Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text

Series: Our favourite State Library eresources.

People often ask us what our most loved eresources are. Admittedly we all have a favourite, or two, or three. It’s hard to pick as there are so many wonderful State Library eresources available. In this series our Librarians and Library Technicians share with you their most favourite eresources and how they’ve been used to solve research queries. 

Next in the series we look at Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT), a big favourite of Librarian Jennifer Freeman.

Image of Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT) home page

So why is APAFT so fabulous?

APAFT provides access to Australian journal literature in the social sciences and humanities. It covers some popular magazines like the Women’s Weekly and The Bulletin, but also newspapers, scholarly journals, conference papers and book reviews. It remains the quintessential resource for Australian scholarly literature.

Best of all, you can access Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text online from home with your free State Library membership

A bit more about APAFT

APAFT started in 1945 as APAIS (Australian Public Affairs Information Service), and is still the oldest and most reliable sources for finding Australian journal literature. APAIS came out on a monthly basis, and indexed Australian journals held by the National Library of Australia. Indexing staff would carefully list all the articles they found in the journals they received under an array of subject headings. This way, year by year, you could track all significant articles on any given topic, across all disciplines published in Australia. For those who need to find historical articles published in Australia, this is the publication to use.

APAIS became available online through the INFORMIT service in the late 1970s and changed its name to APAFT (Australian Public Affairs Full Text) when full text was added to the records in 1995.

There are now over 560 journals indexed in this database, dating from 1978.  As its name suggests, APAFT subject coverage includes current affairs, economics, humanities, law, literature, politics and social sciences. If you are after a scholarly article that has been published in Australia or written by or about an Australian and published abroad, chances are you’ll find it in APAFT.

Some of the key journal titles you will find indexed in APAFT:

  • Australian Literary Studies
  • Australian Aboriginal Studies
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Griffith Review
  • Journal of Australian Political Economy
  • Journal of Industrial Relations
  • Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
  • Meanjin Quarterly
  • Overland
  • Quadrant
  • Queensland History Journal

It’s easy to find the journal you need by checking the A-Z list of publications – there is always an indicator if the journal is peer reviewed and in full text.

Standout features in APAFT

One of the outstanding features of APAFT is its facility to create sets of results that can be combined with connectors like ‘AND’, ‘OR’ and ‘NOT’. For those of you needing to do more complicated searches, this is a stand-out feature. Not only can you create many sets, but you can save the search and run it periodically to pick up new material added to the database. Results can be downloaded in various formats, emailed or printed. Here is an example of a search, including the first two results:

Image of search screen from Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT) database

The other standout feature of this database is its continued use of formal subject headings, rather than the ubiquitous computer-generated keywords in more recent databases. This allows for more focused retrieval of results.

If you are studying or have secondary students at home needing authoritative articles of substance about any aspect of Australian society, APAFT is the go-to database. Use it to find essays by public intellectuals like David Marr or Helen Garner, articles about the Gonski education reforms, find background to issues like the Constitution, the Republic Referendum – the list is endless.

Here are some Coronavirus-related examples of the sorts of article that can be found in this wonderful eResource:

Image of part of article "The politics of pandemics" found through Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT) database

Image of part of article "Invisible victims: Queensland children and the 1919 influenza pandemic" from Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT) database

Image of part of article from "Learnin from forgotten epidemics" from Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT) database

Join now and start searching Informit Australian Public Affairs Full Text (APAFT).

Look out for the next blog in this series #FavouriteEresources

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