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Writing Program: WP 120


  Karen Gillum                   


Search the catalogs for Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin with CBBcat

Expand your search to include articles by using OneSearch

Extend your search to libraries worldwide with WorldCat

Directions on signing up for ILL



Scribner Writers

Credo Reference

Oxford English Dictionary

Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism - Presents a comprehensive historical survey of the field's most important figures, schools, and movements, with entries on critics and theorists, critical schools and movements

New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

Literary Encyclopedia

Literature Online

Look for ARTICLES in:

Academic Search Complete - A broad database including both academic and popular periodicals

MLA International Bibliography - A database of articles on literature, most written by scholars

JSTOR - A collection of scholarly journals on Humanist topics. JSTOR searches the entire text of articles, rather than just titles, abstracts, and keywords. This means you need to be a little more careful in framing your searches.

British Periodicals - covers from late 18th through the 19th century

ECCO - a comprehensive collections of books and pamphlets published in England during the 18th century

America's Historical Newspapers

Find more information in GUIDES on selected authors:

For Shakespeare:

Poetry sites on the Web:

Feedback, please!


Displaying tintern-abbey-frederick-waters-watts.jpg

Tintern Abbey by Frederick Waters Watts

Think Strategically about Your Research

  • Looking up background information first can save you time later - use Credo Reference, or Scribner Writers The Oxford English Dictionary gives definitions, etymologies, first known use of words
  • Use terminology and facts learned from the background information to search for articles in MLA International Bibliography, Academic Search Complete and other databases listed on the left
  • Search for books in any of Colby's catalogs, expanding your search with subject linking
  • Investigate the notes and bibliographies of every good source you find for leads to more
  • Think about what sorts of publications the information you need might be published in.

               Biographical? Try Scribner Writers, Credo, or monographic biographies.
               Contemporary reactions?  Search British Periodicals or ECCO.
               Literary analyses of an author? Search in MLA International Bibliography.

And if you need help with anything, don't hesitate to contact me:                              


Keyword Searching --  

Experiment with synonyms

Use asterisks to search for multiple word-forms at once: Poet* = Poet, Poetry, Poetic, Poets

Use quotation marks to search for a phrase: "Renaissance drama"

Try searching the CBB catalog for Companion or Handbook and your author's name. Like this:  Companion  Austen.  

Companions can be very helpful in getting oriented to a new area of study. 


How to Request Books from Bates, Bowdoin, or Colby Storage

Record for a book in storage as it appears in the CBB Catalog. Click where the arrow points to request.

Click here for 1-minute videos on how to search CBBcat, search WorldCat, submit ILL requests, etc.

Click here for a guide that briefly explains CITATION styles.


Citations: for papers on literature, MLA is the style most often used. This page gives a brief example and links to more explanations and examples.

Navigating the Library website: there are many introductory 1-minute video tutorials linked from this page.  The following three particularly address finding resources from the Library home page: 1ST   2ND   3RD

Finding books on other topics or for pleasure: This video may help. If you are looking for a pleasure book by a particular author, use the drop-down menu to select Author, then type in the last name, first. For books on other subjects, say, opposition to the Mexican American War, use a Keyword search of CBBcat first, typing in terms such as: Mexican American war opposition. Some of the results will be on your topic and some will not, so next pick a book that looks right, click on the title and look for the Subject lines in the record; click on a subject, such as Mexican War, 1846-1848 -- Public opinion that will lead to books focused on your interest.

Books or articles? Which are best?  The choice of  which type or format of resource to use depends on multiple factors. Are you looking for just a few specific facts, or a broadly painted background context? Choose a reference article from Credo or Scribner Writers. For a more in-depth biographical account, choose a book! Diaries and letters may be published in book form: search the catalog for [writer's name] diary  OR  [writer's name] correspondence. Critical analysis may be found in both journal articles (look in databases such as MLA) and books; books may be compilations of essays or a single, highly developed critical argument. Critical books may also situate a writer in the literary context of her/his time or consider a number of writers together in a literary movement. Explore the CBBcat!  And see also the section above: Think Strategically about Your Research. 

More questions? Email me:


For fun ~ see what documents from Shakespeare's World you can decipher.



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