AIATSIS Language and Peoples Thesaurus


Using the thesaurus

Important:

The thesaurus has been set up in a way that allows automatic searching of the AIATSIS on-line catalogue, Mura®. Before clicking on the links to search the catalogue, please read our sensitivity message.

Types of searches you can perform

There is a drop-down box of different search options, where you can select the type of search you want to make. It is currently set (as a default) to "Search terms by keyword".

Search terms by keyword

Enter in a word or set of letters in the search box, then click on the search button, and this setting will search for that string anywhere within the term. For example, typing in ' wong ' will find Wongaibon language as well as Innawonga language.

Terms that start with ...

The search option will only find terms beginning with the letters you have typed into the search box. If you know the start of the term you are looking for, but not the whole term, use this option (it will bring back fewer results than "Search thesaurus by keyword"). For example, typing in ' wir ' would find Wiradjuri language, but not Yirawirung language.

Display formats

The initial search will display a list terms in alphabetical order starting with your search term.

Clicking on a term will display the full record for that term along with its relationships to other terms. Terms in italics are the non-preferred terms. Clicking on those terms will display the full record with a link to the preferred term.

BT: Broader Term
NT: Narrower Term
RT: Related Term
UF: Use For

Structure and display

Hierarchical relationships

Australian Indigenous languages have been classified into language families and this structure is reflected in the thesaurus as a hierarchical structure.

The following abbreviations have been used in the thesaurus: "Broader Terms" represent more general concepts than "Narrower Terms", which are more specific terms. These are labelled as BT (broader term) and its reciprocal relationship of NT (narrower term).

Example:

Pama-Nyungan language family
  NT: Wiradjuric language group
Wiradjuric language group
  BT: Pama-Nyungan language family

Searching the AIATSIS catalogue from the thesaurus

This thesaurus has been set up to allow automatic searching of the AIATSIS catalogue. Once you have displayed the full record for a term, the 'Search AIATSIS' link will give you the option of performing an automatic search of the AIATSIS catalogue, Mura®, for that specific term. Further refinement of the search by item type is available from the drop-down menu to the right of 'Search AIATSIS'.

Description of search options

All
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to all item types in the AIATSIS catalogue for the term from the thesaurus.

Books
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to books, and book chapters from the AIATSIS catalogue for the term from the thesaurus.

Manuscripts
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to manuscripts, microfiche and microfilm from the AIATSIS catalogue for the term from the thesaurus.

Microfilm and Microfiche
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to microform from the AIATSIS catalogue for the term from the thesaurus.

Language collection
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to items in the language collection from the AIATSIS catalogue for the term from the thesaurus.

Recorded sound collection
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to the recorded sound collections held in the AIATSIS Audiovisual Archive, for the term from the thesaurus.

Film and video
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to film and videos held in the AIATSIS Audiovisual Archive, for the term from the thesaurus.

Pictorial collection
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to the pictorial collections held in the AIATSIS Audiovisual Archive, for the term from the thesaurus.

Rare books, Pamphlets and Serials
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to rare books, rare pamphlets and rare serials from the AIATSIS catalogue for the term from the thesaurus.

Serials, Serial Articles and Pamphlets
This option will automatically search for and retrieve records relating to serials, serial articles and pamphlets from the AIATSIS catalogue for the term from the thesaurus.

If your catalogue search is unsuccessful, you will see a browse list of headings. You can navigate through this list, if you wish, or return to the thesaurus and select to search the catalogue by a different item type.

Finding the geographical location of a language

The majority of headings in the AIATSIS language and peoples thesaurus contain map grid references. These grid references relate to the 1:250,000 map sheet areas for Australia. They may assist with locating the place where a language originated.

Example:  Wiradjuri language (D10)(NSW SI55-7)

The grid references are valuable for those engaged in native title and family history research, where items relating to a specific place is the essential.

Searching Geosciences Australia's place name index may assist in locating the grid reference used in the language heading. You can then search for the reference using a keyword search.

The following maps will allow you to find out where Australian Indigenous languages are located:

  Tindale Maps
  Aboriginal Australia map (David Horton)

Language Codes

In the thesaurus, you will find language codes in entries such as N156 (language code) or after a language name, eg. Nalawgi languages (N156)(NT SE53-4).

The language codes are useful for long term users of the AIATSIS collections. Otherwise, users of the thesaurus do not need to take notice of the codes.

Linguistic expertise was invaluable during the development of these authorities.

Updated November 2007