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EN 256 American Literary History: Spring 2017

Civil War to the Present. Instructor: Jay Sibara

Find Journal Articles

Articles in scholarly journals are particularly important to academic research.

Scholarly Journals...

  • report original research in a specific discipline
  • use in-text citations and bibliographies
  • typically contain peer-reviewed articles

Look for a box in databases that will allow you to limit your results to scholarly or peer-reviewed journals

Good Research Takes Time

Keep a research log & document every search.

Explore a variety of search terms.

Check multiple resources.

Carefully evaluate all materials.

Photo: Clock Roskilde University by nikolainewyork


OneSearch searches multiple resources at once. Use for very precise searches:

  • Finding a specific article
  • Finding book chapters on a writer or an artistic work
  • Finding book reviews

For best results, use limiters. 

EN 256 Library Resources


This is the cover and title page from a 1912 edition of Mrs. Spring Fragrance by Sui Sin Far.  This edition is in the Hathi Trust Digital Library. (Log in and select Colby College from the drop-down menu.)

Searching Tips


  • EXPERIMENT with synonyms and related terms
  • Use an asterisk to stand in for different word endings: critic* = criticism, critic, critics, critical
  • Use quotation marks to "glue together" a phrase: "asian american"
  • Use AND between terms to narrow results to items containing both terms: identi* AND gender
  • Using OR between items (within parentheses) widens results to items containing any one term: (race OR racism)



Find one good item? Look in its item record for Subject Terms.
Subject terms focus your search on "aboutness" not just words. 
American literature -- Jewish authors
African Americans in literature

To find items about authors, do a Subject Search of the author's name (last name, first name).



To find items by authors, do an Author Search (last name, first name).



Keyword Search: "author's name" AND critic* ("Kate Chopin"AND critic*)

Subject Search: "author's last name, first name" (eg. Rivera, Tomás)
Many authors have a literary citicism subject sub-division: Baldwin James 1924 1987 -- Criticism And Interpretation


Following a Citation Trail

Check the works cited, notes, references and bibliographies of every relevant article or book. You may discover a book or article perfect for your topic.

One good source can lead to another!

sample citations

Hafley, James Robert, 1928 - The Glass Roof: Virigina Woolf as a Novelist. Berkely: University fo California Press, 1954. (link to bibliography)

Look for a Cited Work using:

  • OneSearch (books, media, articles)
  • CBBcat (books, media available through Colby)
  • NExpressMaineCat (books, media available regionally)
  • Hathi Trust (sometimes has full-text digital versions of older books or articles)
  • WorldCat (if can't find resource locally)

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Reference & Context

Photo: Book by Lalena Jaramillo

Archival databases for finding response to older works at the time of publication:

Find Books & Media

SEARCH our library catalog - the Entire CBB Collection or just Colby.

To order items from Colby Storage, Bates or Bowdoin: Click on

Other Catalogs:

Materials not available at Colby or our partner institutions can often be obtained through ILLiad, our interlibrary loan service.

Humanities Librarian

Laine Thielstrom's picture
Laine Thielstrom

Please don't hesitate to come to me for assistance or questions!
Email me your best dates/times to meet or stop by my office, Miller Library 107C.

Spring 2018 Office Hours:
Tuesdays: 1-2:30pm
Wednesdays: 1-2:30pm
(except 5/8 12-1:30pm)
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