English 4543 Women's Literature

General Library Information

Introduction to the NSU Libraries

John Vaughan Library Physical Overview Tutorial
Library of Congress Classification system.
The Research Strategies tutorial can provide an overview to getting started in researching a topic.
In the Library Catalog, search for Women in Literature and Feminism in Literature for general books on the subject.
Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature ( Periodicals    PN471 .T84) is a journal available on the second floor. The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature Reference    PN471 .B57 1992

Women Writers: A Zine

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. 
To find short stories, poems, or plays found in anthologies, use the following indexes:
Ref. PN 1022.H39    Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry
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. PE 1625.O87 1991   Oxford English Dictionary.  (Gives the etymology of   words)
Ref. PN 41.H6                 A Handbook to Literature (Defines literary terms)

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?

General Concepts

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?  Can 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

Biography and Genealogy Master Index Useful database when it is unknown what biographical source to use
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. 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.)  Use the databases listed in the next section to find biographical articles about authors.
Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers : A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook Ref. PS217.W64 N56 1997

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
American Women Writers : A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present Reference    PS147 .A4

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 Infomine.

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 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

To avoid plagiarism, it is important to cite materials correctly. Indiana University has a good guide on plagiarism. The M.L.A. Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is located on the first floor of the library, Ref. LB 2369.G53.  Also, try the MLA  and Purdue OWL instruction on MLA Web sites.  For 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