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EN 178 A Introduction to Creative Writing (White): Library Guide

Find Articles in Databases

To identify databases focusing on other subject areas, check our Research Guides page.

Library databases often include scholarly journals, which are particularly important to college-level research.

Many databases have an option to limit your results to peer-reviewed or scholarly journals.

Some databases can also include magazine & newspaper articles. Although not scholarly, these articles can provide current news and windows to societal attitudes.

For more databases specializing in newspapers, check our Newspaper Guide.

Find Articles in a Known Magazine or Newspaper

Want to see if Colby has a subscription to a particular magazine or journal?  On the Colby Libraries home page click on the "Journals and Articles" tab.  

Once the orange bar has moved down, enter the publication's name in the search box.

Note that Colby also has arrangements with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that enable Colby students to have their own FREE digital subscriptions to those publications. Sign up HERE.

Searching Tips in Databases & the Library Catalog


  • Experiment with different search combinations, using synonyms and related terms.
  • Use an asterisk to stand in for multiple word endings: narrat* = narrate, narrates, narration, narrator 
  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase rather than an individual keyword: "stream of consciousness"
  • Use AND between terms to narrow results to items containing both terms: sex* AND identity
  • Using OR between items (within parenthesis) widens results: (freedom OR liberty)
  • Combine terms to build search strings.


Find an item of interest using a keyword search? Look at its item record to identify Subject Terms. These links group material  together by topic which can yield more precise results. Sample subject headings:

Note that searching a broad subject in CBBcat can lead to a further list of sub-divisions. These can be helpful in focusing your research.


Check the notes, references and bibliographies of every relevant article or book. You may discover more books and articles of interest.

Look for BOOK TITLES in CBBcat or MaineCat

Put ARTICLE TITLES in OneSearch or Google Scholar to get access to full-text. (Try just first part of title in quotes along with author's last name.)

Photo: The Look, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


  • OneSearch should only be used for very precise searches, such as:
  • Finding an known article by searching its title
  • Finding book reviews for a specific book
  • Finding articles or book chapters on lesser-known people or narrow topics
  • Use limiters or filters!  E.g. journal articles, scholarly material, book chapters, book reviews
  • It's usually NOT good for searching broad topics. Instead use CBBcat or recommended databases.

Tips for Using Google Scholar

When on campus or using the Colby VPN, Google will connect to Colby Library Databases - Google, used carefully, can work wonderfully in discovering contemporary writing, alternative voices, the work of community organizations, and digital collections at archives, museums and academic institutions.

Search precisely - Beware of common words or words that have multiple meanings. Specify as much as possible, but also explore alternative phrasing. Start with small, focused searches. Use the names of known, trusted people to get recommendations of reliable online sites and publications. (Check newspaper databases for controversies.) Add terms that focus on the type of material desired. Examples: "digital collections", zine, "literary journal", "literary magazine", "oral histories"

Use "Advanced Search" or "Google Scholar" - On your Google search results page, click on Settings. Use supplied fields to carefully map term choices, specifying exact terms required. The "Site or Domain" field can be useful in limiting your results to government information (.gov) or items created at educational institutions (.edu). 

Evaluate Extremely Carefully! - Do 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?

Know the Limitations of Web Searching - Most scholarly articles are either not found by search engines or are behind paywalls. Information is sorted and ranked according to commercial/consumer/popular considerations. Information is not vetted for accuracy or reliability.

MLA Citation Help

Older editions of the MLA handbook are also available. However, there were significant changes in the 2016 edition listed above. OWL uses the 2016 edition. 


 Research is like exploring a huge, rambling building - looking for and joining rooms of conversation.  Pittock Mansion photo by Glen Bledsoe (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Find Books in our Catalog

SEARCH our library catalog

Books in Miller, Olin or Bixler Library? Ask for directions at a library Service Desk.

Books at the Colby Storage Facility, Bates or Bowdoin? To order click
You will be notified by email when your request is available to pickup at the Miller Service Desk.

Not finding what you want in CBBcat?

Look on the CBBcat search result page for a link to MaineCat, which expands your search to other Maine libraries. 

Not sure if a book is scholarly? Check with your professor or a librarian.

Books photo by Julochka (2014). Creative Commons license 2.0.

Inter-Library Loan

Trouble getting what you need? Request it! Submit an Inter-Library Loan request and the article or book will be requested from another library. For the link to instructions on how to use Inter-Library Loan, click HERE


Profile Photo
Hilary Baribeau
Miller 107C

Reference Sources

  • Provide helpful overviews
  • Help you identify search terms
  • Allow topic exploration

Photo: Book by Lalena Jaramillo

Need to use these resources off campus?

For the most reliable access, install VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your computer or device.

Instructions are on the Colby VPN webpage:


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