English 3543/3653 English Literature I and II

General Library Information

Introduction to the NSU Libraries
Library of Congress Classification system.
The Research Strategies CLIP tutorial can provide an overview to getting started in researching a topic.

What is authority and why is it important?

Experts in a field are individuals who might have degrees in a field, work in the discipline, and have published in the subject area.  Their opinions can be very useful in finding credible sources.  For instance, anyone can write Wikipedia articles, but only experts can contribute to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Keep the following concepts in mind when choosing and using resources for research:
1. Identify authors who are outstanding in their fields, determine the credentials of the author. Does the author have a degree in the field, is the author a professor?
2. Date of publication--is it recent? On Web pages, do the links work?
3. Does the publisher have a good reputation? Is it published by a professional association or university press? Is the journal refereed? On Web pages, check the domain (.edu is educational, .gov is government, .com is commercial, .net is network, .org is organizational)
4. How was the resource received by the critics?
5. Completeness of the material. Does the source have an index, bibliography?
6. Is the language slanted or biased?
7. Does it include well known facts or research studies? Is the information complete, accurate, objective?
8. What is the purpose of the resource?  Is it for the general public, children, scholars? Is the goal to market persuade, educate?

Finding a Theme in Literature

One way to explore a theme in literature is to find books that examine different themes.  Subject headings will be broader than the topics discussed in the books. Examples of subject headings that can be used in the Library Catalog include the following:

Fathers and daughters in literature
Gender identify in literature
Girls in literature
Masculinity in literature
Men in literature
Nationalism in literature
Racism in literature
Sex role in literature

Another way to explore themes in literature is to search the periodical literature.  That will be discussed in the section that outlines literary criticism.

Finding a Work of Fiction

Library Catalog is used to find full-length novels, biographies, and collections of criticisms.  Do an author search on the author's last name. It is also a link to electronic books. When looking for a book, look for a Norton Critical edition, because it contains criticism with the fiction.
To find short stories, essays, poems, or plays found in anthologies, use the following indexes:
Ref. PN 1022.H39    Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry
Index Area AI3.E752 Essay and General Literature Index
Ref. PN2000 .P53     Play Index
Ref. PN 3373.C62   Short Story Index

Defining Terms

Ref. PE 1106.C65 1985    A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language
Ref. PN 41.H36 1992       Dictionary of Concepts in Literary  Criticism and Theory
Ref. PN 44.5.Q56 2006   A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms 
Ref. PE 1625.O87 1991   Oxford English Dictionary.  (Gives the etymology of words)
Ref. PN 41.H6                 A Handbook to Literature (Defines literary terms)

Digests, Synopses

Biography and Genealogy Master Index Useful database when it is unknown what biographical source to use
Ref. PR 105.K9      British Authors Before 1800
Ref. PN 451.D32   Dictionary of Literary Biography
Literature Resource Center  Contains fulltext of author biographies, brief criticisms, and some criticial journal articles.
Look for Norton Critical editions which contain criticism with the work. WorldCat is a wonderful database which lists all published resources (Not specific journal articles, but books, facsimile editions, AV, dissertations, etc.) 

Criticisms on Specific Works

The following databases are useful for research on authors and specific works. Search by the author's last name and an important word from the title of the work.  You can also include a particular aspect.  For instance, if searching for the religious aspects found in E.M. Forster's A Passage to India, try searching <forster and passage and religio*>  
Note:  In EbscoHost the * is a truncation symbol which will look for religion, religious, religions, etc.
Humanities Full Text
MLA Bibliography
Literature Resource Center 

"From Garden to Gardener:  The Cultivation of Little Girls in Carroll's Alice Books and Ruskin's 'Of Queen's Gardens.'"
Some useful approaches to MLA Bibliography include the following:

  • Search for such literary themes as shame, guilt, social reform, slavery, suffrage.
  • Do an advanced search and limit to a specific genre.
  • Limit the search to a specific time period.
  • LT Subject Literature =English
  • SU Subjects-All and limit to a subject heading (example: treatment of female characters)
  • Use the Thesaurus to find additional subject headings.

There are also literary explictors that index that indicate where criticisms can be found, in either books or journals, on specific works.

Ref. PN 1721.C65               Drama Criticism
Ref. PN 1861.B8                 Dramatic Criticism Index
Ref. PR 821.P26                 English Novel Explication
Ref. PR 2894.C53 1993     The Essential Shakespeare:  An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies
Ref. PN 1721.P2 1977       European Drama Criticism
Ref. PR 311.M34 1991      Guide to British Poetry 4 vols.

Internet Resources

Of course, there are many resources available through the Web. The librarian for the department has created the English page which lists some useful Web sites. The Eserver is a very good English Web site. The library provides a list of search engines. Search the following Web pages for interesting resources:  The Internet Public Library and Librarians' Index to the Internet.

Cross Disciplinary Sources

When researching literary topics, it is important to remember to look outside the field for information.  Historical materials are useful and can be found in books and articles using such databases as America History and Life, Academic Search Premier, and Humanities Full Text.  Education journals are helpful and can be found in ERIC and Education Full Text. Other useful disciplines can include psychology, religion, and philosophy.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan is available for books and journal articles not available at NSU.  Use the ILLiad system to order materials from other libraries.  Allow several weeks for the materials to arrive.

Citing Sources

Indiana University has a good guide on plagiarism. The M.L.A. Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is located on the first floor at the call number, Ref. LB 2369.G53.  Also, try the MLA Web site and the Purdue OWL. For additional help in citing sources, try KnightCite Bibliography Machine.

    SophiaBeverley Threatt, MLS, MA
    Instructor of Library Services
    Languages and Literature and Communication, Art, & Theatre
    Resource Coordinator
    (918) 444-3267

Page maintained by: SB Threatt
Last Updated: 08/02/2012