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EN 178 Introduction to Creative Writing (White): Research Resources

Spring 2021

Find Articles in Library Databases

Databases often contain multiple types of material (academic journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.). Use the filter options to limit and manage your results.

SCHOLARLY JOURNALS: Journal of Modern Literature

  • report Original Research and Analysis in a specific discipline
  • use in-text Citations and bibliographies
  • often contain Peer-Reviewed Articles (gold standard)


Use the JOURNAL tab on the Colby Libraries home search for other titles.


Our newspaper guide has links to both mainstream and alternative newspapers.

No Full Text at Colby?

Articles not available in full-text? Request through ILLiad, our interlibrary loan service. Some articles are sent in just a few hours.

In databases, look for Request from ILLiad or Request from another library links when you are directed to a screen that that says full-text is not available at Colby.

ILLiad: Interlibrary Loan

MLA Citation Help

Older editions of the MLA handbook are also available. Many databases still use the 7th edition.  OWL uses the 8th edition. Note the differences! Be consistent.

MLA 7th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies 42.2 (2001): 19-43. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

MLA 8th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, 2001, pp. 19-43. EBSCO, Accessed 19 Jan. 2017. Boston, MA Photographer, Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Tips for Using Google

(or other search engines)

KNOW THE LIMITATIONS OF WEB SEARCHING - Information is sorted and ranked according to commercial/consumer/popular considerations. Google wants you to love it, so it keeps you in the silo of what you already know and like. (Each person gets different results.) Information is not vetted for accuracy or reliability.

NOT FOR SCHOLARLY MATERIAL - Most scholarly articles are either not found by search engines or are behind paywalls. Instead use  library databases or the library catalog. (The exception is Google Scholar, but it's a small pool.)

USE FOR FAST FACTS  - But carefully check sources. Are they reliable? Analyze for bias (which can sometimes be subtle) by looking at language, scope and focus. Wikipedia can be great for getting basic facts, but check the notes in the reference section. Follow the links and evaluate those sources. The "View History" tab shows past edits. Look for Wikipedia editor comments that flag shortcomings. The "Talk" tab shows other notes on the article.

USE TO GET INFO ABOUT PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS - But again, the reliability of a source is key, Who is providing the information and why? Look at the About page of a website. Who is the intended audience? Also search names of people and organizations in respected newspapers.

USE TO SEE POPULAR COVERAGE -  Note the News tab in Google. To get free access to restricted publications, put the title of an article in the library's OneSearch tool. You can also use the JOURNAL tab on the Colby Libraries home page to see if the library subscribes to a magazine or newspaper.

FIND SPECIFIC TYPES OF CONTENT - Blogs, zines, alternative e-publications, community organizations, college/university websites and digital archival collections. Niche and alternative publications may require descriptive terms to move them up in the massive search results. Do pre-research in known reliable sources to find names of other relevant and reliable online publications and blogs.

SEARCH PRECISELY & DEEPLY - Beware of common words or words that have multiple meanings. Specify as much as possible with additional terms, but also explore alternative phrasing. Experiment with terms to move desired results higher in search results, but still explore multiple pages of results.

USE "ADVANCED SEARCH" - On your Google search results page, click on SETTINGS. The "Site or Domain" field can be useful in limiting your results to government information (.gov) or webpages & articles created by other educational institutions (.edu).  Limiting the domain to .edu can be especially helpful in focusing a search.

USE GOOGLE "TOOLS" - On your Google search results page, click on Tools > All Results > Verbatim. This can help focus your results. Limiting by date can get you items with greater currency.

EVALUATE, EVALUATE, EVALUATE! - Investigate every source by doing separate searches of source creators, authors and publications. Every source you interact with is a conversation. With whom are you talking? What are their values and motivations? Are they getting their information from reliable sources and interpreting evidence fairly and  intelligently? Who is the intended audience?

Tips for Using Library Resources


In library catalogs and databases, keyword searches only look for exact matches.

To narrow results, try using QUOTATION MARKS to glue together words in phrases, titles or an author's name. "stream of consciousness"

An ASTERISK is a wild card that stands in for different endings of a word. ideal* = ideal, ideals, idealism, idealistic



Subject searches take you to books that have been pre-identified as being ABOUT that person or subject. Identify SUBJECT HEADINGS by checking the item records found in a keyword search.

To do a search, select Subject from first drop-down menu and enter the author’s last name first.

Not very many results?  Look for broader subject headings in item records. Books covering broader topics may include chapters or significant passages on the author you're interested it. Check indexes and Table of Contents.

Following a Citation Trail

Check the WORKS CITED, NOTES, REFERENCES and BIBLIOGRAPHIES of every relevant article or book. You may discover another book or article perfect for your topic.

sample citations Hafley, J.R., The Glass Roof: Virginia Woolf as a Novelist. University of California Press, 1954.
Look for a Cited Work using:

Quick Reference

reference book

  • Provides summaries and overviews
  • Helps you identify search terms
  • Allows topic exploration
  • Illuminates word meanings and etymologies

Book by Lalena Jaramillo. Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Find Books in the Library Catalog

SEARCH our library catalog 

Digital Materials:

Look for a small circular red E in the icons to the left of your results . Item records have links to E-books, streams and online documents.

Or use the drop-downs on the CBBcat search page, for a more precise search.

On Campus:

Look at location and call number. The Miller bookstacks entrance is near the service desk.

Print Books at Bixler, Olin, the Annex, Bates or Bowdoin? To order, click and pickup in Miller.

Find Films

Search CBBcat for specific films using the drop-down menus.

Or browse our streaming collections.

Academic Video Online (AVON) has interesting documentaries and independent feature films. Search "Sony Pictures Classics" and then scroll down.

If we don't have a film you'd like to watch, search JustWatch to see if there are free or inexpensive options on the web.


Laine Thielstrom's picture
Laine Thielstrom

Contact me by email or chat (send me a Google Hangouts invite). Or let's talk about your research or information need on Google Meet or Zoom!


OneSearch searches multiple resources at once. It's most useful for precise, controlled searches.

Use Advanced Search and limit by format.

To find an article listed in a bibliography, enter title of article in top row search box. You may need to also add the last name of the author in the second box.

To find book chapters discussing a writer or an artistic work, enter the name of the writer or the work in the search box and check the box BOOK CHAPTER in the "Show Content Type" limiter.

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