The resources and links below provide authoritative guidance on a range of areas relevant to writing and editing across all fields. 

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, approximately 7 million Australians aged 15 to 74 years have literacy scores below Level 3 – considered the ‘minimum required for individuals to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work in the emerging knowledge-based economy’. Using Plain English helps ensure the widest possible audience is able to access information.

Australia and New Zealand are diverse societies and the language used by writers in any field should be carefully crafted to avoid exclusion of individuals or groups. At the same time, values and preferences in terminology can vary over time, between communities and even within communities.  The resources below provide guidance on contemporary standards for inclusive language. 

Almost 4.5 million Australian and more than 1.1 million New Zealanders have a disability, with these numbers increasing as the population ages. Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993 require equal access to information for people with disabilities. Accessibility is often viewed in terms of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for accessible websites. However, the WCAG guidelines also cover best practice for writing accessible digital content, and accessibility is also a consideration with non-digital content, such as printed material.

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Research & Reporting

Reporting research and communicating technical information require special skills, whether one is writing for a specialist or general audience. The conduct and reporting of research in particular is guided by well-established standards and a range of other authoritative guidelines, and authors of research or technical reports should have this in mind when writing.

Research Ethics

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Associations and Forums

Online Guides and Dictionaries

(also see Style and Usage resources above)

  • The Free Dictionary – online dictionary with a thesaurus, acronyms, abbreviations and idioms.
  • Maori Dictionary – provides English-Te Reo translations of individual words.
  • Google Translate – easy (if often questionable) translation into more than eighty languages.
  • Brainy Quote – finds quote by word, author or topic; generally reliable but always research before quoting.
  • WikiQuote – easily the most reliable online source for quotes and includes common misattributions.
  • The Phrase Finder – finds proverbs and phrases from a single word or by subject or author.


  • Anthrosource (subscriber) – offers members and subscribing libraries full-text anthropological resources.
  • arXiv – free open-access archive for non-peer-reviewed articles in the sciences, mathematics and economics.
  • AustLII – searchable database of Australian legislation, law reports and other legal material.
  • CINAHL – research tool for nursing and allied health professionals.
  • CiteSeerX – scientific literature digital library and search engine
  • EconPapers – world’s largest collection of on-line Economics working papers and journal articles.
  • Federal Register of Legislation (Australia)
  • Google Scholar – free search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature.
  • DigitalNZ– a free search engine that provides access to information about NZ culture and history.
  • PhilPapers – comprehensive index and bibliography of philosophy and open access archive.
  • PsycINFO (subscriber) – online collection of papers in the psychological sciences.
  • PubMed – more than 32 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.
  • ResearchGate (free subscription) – social networking site for researchers to share papers, ask questions and find collaborators.
  • SSRN – repository for preprints in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Trove – Australian online library database aggregator and service that includes full text documents, digital images, bibliographic and holdings data
  • United Nations Treaty Collection – maintained by Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations
  • WorldCat – catalogue that itemises the collections of 15,600 libraries in 107 countries.

Writers need to have some understanding of intellectual property rights — both their own and those of others. Copyright protection is free and automatic in Australia, but laws differ from country to country and may increase the copyright protection of international works. Further advice on copyright and intellectual property for writers is available at the Australian Copyright Council and the Arts Law Centre of Australia.

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