English 3883 American Literature II
General Library Information
John Vaughan Library Physical Overview Tutorial
Library of Congress Classification system.
The Research Strategies CLIP tutorial can provide an overview to getting started in researching a topic.
Finding a Work of Fiction
Library Catalog is
used to find anthologies of short stories and general criticism about
short stories (Short
stories, American--History and criticism). Do an author search on
the author's last name. To find a specific short story in an
anthology, use the Short
Story Index (Ref. PN 3373.C62)
Ref. PE 1106.C65 1985 A Comprehensive Grammar of the English
Ref. PN 41.H36 1992 Dictionary of Concepts in Literary Criticism and Theory
Ref. PE 1625.O87 1991 Oxford English Dictionary. (Gives the etymology of words)
Ref. PN 41.H6 A Handbook to Literature (Defines literary terms)
Ref. PR 56.B34 A Research Guide for Undergraduate Students: English and American Literature
Cycle of Information
The cycle of information is an interesting one.
with an idea. Someone becomes curious about something and wants
explore it. Literature reviews are conducted, empirical evidence
gathered. The reseoberg may wish to cross disciplinary lines and
take a literary theory and apply it to another field. The
writes an article. If the article adds to the body of knowledge
presents a new concept, a journal in that discipline might be
in publishing it. Article submissions go through a reviewing process in
which multiple reviewers will read and comment on the article.
is an example of a refereed journal article. If it passes the review
the article is published in the journal. Indexers read journal
and assign subject headings to the articles and place the citation in
(such as MLA Bibliography). Reseobergs comb indexes to
articles, and the whole cycle starts over. This is a cycle that
right here at NSU. Our faculty and students are publishing.
can become a part of the process, too. Exciting, isn't it?
The Flow of Information (from the University System of Georgia) depicts how information about an event can be represented in different types of resources. Understanding how information is disseminated helps to know where to look and the attributes of each format.
When approaching a database, look for help screens for complete
information on how to search it effectively. Check for scope
notes that identify the contents of the database. Check for
advanced search screens and see different ways that the search can be
limited. For instance, what dates and types of materials are
included in the database? Can it be searched by full text and subject?
the search be limited by date, language or full text? Each database
uses controlled subject headings that can be accessed through the
online Thesaurus. For instance, in ERIC, writing centers are
called writing laboratories.
Locating Literary Criticism
Digests, Synopses, Author Biographies
and Genealogy Master Index Useful database when it
what biographical source to use
Ref. PS 153.A84A828 2003 Asian American Short Story Writers
Ref. PS 153.N5B556 1992 Black Literature Criticism
Ref. PN 451.D32 Dictionary of Literary Biography
Ref. PS 21.H3 1983 Oxford Companion to American Literature
Ref. PS 21.B46 1991 Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature
Ref. PS 129.R44 2000 Reference Guide to American Literature
MagillOnLiterature Plus Contains fulltext of author biographies, summaries of works, and basic criticism.
Literature Resource Center Contains fulltext of author biographies, brief criticisms, and some criticial journal articles.
Use the Library Catalog to find full-length biographies and criticisms of authors. WorldCat is a wonderful database which lists all published resources (Not specific journal articles, but books, facsimile editions, AV, dissertations, etc.) Use the databases listed in the next section to find biographical articles about authors.
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 William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily", try searching <faulkner and
Note: In EbscoHost the * is a truncation symbol which will look for sex, sexuality, etc.
Humanities Full Text
There are also literary explictors that index that indicate where criticisms can be found, in either books or journals, on specific works. An index to those resources is Twentieth Century Short Story Explication (Ref. PN 3733.W35)
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
The Internet Public Library, Best Information on
Net, Infomineand Librarians' Index to the Internet.
American Literature Sites
Library of Congress, American Memory, Literature
Cross Disciplinary Sources
Whether researching literary topics or other fields in English, 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
Premier, and Humanities Full Text.
Education journals are helpful and can be found in ERIC
Full Text. Other useful disciplines can include psychology,
religion, and philosophy.
With all resources, it is important to assess the quality of what you
find. Use the following checklist to assist with that
1. Identify the author(s) and determine his/her credentials. Does the author have a degree in the field; is the author a professor; does the author have other works published on similar topics?
2. What is the date of the publication? Currency is important in most fields. It is especially important for Web pages.
3. Does the publisher have a good reputation? Is the resource published by a professional association or university press? Is the journal refereed? For Web sites, check the URL to determine the sponsor. Gov sites are government sites; com are commercial; edu are educational.
4. How do the critics perceive the work? Are there reviews available?
5. Is the material complete? Does it have an index, bibliography. Is it well written with few grammatical or spelling errors?
6. Is the language slanted or biased?
7. Does it include references to well known facts or research studies?
8. For Web pages, do the links work?
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.
To avoid plagiarism, it is important to cite materials correctly.
Indiana University has a good guide on plagiarism.
To cite the resources that you've found, check the Citation tutorial. The M.L.A. Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
is located on the first floor of the library, Ready Ref. LB
2369.G53. Also, try the MLA
Web site. For help in citing sources, try KnightCite
SophiaBeverley Threatt, MLS, MA
Instructor of Library Services
Languages and Literature and Communication, Art, & Theatre
Page maintained by: SB Threatt email@example.com
Last Updated: 08/02/2012