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

Find Articles in Databases

Databases are searchable collections of item records, often with the full-text of articles.

Use filters to focus on a material format:

  • magazine articles
  • newspaper articles
  • peer-reviewed scholarly articles 
  • book chapters (aka book articles)

MAGAZINES are written for both popular and niche interests. Here are some titles with thoughtful writing.


NEWSPAPERS can be used as secondary sources for current news and analysis, OR used as primary sources to reveal the attitudes of the past.


SCHOLARLY JOURNALS are made by and for scholars. Some professors may require articles from peer-reviewed journals.

Look for options in databases to limit your results to these types of articles.

More Periodical Titles

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.

Find Primary Sources

Old stereoscope image of Ripogenus Falls

View from the Cliff, Ripogenus Falls, Maine (NYPL CC0 1.0) 

Colby Libraries Primary Sources Guide

Primary Source search terms to use on the web with your topic:

  • "digital collections"
  • "oral histories"
  • diaries
  • manuscripts

Primary Source Databases:

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: environment* = environment, environments, environmental 
  • Use QUOTATION MARKS to "glue together" a phrase: "sports arena"
  • Use AND between terms to narrow results to items containing both terms: ocean AND storm*
  • Using OR between items (within parenthesis) widens results: (city OR urban)
  • 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)

Searching Tips Using Google

DO NOT USE TO FIND SCHOLARLY ARTICLES - Use library databases. However, 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 - 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 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 ITS LIMITATIONS - 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.

Find Books in CBBcat

SEARCH our library catalog 

CBBcat includes both scholarly books and books intended for a general audience.

To order items from the Colby Annex, Bates or Bowdoin, click

Not finding what you want in CBBcat? Use the link to MaineCat in your CBBcat search results.  Or check WorldCat and order through ILLiad, our interlibrary loan service.

LOC Book Classification Call Numbers

Reference Sources

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

Book by Lalena Jaramillo, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), via flickr

Course Librarian

Profile Photo
Laine Thielstrom
she or they
For assistance via email, Zoom or in person. Miller 107C.

MLA Citation Help


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!  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.

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