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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
Phone: (207) 859-5140
Office: Miller 107A

I'm available for individual or group research consultations. Just email me your best dates/times.

Or drop by during my office hours.
Spring 2018 Office Hours:
Tuesdays: 1-2:30pm
Wednesdays: 1-2:30pm
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