditions, languages and stories, past and present
  • AUSTLANG – AIATSIS has developed an Indigenous Languages Database known as AUSTLANG; this system assembles information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages from various sources. The core of AUSTLANG is the AUSTLANG database (online Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages database) which is linked to Google Maps. The system has recently been updated and also facilitates access to other databases.
  • ASEDA – AIATSIS has established an Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive (ASEDA) which holds computer-based (digital) materials about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies collected from the late 1980s to early 2009.
  • ABC Open – ABC Open has a Mother Tongue Project which shares traditional languages and stories of the country that fill our maps and celebrate the incredible richness and diversity of Australia’s first languages.
  • ABC Open – Tips & Tutorials: this section provides handy technical advice and tips
  • Sharing Culture – Sharing Culture is leading the way in authentic Cultural Education Programs for Schools & Aboriginal Communities, providing Two Way Learning Opportunities.
  • State Library of NSW (SLNSW) – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language materials are currently being made available as a trial through the Library's Rediscovering Indigenous Languages project. If you are interested in helping SLNSW to transcribe these materials please contact Indigenous Services team
  • State Library of NSW - Discover your language by map - the map indicates only a general location of language groups boundaries, and is not intended to be exact.
  • University of Melbourne – Language links: aims to preserve and revitalise some of the oldest languages in the world by locating, digitising and providing access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander word lists, language records and other cultural documents, starting with the State Library of New South Wales’ collections.
  • Ling Sync - Free Tool for Creating and Maintaining a Shared Database For Communities, Linguists and Language.
  • The Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages is a living archive of endangered literature in Aboriginal languages from around the Northern Territory.
  • LCNAU – Languages & Cultures Network for Australian Universities - Indigenous Languages Cluster - is a network that brings together individuals, language programs, university structures and tertiary institutions. It aims to strengthen the tertiary languages sector in Australia through advocacy, collaboration, research and support.


  • State Library of Queensland – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages blog - this space is a portal for State Library, IKCs, Indigenous Language Centres, Community Language Workers and others to share and network about Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
  • VACLANG - Victoria Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL). Keep up to date with workshops, events and updates on what is happening with VACL in sharing of languages across Victoria.
  • RNLD – Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity - RNLD hosts an active email discussion list, a Facebook group and a Twitter feed. RNLD is also part of the group which supports the Endangered Languages and Cultures blog.
  • University of Sydney – This blog covers many different projects and groups all with the common theme of endangered languages and culture. More information can be found on the links on the sidebar.

Language apps for Apple iOS & Android

  • AIKUMA -  Aikuma is a free Android App for recording and translating spoken language. Make your own recordings, share them, and translate recordings into other languages.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Apps - The advent of new technologies has created opportunities to develop learning tools for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and languages.  This post explores some of the Language Apps available.
  • Wunderkammer - is a Java ME MIDlet for storing and displaying multimedia dictionaries on mobile phones. (ensure the latest version of Java installed).
  • CommDoc - is a great example of a mobile phone app for health providers working across remote communities in NT.


  • Book Creator- is available as a software program for your pc or an app that allows the user to add text & diagrams to create a book. How to tutorial.
  • Rnld – Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity have created the following list of software that is ideal for documenting language.
  • WeSay - is an Open Source project aimed at providing computer tools to help communities perform several language development activities on their own. It helps people build a dictionary in their own language.
  • eLearning Industry – other ways of documenting language is in the creation of digital stories. Digital storytelling tools and Resources can be found there.


  • PC or Mac with Windows or iOS 7 or later operating systems
  • iPad or Android Tablet/Device
  • Audio/ Video recording device eg: Zoom H4nPro Video Handy Recorder
  • Camera (stills or video)
  • Recording accessories to include: HDMI cable for connecting with an HDTV, a windscreen to reduce noise, tripod with adjustable-length legs, a padded-shell case, an AC adapter and an USB cable.

Digital storytelling tools (Free)

  • eLearning INDUSTRY: This website provides a comprehensive list of free digital storytelling resources that can be used for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

New Media Toolkit examples

  • ANU: Taking to the airwaves: a strategy for language revival; article explores the use of radio in language revival.
  • Ethnos Project: The Digital Memory Toolkit aims to improve digital literacy in community memory projects by giving project teams insight and tools necessary to undertake digital memory projects.
  • The Language Archive: has topics related to language resources, tools, technology and archiving.
  • Miromaa : You will find a list of software that is useful in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language maintenance
  • New Media Toolkit:  is a collection of online tools, tutorials and resources  designed to help not for profit, ethnic and community organizations information on technologies and best practices for telling a community’s stories.
  • SIL – Field Linguist Toolbox : is a data management and analysis tool for field linguists.
  • State Library of Queensland: Digitisation Toolkit provides information about how to digitise Queensland's heritage collections in order to provide access, use and reuse from anywhere and at any time via the internet.

Keeping Traditional Language Alive – Guugu Yimidhirr
This video shows how traditional language is incorporated in everyday life in Cooktown. We speak with Alberta Hornsby, Irene Hammett and Sonja Gibson who share some of their thoughts on how this is being achieved through language classes at the local primary school, bilingual books and family life in the home. This video was filmed in the Cooktown Public Library with assistance from the library staff.

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