What’s new

August 2016 update

Another 75 items have been added to the Virtual Library, bringing the total number of items to over 500, representing over 150 languages ... read more

How to use this Virtual Library

To find a resource, use search, or choose a state, language or category on the left (see Help for more information).

Or: find items by year of first listing in this Virtual Library:


Finding resources | Sending feedback and suggestions | Language names and codes

Finding resources

The purpose of this Virtual Library is to make it easy to find informative, reliable resources about Australian languages. You can find resources in this catalogue in the following ways:


  • Search for some text Text search Enter some text in the box, make sure All fields is selected, then click Search. Note:
    • this searches these fields in this catalogue: title, source, description, language name, language code.
    • this is a simple search only: entering "Canberra song" will find all resources that contain either "Canberra" or "song".

  • Search for a language Text search You can enter some text to find resources for a particular language(s). Make sure Language name/code is selected, then click Search. There are several options - you can type in:
    • a language name, e.g. Pitjantjatjara. Resources for that language will be displayed.
    • the first few characters of a language name. Resources for all languages matching those first letters will be displayed. For example, if you type in "pit" you will find resources for Pitjantjatjara and Pitta Pitta.
    • a language code. For example, if you type in "ptj", resources for Pitjantjatjara will be displayed. The language codes are ISO 639-3 and can be looked up at http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp.

      • not all languages have codes.
      • this virtual library uses the language names supplied by the resource creators, and does not re-classify the resources or languages under standard names or codes.
      • not everybody agrees with the existing scheme of language codes.
      • see below for more information about language names and codes.
    • The search is not case sensitive, i.e. "PI" is the same as "Pi" or "pi".


  • Choose a state or region, e.g. NSW, Vic (Victoria), SA (South Australia) etc. The page will then display all the resources listed for that state. Note that many resources are not associated with particular states so you may need to search under other categories.
  • Choose a language. Click on the link ("Click to show language names") and a list of language names will be displayed. Click on any of these to see resources for that language.
  • Choose a category. All the resources are classified under categories such as Organisations, Dictionaries, Films & videos, Language rights, Academic papers etc. Click on the link ("Click to categories") and a list of categories will be displayed. Click on any category to see resources for that category.

Sending feedback and suggestions

Please send suggestions for sites that should be included in this Virtual Library. To do so, click here, or on the "Suggest" links.

Also, to the right of each resource is a feedback button (Suggest a resource or send feedback.) that you can use to send feedback or updates about the resource. Note that your feedback will be used by the editor to improve the Virtual Library but will not appear on the site.

Language names and codes

You will see that many results are displayed under language names, such as Pitjantjatjara [pjt] or Yolngu [aus-x-yoq]. The first part is the language name (according to the resource's creator; see below), and the second part (in square brackets) is a language code.

About language names: The status of many language names is unclear. Some languages have many names, or many ways of spelling them. There are names such as Yolngu and Western Desert that apply to larger language groupings.

In this Virtual Library, there is no attempt to regularise, classify or otherwise interpret the language names used by the authors/creators of resources. In other words, the author/creator's version of the language name is almost always used. This means that resources will not always correspond with linguists' or others' versions of language names.

About language codes: The situation with language codes is even more complicated. The ISO 639-3 language codes are found at https://www.ethnologue.com/codes/download-code-tables. However, many languages do not have codes; and some codes do not correspond with languages in the way that the resource creators intended. Therefore, in this virtual library, codes are used in the following way:

  • if there is clearly an applicable ISO 639-3 code for a resource, it is provided. In this case, you will see a 3-letter code (such as [pjt]).
  • if there is no code, the language is assigned a code (e.g. [aus-x-yoq]) in the following way:
    • the code begins with aus, a "macro-code" that applies to all Australian languages
    • the x in the middle indicates that the rest of the code is a "private use" subcode, and does not represent a widely accepted standard.
    • the final 3 letters have been temporarily assigned to the language. In most cases, the 3-letter code consists of the first 2 letters of the language name followed by q, or, in the case of 2-word names, the first letter of each word, followed by q. Where a code is already allocated, the first and third letters of the name will be used rather than the first and second.
    • note that this Virtual Library does not propose official codes for languages, and no code following [aus-x-...] should be taken in any sense to be an official or standard code.

Resources can be accessed via a URL that ends in the language code, for example, you can find resources for Pitjantjatjara using the URL http://www.dnathan.com/VL/index.php?language=pjt.

Resources can also be accessed via a URL that ends in the language name, for example, you can find resources for Pitjantjatjara using the URL http://www.dnathan.com/VL/index.php?language=Pitjantjatjara.